On Sunday, June 16, we join the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the influence fathers and adult male role models have in children’s lives. As we prepare to celebrate dads, let’s take a look back to how it all got started. Did you know Father’s Day began at the YMCA? It was founded in Spokane, WA, at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father, William Jackson Smart, had raised six children on his own.
After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day, Dodd told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
In 1972, President Nixon recognized Father’s Day as an official holiday.
The Importance of Dads!
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million—or one in three—children live without their biological fathers. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening his parenting skills and becoming more engaged in the lives of his children. The Y, a leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, is dedicated to providing both resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
Here are three critical ways dads impact youth development:
- SOCIAL-EMOTIONALLY: Children with more involved fathers experience fewer behavioral problems and score higher on reading and achievement.*
- COGNITIVELY: A father’s involvement in his child’s school is associated with higher likelihood of that child getting mostly A’s.*
- PHYSICALLY: The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children. Yet, not all children have the loving, nurturing support of a father.