Let’s Hear It For The Dad’s

dadIt is Father’s Day and as I sip on my chai tea latte that was served to ME after sleeping in, I started reflecting on how the men in my life have impacted me over the years.   I do admit feeling an ounce of guilt having been served a delicious morning treat on a day where I should have gotten up early and ran to Starbucks for HIM.  But I’ll take the thoughtful surprise and add it to his list of wonderfulness.  While trying to explain to my littles what this day means, it peaked my own curiosity on how this special daddy day came to be.  Did you know Father’s Day was founded by a woman?

Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was the 16-year-old that petitioned for a day to celebrate her recently widowed father.  It occurred to her, while listening to a Mother’s Day religious sermon, that her father deserved to be celebrated.  Raising five young children as a single parent was not typical in 1909 and even in the twenty-first century is not an easy task.  Despite her hard work and cross-country travel, petitioning for a nationally recognized holiday, Father’s Day was not made an official holiday {in America} until 1972.  But her story still lives on and Ms. Sonora is the reason we get to celebrate the wonderful fathers in our lives today.

And celebrate we do.  A survey recently published by the National Retail Federation shows Americans are expected to spend $16 billion on Father’s Day this year.  No surprise the most popular gifts include greeting cards, special outings and clothing.  I’ve pitched in with my siblings in the past to gift our dad with a fishing trip and take him out for a tasty meal at Mountain Jacks.  We respect him and have learned so much from him, spoiling him a bit is the least we can do.

My dad encourages a strong work ethic, giving back a piece of what you earn and always take time to enjoy life’s smallest pleasures like berry pickin’ on a Sunday afternoon or salmon slammin’ on Lake Michigan.  He always reminds me to never forget where I came from and the people that helped get me to where I am today.  Looking back, I can now see how his actions and wise words have influenced me greatly – both personally and professionally.

While doing some Google research it was not a surprise to find that most fathers are no longer the sole breadwinners in a family.   We are a dual income family and both enjoy and take pride in what we do.  I read that American fathers spend an average of eight hours a week on childcare—nearly three times as many hours as they did in 1965.  My spouse spends way more time than that, especially when I travel for work.  He never complains, encourages me to make a difference and even entertains my wacky ideas (he has been known to shape a few of them).  We are a team and we couldn’t do this thing called life without the unsaid, but known, thought that life is about tag-teaming and juggling.

Today’s terribly biased media tends to focus on more of the wrong-doers than the good-doers.  There are countless male role models that continue to inspire and encourage me every day.  Let’s make sure they are appreciated and commended today – whether they are fathers or not. I am asked, often, to speak about my role of empowering women to help them advance in the extremely competitive hi-tech field.  It is an honor and pleasure to share my stories and I’m thrilled that those stories also include strong men in my life that have empowered me to advance – many of them are fathers.

Thank you Sonora Louise Smart Dodd for relentless drive to make today a national holiday.  I’m pretty sure Ms. Sonora’s story will show up in one of my next speaking gigs as I agree with her….celebrating the positive, male role models in our lives deserves a day all to itself.

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