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Father, dad, papa, whatever you call him, you may love him, hate him or not even know who he is; but we all have a father or father figure in our lives who is there to help guide us. So with Father’s Day fast approaching it’s time to talk about fathers…

The dictionary defines a father as: ‘a male parent, a father-in-law, adoptive father, step-father or a man who exercises paternal care over other persons’. The word father is also used in times gone by as a sign of respect for older, wiser males, founders of communities, or a title given to some religious leaders. The term can also be used to describe a prototype or early form of invention, for instance: ‘The horseless carriage was the father of the modern automobile’.

Fathers are often the ones who take care of the garden, car and any maintenance around the home (with varying degrees of success). They can also be found reading the paper or in front of the television on the weekend watching their favourite sporting event (or maybe even at the event itself). They are the one you go to if you want to borrow the car or if you need money. Fathers are the ones at the hospital who will brag to anybody who gets near about their baby being the best, most intelligent and beautiful baby ever born. Fathers are the ones who will give the third degree to any young man who is brave enough to take their daughter out, and stay up all night until their daughter returns home.

Television leads us to believe that fathers are wise all-knowing men who have the answers to everything; like Cliff Huxtable in the “Cosby Show,” or Ward Clever in “Leave It To Beaver”. Fathers have also been shown as the comical, stupid members of the family like Al Bundy in” Married With Children” or Homer Simpson in “The Simpson’s”. Then you have the television version of a single father like Alan Harper in “Two and a Half Men” or widowed father Danny Tanner in “Full House”.

There are some suggestions that the idea of Father’s Day originated from pagan sun worship, as some branches of paganism see the sun as the father of the universe. Father’s Day is even celebrated in some countries on the third Sunday of June, which is close to the June Solstice. The idea of a special day to honour fathers and celebrate fatherhood was also believed to have been first suggested in America by Sonora Smart Dodd, after she attended Mother’s Day celebrations. Having lost her mother at an early age and being close with her father; Mrs Dodd felt that fathers should have a special day too. The first Father’s Day was believed to have been celebrated in Spokane Washington in June 1910. Canada, England, Afghanistan, Asia and many other country’s also celebrate Father’s Day on, or around, the month of June. While some countries like Thailand have their Father’s Day celebrations on the birthday of their present King or the founder of their country.

So then why does Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea celebrate Father’s Day in September when most of the world celebrates it on, or around, the month of June? No one really seems to know for sure… although some suggest it may have to do with the warmer BBQ-appropriate weather September brings in the Southern Hemisphere. We also associate fathers with outdoor activities which are often suited to warmer weather so this would make sense. But would fathers really move their day just to get some nice weather to celebrate it with? This is something I will leave you to ponder.

Love him, hate him, or don’t even know who he is; fathers have shaped all our lives in one way or another. So on the first Sunday in September take at least a moment to remember your father and the affect he has had on your life.

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