COLUMN: Reflecting back on Father’s Day

Published 8:00 am Sunday, June 25, 2023

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By Larry Davies

Father’s Day is a second-class holiday, and I don’t like it. Do you want to know how Father’s Day really started? Some guilty soul on Mother’s Day said, “We really should remember dear old Dad.” The local hardware store owner loved the idea and posted the first recognition: FATHER’S DAY SALE.

We dads are stereotyped by the media as: workaholics, deadbeats, abusers or macho men. They do exist, but most of us don’t fit any of those categories. We take our responsibilities seriously and deeply resent the shallow stereotypes. I am one of those fathers.

Approximately 30 years ago, I wrote this in my local newspaper, The Amelia Bulletin-Monitor. I remember visiting the newspaper office and suggesting a weekly column. I didn’t think it would be that hard since I wrote a Sunday message anyway. The owners, Mike and Ann Salster looked at me strangely and Ann said, “You know, we can’t pay you.” And so, my writing career began.

The Salsters and I became close friends over the years as they not only published what I wrote every week, but they and others helped me publish the column in other newspapers and websites, provided expertise to start an internet devotion and prayer ministry and published four books for me. I will always be grateful for their enthusiastic support that continues today even though Ann and Mike died years ago. 

But this column was one of my first, and since we recently celebrated Father’s Day, it seemed appropriate.

My children were young when I became a single parent. The transition was difficult at first: church-women brought meals, assuming no “man” could cook, but the kids actually preferred my unique menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, spaghetti and frozen pizza. I learned how to clean the house, give the kids their baths and buy children’s clothing. Combing hair was my biggest failure. Every Sunday morning, someone in the church would have to fix my poor daughter’s ponytail.

I represent just one of many dads who struggle just like moms to be good parents and good providers for their families and this column honors us. Whether you are married and actively share the parenting role or bear sole responsibility in raising the children. God will bless you.

My fifth-grade son wrote this poem: While my mom was gone, dad had to handle things from now on. So we called him Mr. Mom. He did the laundry, cleaned every dish, he cleaned up the bedrooms, fed every fish. Now that mom is gone, dad handles things from now on. We call him, Mr. Mom.

This verse is food for thought: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

I am happily remarried now but I’ve learned that my role is a vital link in the continued good health of our family. If you are this kind of dad, I honor you. If you are not, you can still change. It could be the best gift any child could ever receive. As for Father’s Day? Give your dad more than a card or a tool. Give him your time, your prayers, your forgiveness, and most of all your love.

A lot has happened since this column was written. My two children are grown and each of them has a child of their own. Since serving in Amelia, I’ve served in Keysville, churches throughout the Lynchburg area, Louisa County, Fredericksburg, and Virginia Beach. At each place I’ve made the weekly devotions a regular part of my ministry.

I hope and pray you’ve been encouraged as well as challenged. It’s been an honor to be a part of your life. If you’ve been touched or encouraged over the past 30 years, please consider sending me a message on Facebook or an email at I would love to hear from you.