Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ban Mother's Day

The first appearance of the concept of what became Mother’s Day was Julia Ward Howe’s call for a Mother's Day in the United States in 1870. It was her reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. It was her attempt to get women involved in shaping society politically. Mother’s Day was first celebrated in the US on 28 February 1909.

The first Father’s Day occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908 and was a remembrance of 210 fathers lost in the Monongah mining disaster. Father’s Day was held as a celebration on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington, when Sonora Smart Dodd decided to come up with a male equivalent to Mother’s Day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who’d raised his children after his wife died in childbirth. Sonora was only 16 years old.

Father’s day almost didn’t happen. The idea was met with derision by many, who felt that it would be another step towards filling the calendar with meaningless promotions. Father’s Day was proposed to the US congress in 1913, but it was not until 1972 that it was finally signed into law as a holiday.

I believe that the fears of those who suspected that these days would just become another useless holiday on the calendar have been realized. I believe that these two days of celebration have been taken over by commercial concerns to create a market for their gifts and cards. It provides thoughtless, self centered people an opportunity to create the illusion that they care for their family members once a year, whether they do or not. Once a year there is this frenzy of buying gifts and flowers to throw at mom or dad to make them think you care, when you haven’t done anything to honour them all year. For me this is in the same category as the Christmas shopping madness, where people try to use one day of the year to prove their love by buying things. A yearly exercixe in pretending to be peaceful and neighbourly, when the next day they return to self centered selfish behaviour for the rest of the year. Shouldn't we try for peace  and love 365 days of the year? Shouldn't we seek to do good will every day of the year like Dicken's spirit of Christmas Present advised Scrooge? If we're truly appreciative of our family members, shouldn't they be special 365 days a year also?

I say ban them both. Who needs them? Not a day goes by that I don’t realize how much I love my wife and hopefully I’m able to show her that every day. For me, every day is daughter day. My daughter leaves me notes and things on a daily basis and not a day goes by that I’m not baking for my family. I'm not saying you should buy cards and flowers every day: Now and again surprising your loved ones with little things is nice. What's nicer is demonstrating by your actions that you care every day, not just once a year. That seems like a much more sincere practice to me.
Kerr Cuhulain