Life with fathers leads to lessons learned
The first Father’s Day in the United States was celebrated on June 19, 1920. Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon to create a day to honor fathers.
His mother had died in childbirth and his father, a Civil War veteran, was left with five sons and a daughter. Instead of giving up his children and remarrying as was the custom in the early 1900s, Mr. Smart chose to keep his family together.
Several presidents expressed their support for Father’s Day, but some balked because the day presented traders with another opportunity to make money. Others felt that fathers did not inspire the same emotional response as mothers. Father’s Day didn’t become official until 1972, when Richard Nixon was president.
My generous friends have been so kind to share memories and lessons from their fathers. Tennyson’s Ulysses offers the view that we are all combinations of our experiences. So many heartfelt stories about fathers remind us that we are indeed part of everything we have encountered.
Jan McKeel remembers his father’s warning to practice diversification. As a farmer Charles Outland knew the importance of bringing variety to agricultural crops, sources of income and financial investments. This lesson inspired Jan to apply this principle to all facets of his life. She wrote: “After all, we only know what we know. We need a diverse group of friends to help shape our own philosophy.
“My father taught me so much more than I ever learned,” recalls Belinda Black French. Charles Black, principal of Whitthorne Junior High School, gave significant examples in emphasizing the importance of daily life, marriage, family, work and church. He led an exemplary life marked by professionalism, integrity and good character.
Jane Eve Rayburn lovingly remembers his father as a real character. Mr. Rayburn said, “I’ll teach you how to bait your hook. Then it’s up to you to bait your own hook. What a good lesson in autonomy! As a beloved teacher and librarian at Baker Elementary School, Jane Eve shared Mr. Rayburn’s lesson with thousands of students.
Tony Sowell had a remarkable father. Almost everyone in Maury County knew Frank Sowell. He was everyone’s friend, and he knew more people here than anyone else will ever know. Tony said his dad told him to always tell the truth because it’s easier to remember. The philosophy that Mr. Sowell believed in and shared was: “Treat everyone like family. Respect all people, regardless of color, politics or economic status.
Veneeda Moore Jernigan lost her father when she was just a baby. His mother remarried, so his stepfather, Reverend John Batton, was the only father she knew. He was very strict, but caring. Reverend Batton was such a good man that on Thanksgiving he rounded up the kids who didn’t want dinner, brought them home, and fed them before his own family. He was a Baptist pastor and civil rights leader in our community. Her children were among the first African Americans to attend Central High when the schools were integrated on a freedom of choice plan.
Mr. Claude Eadyfather of Kevin Eady, principal of Mt. Pleasant Middle School, was a celebrity in Lynchburg. His fame spread when he appeared in Jack Daniel’s advertisements. Mr. Eady has never met a stranger. He loved children, and they loved him. When Kevin played baseball, his father and uncle attended every game. When Kevin asked why they were traveling so much, his dad said he had to be there for the boys whose dads couldn’t come. He was active in his church and worked hard on his farm.
by Charlie Plunkett the fact that the father treats his mother with love and respect has set a guide for Charlie in caring for his wife. Mr Plunkett insisted on being a good listener, giving 100% all the time, and being honest in all dealings with everyone. As a banker, Charlie uses these principles on a daily basis.
by Suzanne Ganzer dad, James J. Bonifa, was a defense attorney in Milwaukee, a stalwart in the community. The values he instilled in his children were honesty and integrity. He asked Suzanne to count each golf stroke as he did. His father insisted that his children learn to confess their mistakes to those who mattered so that corrections could be made. When his sons or daughters were in trouble, his expression of disappointment was punishment enough. Suzanne’s father lost his father in a car accident, and his mother and two great-uncles raised him. Even uncles can be father figures, and they have served Mr. Bonifa well by emphasizing religion and respect for elders.
My father, Clifford Hutcherson, taught me to use my time and talents to help others. He truly loved his neighbors as himself. Her love and caring for my mother inspired everyone. The knowledge he had gained from caring for horses for most of his life has been shared with all of us. Dad supported my life in every way. When I started teaching, he helped me with my bulletin boards. He could analyze any mechanical problem. He said, “Don’t say I can’t do that; Find a solution.”
“Plowing to the end of the row” comes from his days as a farmer.
The influence of fathers is often ingrained in our minds not only by what they said, but also by what they did. Often, our maturity gives us a greater appreciation for our fathers. Their wisdom passed down to us is a golden gift to share with our children and give them a sense of their families’ values to pass on to future generations.