Fathers get their day

By Bob McDonnell

The Surveyor

Mother’s Day was May 10 and Father’s Day is June 21. These two days have some commonality. Both holidays celebrate parents and both fall on a Sunday. The similarities seem to stop there. Father’s Day is not celebrated as much as Mother’s Day, in many ways.

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Later, Jarvis grew disenchanted with the growing commercialization of the observation (she did not profit from the day herself) and even attempted to have Mother’s Day rescinded. Since Jarvis died in 1948, she saw nothing of the current celebration and spending on this holiday.

Fathers had to wait a couple of years for their day. In the United States, Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd. The third Sunday in June was picked to honor dads. The first year for Father’s Day was 1910. It’s almost like it was an afterthought to Mother’s Day.

I think most would agree that Mother’s Day is a much bigger deal. Marketing efforts and sales comparisons of the two days seems to back this up.

The website Outbrain.com says, “Mother’s Day tends to have more of an emotional appeal while Father’s Day can be more practical and focused on the needs and wants of dads.” I guess that’s why floral shops are a hit on Mother’s Day.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) seems to agree. In 2009, this organization said 76% of people plan to celebrate Father’s Day, compare that to 84% who will honor mothers.

Children spend more on mom than dad too. NRF put the amount spent at $25 billion spent on mom compared to $16 billion on good old dad.

On an individual basis, this breaks down to an average of $195 spent on our mothers. The amount spent on fathers is only $139. 

Personally, I remember my high school job working at a fancy buffet. We geared up for Mother’s Day, wearing neckties for the occasion and all employees had to work that day. I don’t remember anything remarkable about the Father’s Day crowd.

Regardless, it’s good that we honor our parents. Being a father, I don’t expect or want a gift for Father’s Day. I would rather have a day where I can spend time with my wife, our son and his family. Since he is a father of two, I want to honor him.

This year, I may not get this celebration because of COVID-19. No going to dinner or hanging out at the pool as the grandkids swim. Maybe we can gather outside for Father ‘s Day but more than likely it will be over Facetime on the computer. I can live with that.

I wish all dads a happy Father’s Day 2020.

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