Reflecting on Father's Day

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Richard Erredge
  • 934th Communications Flight commander
As Fathers Day approaches I started reflecting on my own experiences as a father and about the origins of the holiday. A quick Google search led me to the story of the founder of Fathers Day. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. Since her father was born in June, she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. President Nixon, in 1972, established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. Today Father's Day is celebrated in 52 countries around the world on the third Sunday of June each year.

Being a parent is extremely difficult but yet rewarding duty. The more I think about what it means to be a father I realize the more I have to learn. However, I would like to pass on a few things I've learned the hard way about parenting. For those in uniform parenting has additional challenges and responsibilities. We spend a significant amount of time away from traditional family life due to attending training, temporary duty away from home, and of course deployments. Despite these temporary separations, technology is making it easier to continue being involved in daily family life. On the other hand there are a few pitfalls to avoid.

It is very important to effectively communicate expectations of how the family will interact during extended absences of the military member prior to the separation. Setting specific days or times for phone or video calls is a good idea but commit to make it happen when scheduled. When using e-mail to communicate be aware that the tone of your messages may not be taken exactly how you intended and can be upsetting to the receiver.

Resist the urge to use social media as a means to inform all of your "friends" about your daily activities. Lastly, not only is Operations Security a major concern, but your family needs to have first right of refusal to share your activities with your "friends."

From the dawn of military operations families have been dealing with separation due to military requirements. Take the time this Fathers Day to tell your family how much you appreciate their sacrifices and celebrate the day with those that are close to you!