Father’s Day is coming up soon and I would hate to not take this opportunity to reach out to the dads who suffer on Father’s Day as well as those who love them.
The Origins of Father’s Day
According to History.com, it has been over 100 years since the first Father’s Day was celebrated. But it’s only been about 50 years since it became a national holiday. It seems that while Mother’s Day was received with great joy and excitement, Father’s Day wasn’t quite so great. In fact, many men were actually not too happy with it in general. Some even wanted to do away with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in order to celebrate “Parent’s Day.”
But regardless, over time, it has gained in popularity and is now a fairly significant day to celebrate the men who raised us, and who are raising our children. Like most holidays, it has been commercialized and is a time that gifts are generally expected.
Not Everyone Enjoys Father’s Day
My father is not always the most celebratory on Father’s Day. He mourns the loss of his father and wishes he could go and visit with him. He also misses hearing from his son who passed away several years ago. My husband lives a good distance from his father and we are not always able to be there on that day. A man I used to attend church with spent his first Father’s Day purchasing burial clothes for his premature triplets who didn’t survive while his wife mourned in the hospital recovery room.
If Father’s Day Is Hard For You
Decide to find a way to choose joy, even if that is difficult. If you aren’t able to say, “Happy Father’s Day” to your dad, or hear it from your children, don’t let yourself live in self-pity. Here are some suggestions on how you can choose to find joy.
1. Help Others
Find a way to reach out to others who are hurting. Helping others is a great way to help yourself. Here are a few ways you can do that.
- Visit those in the nursing homes who have been neglected by their own families. Take them a card, or a small gift.
- Do something kind for a child in the neighborhood whose father is out of the picture, overseas, or has passed away.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the day or even the weekend.
2. Let Your Feelings Out
Your feelings are completely okay. You don’t have to pretend it’s an amazing day. Write down how you feel, make a video, or a blog post. Talk to someone you know cares about you and your mental health. If you need to cry, that’s fine. If you just need some time alone to regroup, that’s okay too. Accept your feelings. But then move on from them. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. Cry, sob, scream, but then pull yourself up.
3. Remember, It’s Only One Day
There are 364 other days that are not Father’s Day. This one may be very, very difficult for you. If it is, I am sorry. But please know it will only last 24 hours, even if it feels like it is forever. If you absolutely cannot handle the day, it’s okay to just stay home, turn off the TV and social media and pretend the holiday isn’t even happening. It is just a day. Don’t let one day ruin your mindset. You can make it through one day.
How To Help Someone Who Struggles With Finding Joy on Father’s Day
If your mother, father, child, neighbor, cousin, or anyone you know has a hard time this Father’s Day and you want to take some time to help them, here is what I would suggest.
1. Don’t Force Them
If they want to ignore the day all together, let them. If they don’t want to go out to celebrate, let them know that’s okay. Don’t force them to bow down to your expectation of the holiday if it’s just too painful for them.
2. Love Them
Go out of your way the days before and even after Father’s Day to shower them with love in their own personal love language. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them. And let them know you’re sorry they’re hurting.
3. Listen To Them
If they want to talk, let them. Listen to what they have to say kindly, and calmly. Even if they say things that may seem rude, or irrational. Let them get their emotions out.
4. Help Them Move Past It
Talk with them about what they feel they need to make it through the holiday. Would they rather ignore it? Do they think it would help if they confronted their estranged father? Would distracting them help? Do they prefer to go on a mini-vacation to get away? Find out how to help them move past it and support them in getting what they need.