Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Rewarding Father’s Day

by Senator Larry Craig

This year, June 19 is Father’s Day. Did you know Father’s Day was conceived and first celebrated in the Inland Northwest? The first Father’s Day celebration took place on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Louise Smart got the idea in 1909, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in church.

Raised solely by her father, a widower, Sonora Smart wanted to honor the sacrifices and loving influence of her father and all fathers. Over the years, the idea caught on, and finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed legislation establishing permanent, nationwide observance of Father’s Day each year on the third Sunday of June.

While some may overlook holidays like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, I believe it is important to acknowledge the roles of parents in a child’s life. Beyond the basics of shelter and nurture, much of a child’s personality, outlook on life, and behavior are molded by his or her parents. As always, I plan to visit with my parents on this day, and let them know how much I appreciate everything they did for me as I grew up, and the lessons I learned from them.

As you visit with your families on this holiday, I want to encourage you to consider the hundreds of thousands of children in the United States, or the millions of children worldwide, who are currently in need of a family like the ones we so often take for granted. For a lot of us, it is inconceivable that this basic need is out of reach for the most vulnerable of our population. Please consider these young ones still waiting for their forever families.

Your ability to help may be greater than you think. While many children are in need of a permanent placement with a family, some might only need a temporary loving home to provide safety and stability for a few months.

Adoption is a very real option, whether you already have started a family, or are seeking to start one. If you have given adoption some real thought, but don’t know where to get started, you might want to check out the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website, www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov. Clicking on the links to “Children” and “Adoption” will take you to a host of resources on adoption and foster care, including contact information for your area, links to agencies and frequently asked questions.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are days when we acknowledge the positive influence of our parents on our lives. We understand how our parents shaped what we became as adults. However, there are children in Idaho, across the nation, and around the world, who need that same sort of positive influence today just as much as you did all those years ago.

It’s not just the child who will benefit. As an adoptive father, I can tell you that the experience will change your life for the better, and I think other adoptive and foster parents will agree with me.

William Jackson Smart, Sonora’s father, loved his children and did his best to raise them well. Through his responsibility and devotion to them, he inspired them. He didn’t do it for the praise or the attention, and I’m sure he didn’t think he deserved a holiday for it. He was just being a dad.

This Father’s Day, as we celebrate dads, please take a look at the Health and Welfare website I mentioned above, and give some thought to becoming an adoptive parent or foster parent. A caring adult can make a positive, lasting difference in the life of a child. Your parents did it for you. Thank them by passing these gifts on to another generation.

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