This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. The holiday was born 103 years ago as the dream of a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd’s father, William, was a Civil War veteran who raised six children (Sonora and her five brothers) on his own after his wife passed away.

Dodd had seen the idea of Mother’s Day catch on, and, inspired by her own dad, decided there should be a day dedicated to fathers, too. On July 19, 1910, her idea started to become a reality when Washington held the first statewide Father’s Day. President Calvin Coolidge encouraged celebration of the holiday in the 1920s, and Lyndon Johnson made an official proclamation honoring dads in 1966. Six years later, years of hard work -- on the part of Dodd and many others -- finally paid off when Richard Nixon made Father’s Day an official national holiday.

Tonight, let’s talk about the roles dads play in our lives -- and why they’re so worth celebrating.

Questions for discussion:
  • What are you planning for Father’s Day this year?
  • Why do you think it took so long for Father’s Day to catch on?
  • What’s one holiday you would add to the calendar if you could?


In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” - Umberto Eco

  • “Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.” – Jon Stewart

  • "Above all, children need our unconditional love, whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough." -President Obama

  • “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

  • “The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.” – John Green

  • "A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he's in there, as if he needed company." - Bill Cosby

  • "You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero." -Stanley T. Banks, Father of the Bride

  • "Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That's hard enough." -Robert Downey Jr.

  • “It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” — Anne Sexton

  • "I thought I would be more inspired to have all these new feelings to talk about, but I really just want to hang out with my daughter." Jay-Z

  • “We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.” - Henry Ward Beecher

  • “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” - Charles Wadsworth

  • "Having a staring contest with a newborn is one of the weirdest things you will ever do. And it is highly recommended." -Ross McCammon

  • “I think once I fail enough as a dad, I'll be looking for help wherever I can get it. I just need enough time to screw things up and then I'll start looking to TV dads for advice.” - Ty Burrell

  • "The reward of child rearing is spending the rest of your life proudly knowing this person you helped guide. Let him be himself." -Mike Sager

  • "I want my son to wear a helmet 24 hours a day." - Will Arnett

  • "This is my most important role. If I fail at this, I fail at everything." -Mark Wahlberg

  • "It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping."- John Sinor

  • “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” – Harry S. Truman

  • "It is much easier to become a father than to be one." -Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man

  • "Lately all my friends are worried that they're turning into their fathers. I'm worried that I'm not." -Dan Zevin

  • "Few sons are like their fathers - many are worse, few better." -Homer, The Odyssey

  • "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. "-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

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