Father’s Day will be unique this year since the worldwide pandemic continues to disrupt our lives and inhibit our mobility.

Although some stay at home advisories are still in effect, 75 percent of Americans will celebrate fathers in some fashion, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. The survey found that for the first time 58 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Father’s Day virtually via Zoom and other web conferencing platforms.

Since fathers traditionally are the primary breadwinners, spiritual leaders, and along with mothers our first teachers—for which we are thankful— Father’s Day is the perfect time to honor them.

The survey determined that Americans would spend $17 billion on gifts, with individual spending averaging $148.58. Westerners spend the most on gifts—$159.89. Thirty-six percent of U.S. consumers look for gifts that are unique, with those in the Northeast listing this as their priority more than others. As well, consumers in the Midwest and South, more than others, prefer giving gifts that evoke special memories.

Unlike Mother’s Day, when most restaurants were closed, fathers will be able to celebrate their special day by dining out in many cities. Remarkably, to make up for Mother’s Day, some restaurants have created special menus for both parents on Father‘s Day. For example the New York Grill in Ontario, CA will offer A Celebration of Family Brunch honoring mothers and fathers, “since Mom’s didn’t get taken out for Mother’s Day,” per its website.

Lately, I have observed my father Hosie L. Thomas Sr., 83, take extra care of my mother. As seniors, they are advised to isolate more than others to protect them from the virus that caused the pandemic, known as COVID-19, which I refer to as ‘no-vic COVID’ to emphasize that it has no victory over us. To enjoy staying home more than usual they challenge each other to computer games, and Dad helps Mom who is 80-years-old with her mask-making enterprise.

Observing my father’s care for my mother reminds me of how well he raised and cared for my brothers, his first grandson, and me. He admits that parenthood was difficult at first because he didn‘t have a steady job. Once he was hired into what would become his 38-year career, he thoroughly enjoyed parenting knowing that he could take care of his family. He said the diverse personalities of his four children made parenting exciting, and he feels blessed to have seen them reach adulthood.

There was a smile in his voice when he recalled his favorite fatherhood experiences. They were his annual spring break campouts when he took his sons, their friends, and his nephews on weeklong outings where he particularly enjoyed riding dirt bikes with them.

Pondering fatherhood led me to rejoice as I think about our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love for us. Coinciding with our national celebration, below are my tributes to three exemplary men.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers.

Hosie L. Thomas Sr., United States Army Veteran, Victorville, CA

Hosie L. Thomas Sr., Sheryl Lynne Thomas-Perkins

Dad, you amaze me as you continuously share your wisdom and are never without sound advice-solicited or not. It has been a joy watching you grow in grace to become a cool, scripture quoting man of God. Thanks for consistently encouraging us to stay home and to remain faithful. I thank God for blessing me with an extraordinary father and provider who is a great role model for men in our family—who say so. I greatly admire your patience and strength as you masterfully manage your life, often against tremendous odds. I love you and cherish opportunities to thank you for taking such good care of me, hoping that you know how much you mean to me. 

Allen Carter, Author and Speaker, Newbury Park, CA

Allen and his daughters.

Allen, as you know, you and your beloved are a special gift from God since my birth, and I know that you are a loved and respected father.  I always enjoy your monologues, as you never fail to share thought-provoking stories. It’s wonderful that you still enjoy fatherhood, caring for your offspring who you say are “angels whom God entrusted (to you).” I pray that you have more experiences as equally enjoyable as your favorite fatherhood memory when you first laid eyes on your first child. You said that he looked back at you, “and his eyes and big smile seemed to say, ‘Hi dad!’”

Dr. Jon Vincent Thomas, Minneapolis, Minn.

Zach, Dr. Jon Thomas, and-Avi

Dear Vincent, as my immediate younger brother you have always been special because I became a ‘Big Sister’ for the first time when you were born. Since that time we’ve shared a lot of good times, including your surprise Atlanta visit and our countless deep adult discussions. I still marvel at your quick wit, astonishing insight, intellect, and the way you dance. (I promise not to elaborate on the latter point.) The way you manage your life, including running marathons—while managing a successful surgical career–along with parenting a young adult and two teenagers is beyond belief, even with your spouse’s help. It’s a blessing to see how you love your children, too, which I know our father inspires. You know I love you. I pray that you continue to thrive. 

Sheryl Lynne Thomas-Perkins is an award-winning writer whose writing career began when she worked as a columnist for the A.C.C. News (A Corporation for Christ), where she won multiple awards for her heartfelt features and coverage of the Los Angeles church scene and ministry in general. She received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California, and A Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Over the past 35 years, she has been published in USA TODAY, The Los Angeles Times, The Victorville Daily Press, the L.A. Watts Times, the Atlanta Tribune, the Atlanta Daily World, and numerous other publications.
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