SONORA SMART WAS one of six children. When she was still very young, her mother died. Smart and her five brothers were raised by their father, William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War.

In 1909, Sonora Smart got the idea for Father’s Day. She wanted the celebration to be the first Sunday of June in 1910, because that would have been her father’s birthday, but the local ministers in Spokane, Wash., had a conflict with that Sunday so it was agreed to mark the day the third Sunday.

While the occasion isn’t revered with the same enthusiasm as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is meant to recognize fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and all other father figures.

Congress made Father’s Day a national holiday in 1971. What have we learned from our fathers the last 100 years? Here’s a sample of things learned that I found at the bottom of my “borrowed” file.

My father taught me religion, “You better pray that stain will come out of the carpet.” He taught me logic, “Because I said so, that’s why.” and taught me about foresight, “Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.”

My father taught me about irony, “Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.” He taught me about the science of osmosis, “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.” He also taught me about contortionism, “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck.”

My father taught me about stamina, “You’ll sit there until that spinach is all gone.” He taught me about weather, “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.” He taught me about hypocrisy, “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate.”

My father taught me about the circle of life, “I helped bring you into this world and I can take you out.” My dad taught me about behavior modification, “Stop acting like your mother.” My father taught me about envy, “There are millions of less-fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

My father taught me about anticipation, “Just wait until we get home.” And he taught me about receiving, “You are going to get it when you get home.” My dad taught me extrasensory perception, “Don’t give me that look. I know exactly what you’re thinking.”

He taught me humor, “When the lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come crying to me.” He taught me how to become an adult, “If you don’t eat your liver and onions, you’ll never grow up.” He taught me wisdom, “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

But most of all, my father taught me about justice, “One day you’ll have children and I hope they turn out just like you.”



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FOLLOWING ARE a few “Reflections of a Father,” from an unknown author:

‘I can give you life, but only you can live it. I can teach you things, but only you can learn. I can allow you freedom, but I can’t account for it. I can take you to church, but only you can believe.

I can teach you right from wrong, but the choice will always be yours. I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I can’t make you beautiful inside. I can offer you advice, but only you can accept it. I can teach you to share, but only you can be unselfish. I can teach you respect, but only you can show honor.

I can advise you about friends, but I can’t choose them for you. I can teach you the facts of life, but I can’t build your reputation. I can tell you about alcohol, but only you can choose to be sober. I can warn you about drugs, but only you can say “no.”

I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can’t achieve them for you. I can pray for you, but only you can choose God. I can tell you how to live, but I can’t give you eternal life. I can love you unconditionally all of my life and I will.’