Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when all of us understand the calling of any father is for both time and eternity and there is no higher calling for men. Fathers are to provide spiritual leadership in their families.
A recent lesson in Relief Society discussed the sacred callings of fathers and mothers from the teachings of President Ezra Taft Benson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Benson told fathers, “…you have a sacred responsibility to provide spiritual leadership in your family.” He then repeated a statement from a pamphlet published in 1973 by the Council of the Twelve, “Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance land counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home” (Father, Consider Your Ways, 4-5).
President Benson suggested ten specific ways fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children: (1) “Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.”
(2) “Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.”
(3) “Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.”
(4) “Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children….”
(5) “Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.”
(6) “Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.”
(7) “Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal…. "
(8) “Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of our children forever.”
(9) “As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.”
(10) “Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”
I found the discussion very interesting. I was particularly impressed on how young mothers help their husbands to interact with their children in more ways. Several mothers shared how their husbands put their children to bed each night by helping their children with their prayers and reading bedtime stories to them. This special time is called “Daddy time” and is special to both fathers and children. I wish I had been wise enough to involve my husband more in such things because I believe family relationships could have been much different.