Fathers and their children

Maybe it’s a simple hug, a card, or a day spent together golfing or fishing, but in less than a week, families all across our nation will take time to show appreciation for their fathers. Father’s Day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June to recognize the important role a father plays in a child’s life.
The first known Father’s Day service occurred at the William Memorial Church in West Virginia, on July 5th, 1908. A young woman named Grace Clayton had asked her pastor if the Sunday service could be held to honor fathers as a remembrance of her own father and 200 others who had been killed in a mining explosion a year prior. Although this was the first known service to honor fathers, it was not until June 19, 1910 when a young woman named Sonora Smart Dodd sat listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and decided fathers must be honored as well. Dodd’s father, William Smart had raised six children alone after his wife had died giving birth to their sixth child. Although the holiday continued to gain support, it was not recognized nationally until 1966, when Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June to honor fathers. In 1972, President Nixon finally signed a law designating Father’s Day to be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June.
Today, the tradition continues, and as the deserved holiday approaches, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about role of fatherhood by visiting with a few local fathers and their children.
Marvin Meis is the proud father of four adult children. Marvin became a father in 1969 with the birth of son, Ben, followed by the birth of three other children, Bart, Eric, and Monica. When asked about his role as a father, Marvin replied, “ I raised my family with discipline. There were consequences and definitely discipline. I tried to teach my kids to grow, and be good, and do what is right.” He also shared his strong belief in the value of hard work. “ I let the boys participate in all the sports, but when the weekend came, they were mine as there were chores to do.” Although I could not see his expression as we visited on the phone, I imagined him smiling as he went on to say, “On rainy days, we might just drop everything, pack up and go, grab our poles and head to Spencer for a little fishing and a camp out, but we would always be home the next morning for the daily chores.” It was on those trips that Marvin worked to instill sportsmanship. Whether it be hunting or fishing, he found it a good way to teach the valuable lesson that life is not always fair. In his words, “You can learn a lot from winning, but you can learn a lot from losing as well.”
Proving the apple did not fall far from the tree, Marvin’s son Eric, a proud father of three teenage daughters, also believes in discipline but admits, “I seem to give my girls a little more “leash” than what I grew up with. I have learned from my own father to treat each kid fairly and be consistent on discipline.” Eric also enjoys the tradition of family hunting and fishing trips as a way of bonding but went on to include many others. “ I have many ways of bonding with my three teenage daughters. We practice, play, and attend volleyball, basketball, track, and softball games. We go on walks with our dog, cruise main in our classic Chevy pickup or roar around the streets on the motorcycle. Whatever the girls want to do, as long as we are together.”
Another example of using recreation and togetherness as a way of bonding is the father and son duo, Marty and Max and Blake Henn. Marty is the father of three children, Blake, Chloe, and Max. He believes the best way to spend Father’s Day is fishing with his family or doing anything in the outdoors. Ironically, it is for that very reason that his youngest son Max, believes he is so deserving of this special day. “We should celebrate my dad because he does things like hunting, fishing, and playing ball. He is always helping me learn to do things the right way.” This statement from Marty’s 10 year old son is quite a testament to his success in fulfilling what what he believes must be his role as a father.  As he put it, My biggest role as a father is to teach my kids right from wrong and be as involved as I can.”