On this holiday, millions of words will be unleashed about fatherhood, stressing the need for strong dads in two-parent families.
But here's a completely different point of view: Remember the Founding Fathers who risked their lives to create the first modern democracy, the United States of America. Their struggle was fatherhood not of children but of an experimental new nation.
During the period when mutiny brewed in the 13 Colonies, England was the world's strongest superpower with a mighty army and navy. In addition, great numbers of American colonials, especially richer ones, were quite loyal to Britain's king. Their sons enlisted as redcoats. (The Revolution sometimes is called America's "first civil war" because so many colonials fought on the British side, especially in the south.)
Against such odds, it was hazardous for breakaway radicals to support revolution. Each Founding Father risked execution. But they were driven by a vision of government of the people, by the people, for the people -- unsubmissive to kings.
Many founders were educated thinkers and studied Enlightenment writers like John Locke, who declared that kings had no divine right to rule, but that free-speaking people should choose their own leaders, and that government should keep its hands off religion. They also studied Baron de Montesquieu, who wrote that government should have a balance of powers between executive, legislative and judicial branches. The Founding Fathers were eager to launch a remarkable new democracy based on such premises.
Thomas Paine fired up colonial people with brilliant exhortations for independence, envisioning innovations such as public schools. Thomas Jefferson used his immense intellect to craft the language of the rebellion. George Washington commanded outnumbered volunteer troops in a David-versus-Goliath struggle against powerful England.
Although majority rule became the heart of the new democracy, a lesser-known founder, George Mason, championed a Bill of Rights to protect each individual from the majority. His crusade led to the first 10 amendments guaranteeing everyone a right to speak and write freely and worship as they please, along with other personal freedoms, regardless of what the majority decrees.
All these founders were fathers, not just of children, but of a breakthrough in the development of civilization. That's something to consider on Fathers Day.