Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fathering Sunday

Just a reminder. We imported the idea of calling this day "Fathers' Day" from the Americans. Until then it went by its traditional name of "Sunday".

So in  a back-formational piece of linguistic engineering, the Beaker Folk are henceforth calling this Sunday "Fathering Sunday". This makes it feel older and more traditional, divorces it from Americana, and yet puts the pressure on the fathers. It does however have the downside of recalling that the verb "to father" means "to cause to be conceived". Which is not what we will be encouraging, except within the ambit of a loving relationship - however defined. In which case, that's fine.

But according to the new Beaker tradition, which I just invented, Fathering Sunday is now the day on which women will say, in exasperation, to their children "You're just like your father". After more than twenty years of waiting, I have been looking forward to using this expression on Young Keith. Except that I currently don't know where he is. Which, to be fair, means he is indeed just like this father.

And I think this highlights my real point this morning. The United Kingdom has imported this daft idea of "Father's Day" from the States, and as a result we in the Church in particular have emptied a whole load more egg-shells onto the floor, on which to walk on this special day. We already had this problem when we started giving flowers to mothers on Mothering Sunday - and now we've got it again. All over the country, last-minute checks are going on as preachers are ensuring that when they crow-barred some references to God as Father into the Sermon on the Seed, they didn't do it in such a way as to upset someone who's lost a father, someone who's been raised by wolves, someone who's divorced and never sees his children, and so on.

Although another point also strikes me. Given a story about a man who scatters his seed, and then wanders off and forgets it, paying no attention to whether or how it will grow, or indeed where - we're back to the whole concept of "fathering" again. When I catch Young Keith he's in real trouble.


  1. Yes, please, let's keep Americana at bay - to be clear, my objection is to the cultural invasion and not the charming individuals like Anonymous. But, to be fair, in this case Americana is simply flying the flag of the more insidious regime Mammon. It is unthinkable that Mothering Sunday, when young women in Service were allowed to visit their mothers, should be consigned to historical curiosity. Now we must all be in service to consumerism: who dares not give a card; no, wait, that's not enough - a present, the pricier the better.

    Dear Archdruid, I fear your new tradition is simply a sop; consumerism is at your door and you must control it. No, have nothing to do with Father's Day. Celebrate Wombat Preservation Day instead. Anything benign. It is a slippery slope that leads to Clintons. And put the eggshells where they belong, on the compost heap.

  2. Thank you, Gladpotter for your generous characterization of this particular American. You must have read my diatribe over Mothers Day, Valentines Day and all other so-called "holidays" which I cynically call "Hallmark Holidays". Those being holidays which were either fully dreamt up or otherwise hijacked by this corporation in an effort to have more steady revenue flow between "real" holidays like Christmas, Easter and the occasional birthday. Our family boycotts these ridiculous holidays which is great relief especially to my hubby on Valentines Day as he sees his coworkers agonize over plotting the PERFECT day for their women. The pressure is enormous and as many relationships break up that fateful night as are won. It's tricksy business on Mothers Day too as breakfast in bed, homemade gifts from the kids and the male-doing-of-chores is crucial to peace in the home. Fathers Day is largely ignored except the traditional giving-of-ugly-neckties and day off from mowing of the grass. To all these and other Hallmark Holidays I say Bah Humbug! That includes Secretaries Day ....Grandparents Day, Boss' Day, Dogs Day, all of them!

    1. No I had missed your Mother's Day diatribe, but I can tell we are kindred spirits. Hallmark Holiday - that's a good label, one I shall use. And, oh those ghastly gifts, ghastly in part because they result from dutifulness not spontaneity. The best ones are Unbirthday presents.

  3. You have to admit that Fathering Day, rings better than Father's Day. Fathering seems to set a precedent to Father on Sunday, while Father's day, just represents various fathers.

    I'm thinking of the days, before Christianity really took hold when Polygamy was permitted and fathering was a real business. When you read the Old Testament of Father figures with both wives and concubines, it was a serious business. Abraham took seriously the job given to him to populate the world with his descendants.

    Perhaps, Fathering Sunday should be a Celebration of Abraham's fathering abilities.


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