Emma Loftin-Woods became a parent for the second time when she was 46.
After raising her two daughters to adulthood, Ms. Loftin-Woods found herself responsible for her two young grandchildren who were born addicted to drugs.
Today, 17-year-old Sean is excited about getting his driver’s license. His younger sister Jamalia, 16, is an aspiring actress. And Ms. Loftin-Woods, 63, is the proud recipient of an Excellence in Parenting Award — one of hundreds of honors bestowed on deserving mothers and fathers as part of National Parents Day.
“Parents Day is every day,” said Ms. Loftin-Woods, who lives in Yonkers, N.Y. “Even though I’m a grandparent, I’m still in a parenting role. I do make mistakes, and yes it is challenging, but I’ve learned that family is the greatest expression of God’s love.”
National Parents Day began in 1994, when former President Bill Clinton signed a bill establishing “the fourth Sunday of every July as ‘Parents Day’ to be recognized as a recurring, perennial day of commemoration.”
The resolution instructed celebrations at both the state and local level “to recognize Parents Day through proclamations, activities, and educational efforts in furtherance of recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”
The National Parents Day Coalition, which promotes the annual celebration, is part of the American Family Coalition, which was started by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of The Washington Times.
“It takes fathers and mothers together raising children, to bring about healthy families,” said Jim Gavin, president of the Universal Peace Federation USA, which also promotes National Parents Day. The peace federation was also started by Moon.
“We want to celebrate the joint effort of fathers and mothers working to raise great families,” he added.
“Nobody owns Parents Day,” Mr. Gavin explained. “Because it’s a national holiday, just like the Fourth of July, it’s celebrated in cities and states and all over the place.”
Various Parents Day celebrations are scheduled for the weekend, while others have already been held across the country. Last weekend, awards for Parents of the Year in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were handed out, including the excellence award for Ms. Loftin-Woods.
Ms. Loftin-Woods, who is an evangelical minister, was widowed 10 years ago. Along with raising her two grandchildren on her own, she’s also been a part of the lives of her four other grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She spends her free time volunteering with fellow ministers to build their churches.
Ms. Loftin-Woods was chairwoman of the Parents Day celebration in Yonkers for two years and was nominated by fellow board members. She said it was important to recognize single parents as well as two-parent families.
“You’re going to have your problems and ups and downs. Human nature does that,” she said. “But overall there’s nothing more beautiful than a family.”