Father’s Day is here once again. It is a day when we honor the fathers in our lives. Of course, we should give honor to our biological father. We should give honor to any other man who has acted as a father to us. We should give the most honor and glory to our Father in Heaven who watches over each of us every day. Wise men and women understand that fathers are important in our lives and particularly in the lives of children and teens.
Ditta M. Oliker, Ph.D., wrote about “The Importance of Fathers” in an article published by Psychology Today. She quotes from a report in “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being.” The report states, “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surrounds, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.
“The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Fathers spend a higher percentage of their one-to-one interactions with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior.
“Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. The influence of a father’s involvement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievements among adolescents.”
Oliker then asks, “What is the reality these days? There is no question that fathers do play an important part in their children’s lives; that the majority of studies affirm that an involved father can play a crucial role particularly in the cognitive, behavioral and general health and well-being areas of a child’s life; that having a positive male role model helps an adolescent boy develop positive gender-role characteristics; that adolescent girls are more likely to form positive opinions of men and are better able to relate to them when fathered by an involved father; that it is generally accepted, under most circumstances, a father’s presence and involvement can be as crucial to a child’s healthy development as is the mother’s; and that experiencing validation of their importance in the general parenting literature has made fathers much more conscious of their value and, in turn, leads to their greater desire to be involved.”
As Oliker states, fathers are important in the lives of children from the time they are born. An involved father has a great impact in the life of his child or children. This impact is felt both emotionally and socially. Fathers teach values and principles that are difficult for mothers to teach.
In a General Conference talk given in October 1987 and titled “To the Father in Israel,” President Ezra Taft Benson explained that fatherhood is an “eternal calling from which you are never released… and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity.”
President Benson then quoted President Harold B. Lee. Whenever a prophet quotes another prophet, we should pay extra attention to the counsel. President Lee said that “the most important of the Lord’s work that you [fathers] will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home. [Other] Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of our home.”
Then President Benson then gave “two basic responsibilities” that belong to every father “within the sacred walls of his home.” They are: (1) the “sacred responsibility to provide for the material needs of our family” and
(2) the “sacred responsibility to provide spiritual leadership in your family.”
Fatherhood is a divinely appointed responsibility that lasts throughout the mortal existence and into eternity. Fathers, particularly involved fathers, deserve honor, love, and respect.
I am blessed to have an involved father. He was not a perfect man, but he did the best he could with the circumstances he had. He taught the importance of work, honest, integrity, and many other principles to my siblings and me. He worked hard to provide for my mother and their twelve children. I miss being able to go to him for counsel, and I look forward to associating with him once again in the next life. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!