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Father’s Day Now and Then…

On the third Sunday in June in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day. Like most things, the role of a father has changed over time.

Economics and culture had a lot to do with this. In the earliest human communities, men hunted and fished far away from their families, while the mothers and grandmothers foraged locally and looked after the children. Many war-like tribes discouraged father involvement with children. The growth of Christianity encouraged the role of “father” as a detached leader within the family. On the other hand, in rural areas men and women often worked side by side for long hours in the fields, and the idea of young children sleeping in a separate nursery was not common before the nineteenth century. After the industrial revolution, dads in urban areas worked long hours farther away from the home. Women often began to take over traditional “father” tasks. Long wars, including the two World Wars, resulted in fathers being away from the home for long periods of time.

In the 21st century, gender roles are changing rapidly. Increasingly both sexes are working at home allowing more time to be spent with children. The number of dads staying at home while the mom works outside is also rising. More dads are finding time to spend with family and children, while in later life increased mobility means more adult children are now moving far away from their parents. A globally connected world will mean change among roles in all cultures.

History is full of good and bad dads. Charlemagne, who was crowned first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope in 800 A.D., is often called “Father of Europe.” In private life, Charlemagne was easy-going. His son Pepin became known as Pepin the Hunchback, because he suffered from a spinal defect. Charlemagne loved and favored Pepin, but when it came time to choose a successor passed over him. Pepin conspired to kill his father, mother and siblings. When Charlemagne uncovered the plot, he showed his mercy by banishing Pepin to a monastery instead of executing him for treason. Charlemagne also doted on his daughters and their children by bequeathing them convents so they could live out the rest of their lives peacefully.

 
 

Teddy Roosevelt credits much of his success to his father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Teddy calls his dad, “the best man I ever knew.” Roosevelt says, “He combined strength and courage with greatness, tenderness and great usefulness. He could not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness or cowardice or untruthfulness. As we grew older, he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right for a man.” Little wonder Teddy Roosevelt became one of our most productive and successful presidents.

To all those fulfilling a role of “dad,” we celebrate your achievements. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON
Little Miss HISTORY COLORING BOOK, Volume 1
The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume 1

WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com TO SEE MUCH MORE AND PURCHASE BOOKS

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