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Today, as I was driving home from church, I began to think about my plans for Mothers' Day. For me, it would involve a trip to the local cemetery where mine is buried just to give her my wishes in person. I'd only have to go back the next month, June, in order to return to the same grave to give my Dad his wishes as well on Fathers' Day. Without a question, both days are going to be extremely difficult.
I have often wondered why there was no Parents' Day. I did some research and found out—lo and behold—there IS a Parents' Day. According to Wikipedia, "Parents' Day is observed in South Korea (May 8) and in the United States (fourth Sunday of July). The South Korean designation was established in 1973, replacing the Mother's Day previously marked on May 8, and includes public and private celebrations. The United States day was created in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. June 1 has also been proclaimed as "Global Day of Parents" by the United Nations as a mark of appreciation for the commitment of parents towards their children. In the Philippines, while it is not strictly observed or celebrated, first Monday of December each year is proclaimed as Parents' Day."
Very confusing? It sure is. Not only that, I also wondered why the day is not widely celebrated or as well known as Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. That is not to say that the first two days are not important. They most certainly are. It is just that Parent's Day is treated as a national secret. Although I am not a parent, I was quite surprised to find out during my research that it actually does exist.
The Greeks identified seven types of love. Neel Burton M.D. (Psychology Today.com, posted Jun 25, 2016), writes that, "Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Storge (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy."
So, we go back to my original question: How come it is not widely known as the other days?
Honestly, I do not know.
What I do know is that it needs to be known. It needs to be broadcast in some way, shape, and form. It needs to be celebrated. Parents' Day needs to be marked on EVERY calendar we can find.
Being a parent is far different than being a sperm donor and a sperm receiver. It involves the acceptance of responsibility and the exchange of love between parents and child (storge). It is a love that goes both ways, not one way. It involves keeping a commitment to a child who will hopefully develop into a responsible and mature adult. It requires guiding that young life. It also requires an unwavering dedication. A parent's love is ALWAYS unconditional. It is not contingent upon anything at all. This is why some parents have a harsh time issuing strict punishments. It's correct that it hurts the parent more than it hurts the child. It is not easy. This is NOT an argument for the elimination of Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. No. We need to keep both days. I am simply saying that we need to elevate Parents' Day to the same level as the first two days.
What people fail to understand is that we celebrate teams. Parents make up a team. We are talking about two people—generally a male and a female—who express their love to each other. They elevate that relationship to the level of a husband and wife. They may continue that level to the point where they become a father and a mother. Even at that level, they make sure that there is another distinction. The author Anne Geddes said, "Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad." Because that is true, we can extend it for the female gender by saying that any woman can be a mother, but it takes a special woman to be a Mom. Finally, we can extrapolate that concept and say that any two people can be parents, but it takes a special couple who can be called a Mom and a Dad.
With all of that being said, being a parent is probably the toughest job in the world, bar none. First of all, when parenthood starts, there is no timecard to punch in and punch out. When someone becomes a parent, they are a parent 24/7/365. with no end. When one becomes a parent, they automatically enter into an assumed agreement with their very first child and every child thereafter that they (the parent) will commit themselves to helping their child to deal with whatever life deals them. The parent will clothe, feed, nurture and, most importantly, love the child unconditionally. This is the unwritten law of parenthood.
Parents must set the example of good behavior for their children. Excellent parents do this. Does that mean that they are perfect? No. But it does mean that they will always try their best. They will make mistakes, but they will learn from their mistakes and try not to make those mistakes again. That is what makes them excellent parents.
These are the people who need to be feted each year on their very special day. Face it. A sports team has a season to work through in order to be the champion of their sport. A parent's season is all year long. They have to win their championship each and every day. When a sports team wins their championship, their city may throw a parade or some other celebration in that team's honor. True parents don't get a parade or any city celebration. They are sometimes barely a footnote in someone's day. That is why we don't see the same elevated level of Parent's Day.
I am not a parent. It is a tough job and I would never be up to the challenge to be a good parent. Therefore, I chose to not enter into the life of parenthood. There are people who are far better than I am to be parents.
So, I am back in my car. I am thinking about my parents–my Mom and Dad. They were two special people. They raised a family. They gave unconditional love to all of us. It resulted in an extension of our family as they saw grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That was their reward for a job extremely well done. And now, my parents are definitely gone, but definitely not forgotten.
The fourth Sunday of July may officially be Parent's Day, but this author chooses to celebrate it EVERY day.