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Celebrating Father's Day

How did Father's Day come about? What are some ways you can honor your dad, stepdad or grandparent?

Nashville, Ark. – This weekend Americans will be celebrating Father’s Day. Have you ever thought about how this special day to honor dad came about? In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson decreed Mother’s Day as a national holiday. However, it was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

            Even today, more Mother’s Day cards are sold than Father’s Day cards, and our nation’s phone lines are busier on the second Sunday in May than on the third Sunday in June. While mothers deserve all the tribute and attention they receive, maybe we could do a better job expressing our love and appreciation to our fathers.

            The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in 1909, before Mother’s Day was formally established as a national holiday. While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Dodd decided that there should also be a special day honoring fathers.

            Mrs. Dodd wanted a day set aside to recognize her father. A Civil War veteran, her father was widowed when his wife (Sonora’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Living on a rural farm in eastern Washington State, he raised his newborn and five other children on his own.

            After growing into adulthood, Sonora realized how courageous and selfless her father had been in raising his children as a single parent. So on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was observed in Spokane, Washington. At about the same time, other cities and towns across America started to set aside a special day to honor fathers. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of Father’s Day, though it was President Johnson who officially established the national holiday some 42 years later.

            Father’s Day is not just a time for honoring our biological fathers. It is also a time for recognizing our grandfathers and those special uncles and older friends who often play important fathering roles in our lives.

            Stepfathers are a prominent and vital part of today’s American family, and their role is often a particularly challenging one. Being a good stepfather takes courage and an abundance of skill. If you have a stepdad, make Father’s Day an occasion for expressing your admiration and gratitude. If you have a good friend who is a stepfather, remember him also with a phone call or note.

            As with so many of our major holidays, we have a tendency to over-commercialize Father’s Day. Often the best Father’s Day gifts cost little or no money. Here are few idea-starters:

  • Unleash your creativity and craft your own Father’s Day card. Children have fun doing this and often create some real winners.
  • Write a letter to your dad expressing your appreciation and sharing some fond memories.
  • Recall a time when your father was particularly patient or supportive of you. Spend a few minutes alone with your dad and tell him about your memory of his patience or support. Give him a hug and say thanks!
  • Ask a grandparent or older relative about a dish or meal that your father particularly enjoyed as a child, and surprise your father with that meal or special treat. As the two of you enjoy eating this food from his childhood, ask your dad to share the memories it evokes.
  • Take your father to the place or home where he grew up. If this is not practical, old pictures can serve the same purpose. Ask him to share some of his memories of what life was like as he grew up.
  • Create a list of “Twelve Reasons Why I Love You” for your dad. A lot of warmth and a little dash of humor will create a real memory-maker.

Whatever you decide to do special for your dad, be sure to write down the memories you make in a journal. Journaling is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and future generations. Journals help us stay connected. For more information on journaling or parenting, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse or visit our website at and click on Families and Consumers.

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe is one that all dads will love! While it has several ingredients, mainly spices, it is very quick to prepare. Great for summertime suppers!

Philly Steak Sandwich

1 pound beef sirloin, cut into thin 2-inch strips

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon dried basil

3 Tablespoons oil

1 onion, sliced

1 green bell pepper, julienned

3 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

4 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise

            Place the beef in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, marjoram and basil. Sprinkle over beef.

            Heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté beef to desired doneness and remove from pan. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, and sauté the onion and green pepper.

            Preheat oven on broiler setting. Divide the meat between the bottoms of 4 rolls, layer with onion and green pepper, then top with sliced cheese. Place on cookie sheet, and broil until cheese is melted. Cover with tops of rolls, and serve.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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