100 Years Of Father’s Days

Every father’s day is still special to me because of my father’s patience and love. But today is a special father’s day for us all: Today marks the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day.  Although celebrated on a variety of dates in different countries, it all started  on June 19, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington.

Every generation blames the one before
And all of their frustrations come beating on your door
I know That I’m A Prisoner To All my father held dear
I know I’m hostage to all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years.

So begin the lyrics of the song “The Living Years” by Mike & The Mechanics – a song lamenting the loss of one’s father without having taken the time to let him know how much he was loved.

My brother and I were fortunate in that we had the chance to make peace with our father and he knew our love for him was unquestioned and everlasting.

How many of us have been blessed to have had the kind of father who always put the needs of his family first? Who did without so that his children would have? Looking back, I was indeed blessed to have had both a mother and father who both had those kinds of old-fashioned values… and made every effort to make sure my brother and I understood those values. But there was an additional piece that made it even more special:  We were both adopted.

There can be no greater mission in life than to fullfill one’s obligation as a parent… teaching, encouraging, and instilling values that perpetuate the family name in a proud manner. That said, I look at what passes for parenting these days and find myself wishing that God had somehow created a link between common sense and the ability to reproduce. If that were the case, however, perhaps the human race would be dwindling at a rapid pace.

In my family, it was my brother who went on to become the father (I divorced before having children). And in HIS son, I see a young man filled with the values my father taught my brother and me… some would say in spite of ourselves. I look at my brother with sincere pride and wonder if he realizes just how good a father he has been. I hope so.

It’s been 25 years since we said goodbye to our father. Yet with every passing year, my gratitude only grows greater for having been chosen to be one of his sons. I’ve tried to live my life with his values of fairness. And to be honest, if I can wind up being half the man my father was, I will consider it an accomplishment. 

The fact that my brother and I were able to be at my father’s bedside in the end is so very special to me. He left this life knowing his place in our hearts was and always will be secure.  And, thanks to my brother Pete’s efforts as a father himself, there’s a young man of who carries forward the family name with honor.  The circle of life, at least for the Ashley family, continues as my brother’s son became a father himself two years ago.

 To those of you lucky enough to still have your fathers, go easy on them if you’re making breakfast for them (see  how Doug Powers – guest blogger at michellemalkin.com – described his children’s morning offering – you’ll chuckle). In any event, I hope you will take the time to make sure your dads all know how much you appreciate their sacrifices.

And I hope you do so, in their living years.

Gerry Ashley

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