Words of Wisdom from Dad

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

A very special event happened this past Saturday… it was honoring our Sacred Service volunteers who serve on the 21 teams that serve our community. It was a beautiful day, and we had many beautiful people attend, and scrumptious food. We have 78 active volunteers, and we would love to have you be on this roster. Service is an act of devotion to God, and Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Please speak to me if you would like to join a team.

Sunday was Father’s Day, and did you know there are over 70 million fathers in the United States? Also did you know the campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm — perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

William Jackson Smart was a twice-married, twice-widowed Civil War veteran and father of 14 children, one of whom dedicated her life to the creation of Father’s Day in honor of her devoted and selfless dad.

In Spokane, Washington, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, the daughter of William Jackson Smart, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

I asked for help with my sermon by sharing some words of wisdom from dad… I have a great response.

Here are some that I didn’t share on Sunday:

• Kathleen McManus: My dad was a correctional officer in a prison and he would often say “people are still people and deserve to be treated kindly! They committed a crime but that is not who they are.”

• Terri Svendsen Hewitt: After asking a million times why there had to be people that did bad/mean/awful things, he told me everything in life serves a purpose, if even to serve as a bad example. He also changed his mind about things when he found out more information. I really respect this. He had a hard time with “illegal aliens” in Southern California until he met a man crossing the desert from Mexico. The man was hungry and dehydrated. He picked up the man and they went to the next town, where my dad bought him food and water. After talking to the man, he found that he just wanted a better life for his family, just like my immigrant grandparents did. He helped the man get to his destination. He told me they both could have been arrested, but he felt it was the right thing to do. I never heard him ever complain about “illegals” again.

• Judi Venturini: When I was about 17 my car spun in circles on a busy eight-lane expressway in Chicago because I broke too hard when everyone came to an abrupt stop during rush hour. I made at least 3 spins in a circle before I stopped. Amazingly I hit nothing, but I was shook. I wanted my dad to drive, and he said, “Absolutely not. Get in that seat and drive, or else you will never drive and give up when life has you spinning.”

Listen to this week’s audio to hear more stories about dads.

To the men reading this, come on Friday to the Men’s Gathering celebrating the summer solstice and spend some quality time with other men. Food, fellowship and fire circle!

Next Sunday I will be talking about “Mind Over Matter.”

You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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