By Njoki Karuoya
This Sunday, the world will celebrate Father’s Day.
The day may not be as well known as Mother’s Day, but it is gaining popularity as more people begin to appreciate the critical role that fathers play in moulding children and, ultimately, the society.
A father who rules his home wrong without providing the right principles and foundation for his children is essentially raising dysfunctional individuals who, when many in number, create a dysfunctional society.
This scenario continues ad infinitum until some fathers start doing things right and urge their fellow men to do the same.
Father’s Day is a new phenomenon that was created by, surprisingly, a woman — Sonora Smart Dodd.
Sonora grew up in Washington, USA and was one of six children raised single-handedly by their father, a widower and a war veteran.
Reports indicate that Sonora was inspired to introduce Father’s Day in 1909 after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at her church. She wanted to honour her father and others like him, who do the right thing by their children.
The first Father’s Day celebration was held on June 19, 1910, which was her father’s birthday. The idea gradually caught on and in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported a petition Sonora sent to him about a national Father’s Day.
In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. But it wasn’t until 1972, after Mother’s Day had been in full swing for more than 50 years, that President Richard Nixon established Father’s Day as a national holiday to be observed in honour of all good fathers.
Sonora selected the rose flower as the official flower of Father’s Day and the tradition is to wear a red rose if one’s father is alive, and a white one if he is deceased.