Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

In the United States, the first modern Father’s Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia or on June 19th of the same year, in the state of Washington. Today, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.

In West Virginia, it was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton, who is believed to have suggested the service to the pastor, is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. That explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers’ Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles away.

Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent raised his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish Mother’s Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father’s death, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington, at the Spokane YMCA.

Father’s Day will be special for me this year—not because of the history of the day, but because of the little boy’s picture you see at the top of this blog. His name is Evan William Heartsill, and he is my son. Evan was born on February 4, 2008, and he is such a joy!

He laughs. He smiles. His eyes follow me as I walk across the room. He holds my finger in his tiny hands. He snuggles in my lap. He likes for me to swing him around and to tickle his neck with my beard. And, even at the age of 4 ½ months, he loves me. I know he does.

I was more than a little apprehensive when my wife and I began talking about having a baby. There are too many reasons to share in this blog, but just let me say that I was a little nervous about the prospect of having a baby.

Apparently, the Good Lord knew what He was doing and allowed a pregnancy to come very quickly for us. Again, no need for details, let’s just say the Lord took action quickly so neither my wife nor I would change our minds.

And, I am so glad He did! He allowed us to have an absolutely wonderful son. Today is his first Father’s Day and it is my first Father’s Day with him. Who knows what the day will bring. I do know that we will spend the morning at my wife’s home church where we will have him dedicated to the Lord. Then, we will spend the afternoon with family and friends, celebrating Father’s Day.

I really hope your Father’s Day is special for you. Whether your children are brand-new like Evan or they are ready to draw retirement, I hope you find a special few minutes to be together, to enjoy the day, and to be thankful for the father God placed in your life.

And, as you are being thankful, I hope you will join me in praying that we fathers will be the kind of fathers that God wants us to be. I know that I will be praying today that I will be the father that God desires for Evan to have! That’s my simple prayer today.

Happy Father’s Day men! May your day be filled with joy, fun, laughter, sweet words, and maybe even a tear or two.


  1. Sure is a good looking one. Reckon we know now where he gets his looks...from his mom! Congrats Steve on being a father. Nothing like it.

  2. You are correct, about his looks. Thankfully, he gets most of his qualities from her!


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