The origins of the American holiday celebrating fathers dates from 1910, and it was in direct response to, what else, Mother’s Day. But for several years the whole idea was derided and laughed at as just another “mindless promotion.”
As the decades rolled by, one president after another, starting with Woodrow Wilson, found they were impotent to get a simple proclamation honoring fathers through the U.S. Congress. And it wasn’t until 1966 that Lyndon Johnson issued a presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Add another six years before Nixon actually signed it into law as a permanent national holiday.
Some of the early criticisms of the holiday as another mindless promotion have certainly come to fruition, as the holiday gets promoted like a new burger meal at a fast food chain, or a day to buy the old man a new lawn grooming tool.
But not everyone trivializes the true notions behind fatherhood. Many of us understand the idea of fatherhood and the family as the cornerstone of civilization, dating back at least to the times when Jesus taught first about the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; of man’s sonship with God. Jesus stated that a true family is founded on the following seven facts:
1. The fact of existence. The relationships of nature and the phenomena of mortal likenesses are bound up in the family: Children inherit certain parental traits. The children take origin in the parents; personality existence depends on the act of the parent. The relationship of father and child is inherent in all nature and pervades all living existences.
2. Security and pleasure. True fathers take great pleasure in providing for the needs of their children. Many fathers are not content with supplying the mere wants of their children, but enjoy making provision for their pleasures also.
3. Education and training. Wise fathers carefully plan for the education and adequate training of their sons and daughters. When young they are prepared for the greater responsibilities of later life.
4. Discipline and restraint. Farseeing fathers also make provision for the necessary discipline, guidance, correction, and sometimes restraint of their young and immature offspring.
5. Companionship and loyalty. The affectionate father holds intimate and loving intercourse with his children. Always is his ear open to their petitions; he is ever ready to share their hardships and assist them over their difficulties. The father is supremely interested in the progressive welfare of his progeny.
6. Love and mercy. A compassionate father is freely forgiving; fathers do not hold vengeful memories against their children. Fathers are not like judges, enemies, or creditors. Real families are built upon tolerance, patience, and forgiveness.
7. Provision for the future. Temporal fathers like to leave an inheritance for their sons and daughters. The family continues from one generation to another. Death only ends one generation to mark the beginning of another. Death terminates an individual life— but not necessarily the family.
The Urantia Book notes that it is an “unfortunate and mistaken notion of modern peoples on Urantia that child culture is largely the task of mothers. Children need fathers as well as mothers, and fathers need this parental experience as much as do mothers.” Indeed, no ascending mortal creature can escape the essential experience of rearing children, whether they get that experience in this world, or on worlds to come.
The fact that the family idea is crucial to our ascension in the universe is born out of just how many “fathers” each one of us will ultimately come to recognize as our own:
1. The biologic father— the father in the flesh.
2. The father of the realm— the Planetary Adam.
3. The father of the spheres— the System Sovereign.
4. The Most High Father— the Constellation Father.
5. The universe Father— the Creator Son and supreme ruler of the local creations. (Jesus)
6. The super-Fathers— the “Ancients of Days” who govern the superuniverse.
7. The spirit or Havona Father—the Universal Father— who dwells on Paradise and bestows his spirit to live and work in the minds of the lowly creatures who inhabit the universe of universes.
So today, if and when you kick back with a well-deserved cold one, pause just a moment to reflect on not just your biologic earth father, but your entire family of fathers as you will one day come to know them, as you ascend inward in an eternal universe. Well, come to think of it— maybe you’d better reserve the whole six pack; it’s going to be a long strange trip, if this first fatherhood experience is any indication.