We commemorate Father’s Day on Sunday, the third Sunday in June. Father’s Day was created to compliment Mother’s Day and to honor fathers and fatherhood as we honor mothers and motherhood. On this day we will honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood; we will also recognize paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in our society.
Fathers hold an important role in our society, but the influence of fathers in our society is fading. Wise people understand that being a father is much more than being a sperm donor, but not all of us are wise.
Dr. Liz Hale is a licensed clinical psychologist; she said that parents can give children four things that they need in order to thrive and develop. She calls these four things the “Four T’s.”
Time: “When you spend a lot of time with a child, they get this message that `Wow, I must be really important to my dad.’”
Touch: “Don’t be afraid to touch and hug. You know, do `Atta boys’ for your sons, tussle their hair.”
Talk: “Be willing to talk to your child. Also, be willing to be quiet. We can’t understand a child by talking to them. We understand by them talking to us, so have a back-and-forth conversation.”
Truth: “Their peers will not tell them the truth about drugs, alcohol, premarital sex even. Be willing to share your values, whatever those values are. But, tell the truth so they can always depend on you to give them the straight scoop.”
Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, then serving as President of the First Council of the Seventy, said, “Fathers, draw close to your children. Learn to communicate. Learn to listen. This means giving a father’s most valuable commodity – time! Only good results occur when a father interviews his sons and daughters regularly. He can know their problems and their hopes. He can align himself with them as their unconditional friend. To the extent we become friends with our children in unconditional love, to that extent we become like our Heavenly Father.”
Elder Tuttle told the story of “an elementary teacher who had students write essays in hopes that it would motivate the fathers to attend a PTA meeting. The fathers came in $4,000 cars and $400 cars – bank president, laborer, clerk, salesman, meter reader, baker, etc. – `every man with a definite estimate of himself in terms of money, skill, and righteousness or looks….’ The children’s essays were read at random.
“`I like my daddy, … he built my doll house, took me coasting, taught me to shoot, helps with my schoolwork, takes me to the park, gave me a pig to fatten and sell.’ Scores of the essays could be reduced in essence to: `I like my daddy. He plays with me.’
“Not one child mentioned his family house, car, neighborhood, food, or clothing.
“The fathers went into the meeting from many walks of life; they came out in two classes: companions to their children or strangers to their children.” (“The Savior, the Priesthood, and You,” Melchizedek Priesthood quorums’ course of study for 1973-74, p. 226).