Dad Doesn’t Need Another Tie. Or Grill.

I’m not really a big fan of Father’s Day. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, but I think we can all admit the whole concept seems a bit like an after thought.

Mother’s Day, created in the Civil War era as a means to help national reconciliation by creating friendship clubs of Union and Confederate mothers, became an official holiday in the early 1900s. Ann Jarvis, daughter of the founder of the Mothers’ Friendship Clubs, pushed, poked, and prodded until Woodrow Wilson in 1914 established the second Sunday of May as our day officially to, by federal law, support and love our mothers. And buy them gifts. Not that I’m implying Wilson was in any way influenced by merchants salivating over the commercial opportunities.

I’m sure Wilson just wanted to show his mother some love. With flowers. It’s worth noting that Jarvis, ironically, was single and childess her entire life, eventually repudiated Mothers Day as too commercial. Maybe she just felt bad for missing out on the 10 gallon bottle of perfume.

Fathers’ Day doesn’t get official federal recognized as a holiday until the 1972 Presidential campaign, probably about the same time grills, ties with hula girls, and personalized shaving kits became readily available. While one might argue that Fathers Day gives us a chance to honor both parents, the reality is that Fathers Day really seems like an opportunity for Sears to create a second Christmas for dads while kicking off the summer buying season. He opened the Chinese market just in time for cheap ties to flood American homes.

Mothers carry us around for 9 months with swollen feet, raging hormones, unpredictable appetites and then pass that big bowling ball you call a head through a hole barely larger than post-it note. They deserve something more than stretch marks.

Dad simply had a good night and was probably back on the couch before the next inning started. Sure, he had to make food runs at midnight to Taco Bell and provide all that “moral” support for 9 months, but when his belly gets bigger that’s too many Cheetos and cold beers. He got his gift 9 months ago.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t honor our fathers, but we need to re-think our approach to gifting. After all, without kids, dad loses those tax deductions, access to little league sports, opportunities for dance recitals, and an excuse to watch Sponge Bob Square Pants.

So, this Fathers’ Day, instead of buying a gift (probably using his money) or drawing a picture he has to tax his brain to recognize, all you kids out there should just remind him how much joy you’ve brought good old dad. Take him on a trip down memory lane by talking about random events, experiences, and even those things that are only funny 10 years later. (No one really appreciates a stopped up toilet or broken window for at least 5 years.)

He wants to remember helping you ride a bike, throwing a ball, sitting at a tea party. (If he ever dressed up, pull out the photo. No Intagram, though! It is his special day.) Pull out the photos of your first camping trip, your last vacation, or the time he taught you to swim.

After all, those memories are worth more than that tie you keep thinking about buying. You can get him that for Christmas.

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

4 Responses to Dad Doesn’t Need Another Tie. Or Grill.

  1. The Other Half of that Mother's Day/Father's Day equation says:

    I think Ol’ Rhett Bubba up there kind of missed the entire point of today’s blog.

  2. rhettbigler says:

    I find your comparison of the couch potato-esque father to the birthing mother to be disingenuous for both mothers and fathers. I suspect that you do not see fatherhood as being simply providing money and household fixes or motherhood to be simply pregnancy and birth, yet your post seems to reduce them to those qualities while the main thrust seems really to be aimed at celebrating relationships or not over commercializing the holiday.

    • John Wegner says:

      Good morning. Thanks for reading the blog. I appreciate your comment. I’m pretty sure I was aiming for flippant less than disingenuous. I hope you had a great weekend.

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