Father’s day has come and gone again for another year. Am I mistaken or was there less hype than we have come to expect leading up to it? Advertisers in the media seemed unusually quiet about it and you had to look to find any reference to it in the shops and stores. Perhaps I didn’t visit the right places!

Did You Know?

Mother’s Day has been recognised and practiced for quite a long time. It used to be the day that parents were invited to join their children at Sunday school when a special service was held and mothers were all presented with a bunch of spring flowers by their offspring. Usually daffodils but sometimes primroses or violets they had especially picked that same morning. The day was conceived to give all youngsters the opportunity to express thanks to their parents and as they grew up the habit persisted. In many families it became a celebration that equalled any birthday.

It was probably during the time when women were fighting for their independence and sex discrimination was being outlawed that Father’s day, with a certain influence from America, was introduced as a boost to men’s equality. This was quickly taken up by the companies supplying greetings cards and soon followed with lots of advice about which presents were the most appropriate to emphasise and show how much the family really thought of Dad. As always, if the media gives sufficient attention to something for long enough, the public will usually respond.

Mothering Sunday started with just a bunch of flowers. Soon some youngsters made ‘Thank You’ cards to go with them and in no time at all the shops had appropriate and attractive ones for sale weeks before they were wanted. As time passed the children became adults and no longer attended Sunday school and gave flowers to express their feelings. Instead they gave presents like they did on other anniversaries. Following their example their offspring, usually financed by dad, would buy them something. Now we have reached the stage where all mothers, regardless of their age, receive cards and presents on this day. Some celebrate the occasion by going out for a family day which perhaps includes a meal.

Father’s day didn’t get the same start as Mothering Sunday and never became as widespread or popular. It probably only got going at all because the children thought dad was being left out. Also it was much more difficult to know what to buy for a man, especially after most of them stopped smoking. A packet of Woodbines had always been an acceptable present.

With each year that passes it will get more and more difficult to keep the day a special one. Perhaps that has already been noted and is the reason why it passed so quietly this year!

Family units as we knew them are no longer conducive to the way many people have to live. Some couples marry while others cohabit and for various reasons the number of single parent families increases. A few of them are the result of broken marriages but some were never married or partners.

Unfortunately, there is very little inducement or much encouragement for couples to pay out what savings they have on a costly wedding or even a modest ceremony. The days have long since gone when the girl’s parents were obliged to foot the bill. Of course there will always be those with personal or spiritual reasons for wanting to marry. However, it seems most couples are much better off financially if they don’t tie the knot.

It doesn’t matter too much until they have children who really do need two parents in constant attendance during the time they are growing up. They also want a stable home that gives them confidence and a refuge to retreat to for help should they need it. Nothing can replace the traditional family circle when it comes to laying the foundations for a child’s character. Whatever they learn by example from those near to them, especially in those early years, is what they will depend on in later life.

So what does the future hold for Father’s day? Will there be sufficient couples marrying to sustain it? Some might say that makes no difference but when statistics show us the percentage of children in school classes that are no longer living with their biological father, it gives cause for concern. It was recently reported that those pupils fortunate enough to belong to a family unit find progress with their education far easier and consequently do much better than their fellows. Presumably, they get more encouragement and help at home.

It’s a situation we can do little or nothing about! The Government could do a great deal to encourage couples to marry and ensure there is always someone at home when their youngsters need them but this will never be while they are legislating to get both parents out to work. During children’s early years it should be a full time job for one of them to look after the home and family.

Many things in life have a habit of going ‘full circle’, let’s hope this does and soon!

valley lad – [FIFTY-THREE]