Father’s Day was initiated by a woman. Appropriate. Men can’t do without them. Whatever they may say! Or with them, whatever they are allowed to say!
Her name was Sonora Louise Smart Dodd. She was one smart dude too. (it’s okay, dude is a gender-neutral word – is it not?) She realized that 4000 years after a boy wrote a card to his father in clay in Baby-lon (aptly, I must say), it was her father, William Smart, that made her feel special.
She decided that she needed a special day to honour her father, instead of doing it every day – that would be boring and tiresome for both I guess. Only guesses are possible, this late in the day! Annual bouts of affection, kill the angst of daily bouts of passive-aggression! Eureka! I found the raison-d’etre for an Annual celebration day!
But he was one smart and committed dude too. All fathers are – they too have to survive! That’s how they have evolved or let’s say been allowed to evolve from their limited role in parenting to a more broad-based involvement that defied their expectation of themselves.
When Sonora’s mother died during childbirth with her sixth child, William was left to raise the newborn and five other children by himself on a farm in Washington state. Unlike many of his era, he was not one to say Sayonara and move on. He just said Sonora, here I am!
As an adult, Sonora realized how strong and unselfish her dad had been raising his kids single-handedly. The other hand he had to use for household chores perhaps. Not sure if single-handed was easier than raising kids with four hands. There is a proverb you know – Too many cooks spoil the broth!
Be that as it may, Sonora wanted Father’s Day to be celebrated on the first Sunday in June because it was close to her dad’s birthday. Instead, the first Father’s Day celebration took place on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made the third Sunday of June Father’s Day. It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a national holiday – about 60 years after Mother’s Day had been made a national holiday.
Have you noticed the gap? This is maybe because fathers worked quietly in the background in the interim as they did previously too, or perhaps they were not really hands-on, except when they were single and not ready to mingle.
The mothers had a grievance that they never had a holiday, so they were granted one. Then the fathers did all sorts of things to make that holiday meaningful: cut flowers, assembled them, created gifts, cards, and Social Media Messages that defined and just as often defied creativity. All this besides the hugs, dinners, and other manifestations of love in their heart, for giving them one they call their own! Imagine! 4 million cards are sent on Father’s Day – the fourth largest. Mother’s Day is the 3rd largest! There are no statistics post the advent of Social Media though!
Fathers were not jealous then and are not jealous now. They are proud of their mothers – both they were born to and made into! They even cook dinner (one meal a year) for them. Sometimes they eat the full meal; sometimes, they have a bite and go out to a restaurant for the rest! Both literally and figuratively! You and I both know the reason. But those reasons don’t hold good anymore. But fathers are not fathers for nothing. Becoming a father is not child’s play (sic) just as modern fatherhood is not all work and no play. If that were the case, all Gen Z, the current favourite generation of the corporates, would have all been dumb!
It is because of women in the 21st century, that men are fathers, sorry, recognized for their efforts as such, though religion predates that privilege by a couple of thousand years. Things changed then, Father no longer meant Fatherhood; like challenged, means so many things depending on whether it is a suffix or a prefix! Today, it is just a fix for gaps in parenting!
And fathers have fixed the gaps and how. They change diapers, put the kids to sleep, cook, clean, bathe, and even attend PTA meets. That is besides doing homework and projects with or for their children! and teaching them values, dos, and don’ts is not far behind. It’s called Active Parenting and involves emotional engagement in the giving and receiving of love and affection. But the sad part is they often don’t practice what they preach, and children imbibe more from what they see and experience than from what they are told! So, balance in what you tell and what you do is the key!
They literally bend it like Beckham. Their backs. Sometimes because they have to, but mostly because they love to! And believe me, it’s no coincidence that Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June either follows or precedes International Yoga Day on June 21.
The essence of yoga lies in its holistic approach to life, focusing on the integration and balance of body, mind, and spirit. The practice of yoga encompasses various elements: Asanas (Physical Postures) that promote strength, flexibility, and balance. These asanas aim to align the body, improve posture, and cultivate physical well-being. Pranayama (Breath Control) to regulate and expand the breath. It emphasizes conscious breathing to enhance vitality, calm the mind, and connect with the life force energy. Meditation and mindfulness help quiet the mind, cultivate self-awareness, and develop a deep state of presence. Ethical Principles known as the Yamas (restraints) and Niyamas (observances). These principles include non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-discipline, contentment, and others, providing a moral framework for harmonious living and last but not least Self-Realization and Spiritual Growth. This helps transcend egoic identification with the physical body and mind and uncovers the innate divine nature within each of us.
But what is the connection with fatherhood? But there must be more than a passing connection between fatherhood and yoga for their celebrations to be so close to one another, and of course, there is.
Fatherhood does not mean FARTHER hood! It is always viewed by the child in closeup on cinemascope! It involves developing presence and mindfulness: you have to actively listen to your child and be mindful when you change the diaper, lest it is your exam paper! Also, Patience and Flexibility: Yoga and fatherhood both teach the value of patience and flexibility to deal with daily challenges! Yoga and fatherhood emphasize emotional well-being in the Father, which then rubs off on the child every time he carries the child or interacts with them. So, there is a connection if only you can see it. And you can only if you are a father, and practice yoga!
What happens when you get promoted from father to grandfather? You can sit back and relax like the Grand Duke, or can you? It’s the luxury version of Fatherhood, but you will only be able to do it if you do your yoga right! You have to get to that age in one piece! So, get to it! It’s also when you will remember your favourite admonitions to your child and remind him to repeat them to his: Go ask your mother! Just wait until I get you home! When I was your age… My father used to tell me… I used to walk to school in the rain! Be home early!
It will also be a time to remember the milestones in your relationship with your dad!
Age 2 – Dada! is a real Dada!
Age 4 – My Daddy can do anything.
Age 8 – My Dad knows a lot.
Age 12 – My father doesn’t really know quite everything.
Age 14 – Naturally, Father doesn’t know that, either.
Age 16 – Father? he’s hopelessly old-fashioned.
Age 18 – That old man? he’s way out of date.
Age 25 – Well, he might know a little bit about it.
Age 35 – Before we decide, let’s get Dad’s opinion.
Age 45 – Wonder what Dad would have thought about it.
Age 65 – Wish, I could talk it over with Dad.
Well, you Can’t. So, reverse the trend and treat your Dad with loving care, for you will realize their value only when you see their empty chair!
Don’t skip your Yoga on Father’s Day either, just because it is Father’s Day! Or Yoga because it is Yoga Day! But you can skip!
Happy Father’s Day and a Healthy Yoga Day!
This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find or make a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash