Dear Crabby, Do You Know the History Behind Father’s Day?

Dear Crabby,

I know the history of how and why we celebrate Mother’s Day, but is there a story behind Father’s Day? While moms are very important, I sometimes feel we dads get overlooked.

Luke S.

Dear Luke S.,

Great question! As you said, moms are very, very important people (I gotta stay on Mrs. Crabby’s good side). But as you also said, sometimes we dad get overlooked. I have often felt like stores spend big bucks for their Mother’s Day advertising and then treat Father’s Day as a bit of an afterthought. While there are many dads who like golf, grilling, and guzzling beer, there are many who don’t. Take my dad for instance, he was a tool man. He loved collecting different types of tools to tinker with in the garage. Sometimes he’d be in there making things and other times he was in there to get away from the craziness usually happening inside the house. And my brothers and I knew which tools we were allowed to touch and which tools we weren’t. The point is, every dad is different. It seems like many dads these days play a more active role aside from going to work and bringing home the bacon. Heck. There are some dads who stay home with the kids while their wives bring home the bacon! But back to your question: the path to getting an official Father’s Day and it catching on was a bumpy one.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

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The story I found floating around the web world is that back in 1910 a lady by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd founded Father’s Day in Spokane, Washington. Her father William was a Civil War veteran and a single parent who raised six children! After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis and Mother’s Day, Dodd told her pastor there should be a similar holiday for fathers and the celebration sermon was given on the third Sunday of June. The end, right? Not quite. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t catch on right away – mostly because Dodd stopped promoting it when she left to study art in Chicago. Eventually, in the 1930s, Dodd found her way back to Spokane and started promoting Father’s Day more consistently with the goal of raising national awareness. She was also responsible for getting trade groups who would most benefit from the holiday (ties, tobacco pipes, etc.) on board. There was more back-and-forth with Americans and the government resisting the idea of giving the holiday a permanent spot on the calendar. Then, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. But it wasn’t until six years later that Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. So, start to finish, just a little over 60 years to get our day in the sun. Yep. That sounds about right.

If you’re looking for some tips on being a father, or in some cases, what not to do, I suggest watching one of these classics: Father of the Bride (original or the remake), Field of Dreams, Finding Nemo, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Pursuit of Happyness, Taken (don’t mess with Liam Neeson), and Three Men and a Baby.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. And if this is your first one – good luck! You’re gonna need it.

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. James F. Ahearn says

    You’ve done it again. Thank you.

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