thinks of single dads as being on the fringe of Father's Day,
think again. A close look at the historical origins of the
occasion reveals that Father's Day was first created as a way to
honor a single parent.|
In a recent
press release, the Census Bureau notes that the
idea of Fatherís Day was
conceived by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, while she
listened to a Motherís Day sermon in 1909.
Dodd thought there should be a
special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil
War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm.
A day in June was chosen for
the first Fatherís Day celebration. June 19, 1910 was
proclaimed "Father's Day" by Spokaneís mayor because it was the
month of William Smartís birth.
Lyndon Johnson was the first
president to issue a proclamation honoring fathers when, in
1966, he designated the third Sunday in June as Fatherís Day.
Fatherís Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when
Congress passed a law to make it a permanent day of
million men who are alive today claim the title of father.
Among these are 26 million men who are part of a married-couple
family with minor children at home.
married dads predominate, the number of single custodial dads is
on the rise. Some 2.3 million men are single dads who have
custody of their children, up from 400,000 in 1970.
Another 4.6 million single men do not have custody but are
supporting their minor children financially.
In 2000, more
than 3 million children lived in a household headed by a single
father. That's more than triple the 1980 number.
As of last year, the Census
Bureau reported that 42 percent of single custodial fathers are
divorced; 38 percent have never married; 15 percent are
separated; and 5 percent are widowed.
The ratio of single father
households to all single parent households has been steadily
increasing. Currently, 1-in-6 single parents is a single
father, compared with 1-in-10 in 1970.
According to Hallmark, about 95
million Father's Day cards are given in the United States each
year, making it the fourth largest card sending occasion.
someone is married or single, being a parent is not an easy
task. Being a single dad is even more challenging.
toward single fathers are relatively new to the American book
publishing scene. Just a few years ago, such books were
dads have quite a large selection to choose from. A quick
search on Amazon.com revealed the following recent books for
single fathers. (I'm not recommending them, just listing them,
so do your own review before you buy.)
Best Friends: Meeting the Challenge of Being a Single Father
(Beckham Publication Group, 2006); How to be a Great Single
Dad (Hay House Pub, 2005); Surviving the Single Dad
Syndrome (PublishAmerica, 2004); Quality Time for Dad: A
Parenting Guide for the Single Father (Authorhouse, 2004);
Diary of a Single Dad (Authorhouse, 2003); The Single
Dad's Survival Guide: How to Succeed as a One-Man Parenting Team
(Waterbrook Press, 2003); Cook Like a Mother, Clean Like a
Pro: The Single Dad's Guide to Cooking and Cleaning (PM
Wright Communications, 2002).
The list of organizations and
websites focusing on the needs of single fathers is also
growing. A Google search came up with the following
results. (I'm not vouching for them, just listing them, so check
them out before you join or donate to them.)
Fathers' Rights and Equality
Responsible Single Fathers:
Parents without Partners:
Resources for Single Dads:
The Single Fathers' Lighthouse:
and MrMoms: www.mrmoms.org.
So if you are a single dad, you
should know that resources (books and organizations) exist to
help you meet the challenges of single parenthood.
And to those dads, single or
married, who have been loving, nurturing, and responsible in
fulfilling their parental role, there is only one appropriate
thing to say.
Unmarried America 2006
Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an
attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family
diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.
Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried
firstname.lastname@example.org. Unmarried America is a nonprofit
information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and