If you have not read the history of Father’s Day, be sure to look up the full version online. I think you will be intrigued. A woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, in some special way. Her father had raised six children as a single parent. After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in her church, she wanted to find a day to celebrate Father’s Day. Her mission to have fathers recognized on a special day was a long process.


Mother’s Day was made official by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and he liked the idea so much he proposed that Father’s Day become a national holiday, but Congress resisted. President Calvin Coolidge also tried but he never issued an official proclamation.


Over 50 years after Dodd’s first attempt, Father’s Day was finally recognized as a holiday by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. In 1972, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation to make it a federal holiday to be celebrated nationwide on the third Sunday in June.


After all the work it took to get Father’s Day on the calendar, please find some way to celebrate this special day. In our family, the third Sunday of June is always a busy time with harvest just around the corner. Farmers are often too busy to stop and celebrate, so a surprise meal to the field many times was the best we could do.


Finding time to get the family together can be difficult, so talking about it and setting a time is absolutely necessary. A strong family will do positive things for each other just because they care. So, if you are a dad, listen to your children’s ideas and thoughts on what to do for Father’s Day. Something as simple as a ride in the country or a ride on the combine can be that special time with Dad that they remember forever. If they want to serve you breakfast in bed, try to fit that in your schedule.


If you are lucky enough to have your dad still with you, take the time to write him a note and share with him why he is important to you. Now is the time to share that special memory that you hold in your heart. I hope you make it a family tradition to honor dad in a special way on Father’s Day.


Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at bunruh@ksu.edu