Father's Day 2005: Taking Stock of Dad's Contribution

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Cards are in the mail, tee times have been scheduled, and gifts need to be wrapped. Sunday is Father's Day, and every year it comes and goes with less fanfare than Mother's Day, which is only a month earlier.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 66.3 million fathers in the United States, 2.3 million of them unmarried and 98,000 of them serving as stay-at-home dads. Father's Day was created to honor a single father; Sonora Smart Dodd conceived of the holiday to honor her father, a widowed Civil War veteran in 1910. But it wasn't until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday in June the official national designation of Father's Day.

But in 2005, what does it mean to be a father?

"A father is one who shepherds his child through the world to adulthood. It's an exciting vocation, and one that is most rewarding," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and father of four.

Vincent DiCaro, public affairs manager for the National Fatherhood Initiative, said the standard, increasingly, for biological fathers is "stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for the children they are bringing into the world."

"Involved, responsible and committed [fathers] are the key to what out nation's children need," DiCaro told Cybercast News Service. "At the end of the day, the most important role a father has is teaching his kid values. A father needs to be physically, spiritually and emotionally involved in their child's lives. Practically, what that means is he needs to provide, nurture and guide."

But the role of fathers is often downplayed, he said. "We've gone from Father Knows Best to father knows nothing. We've gone from Ozzie and Harriet to Ozzy Osborne," said DiCaro. He attributed this to the feminist movement, saying that it promoted the idea that a woman could raise a child by herself.

"Fathers have a unique and irreplaceable role to play in children's lives. Men and women are different, and mothers and fathers are different. They bring different things to a child," said DiCaro.

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