I have written many times about the importance of fathers and was recently reminded of their value in our lives. We have a Father in Heaven could have been called by any name He chose, and He chose to be called Father. This, to me, is a critical witness of the value of fathers and fatherhood.
We bestow the title of “father” on numerous and worthy individuals. Father Adam, George Washington as Father of our Country, and James Madison as the Father of the Constitution are just a few of them so honored. Yet, the same title of “father” is given to most men.
Fathers are essential to God’s plan for the eternal happiness of His children. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about fathers at the April 2016 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and raised a voice of encouragement for those who are striving to fill well [the] calling” of father.
Elder Christofferson quotes David Blankenhorn, the author of Fatherless America. The author observed, “Today, American society is fundamentally divided and ambivalent about the fatherhood idea. Some people do not even remember it. Others are offended by it. Others, including more than a few family scholars, neglect it or disdain it. Many others are not especially opposed to it, nor are they especially committed to it. Many people wish we could act on it, but believe that our society simply no longer can or will.”
Then Elder Christofferson states, “As a Church, we believe in fathers. We believe in `the ideal of the man who puts his family first.’ We believe that `by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.’ We believe that in their complementary family duties, `fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.’ We believe that far from being superfluous, fathers are unique and irreplaceable….
“Perhaps the most essential of a father’s work is to turn the hearts of his children to their Heavenly Father. If by his example as well as his words a father can demonstrate what fidelity to God looks like in day-to-day living, that father will have given his children the key to peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. A father who reads scripture to and with his children acquaints them with the voice of the Lord….
“Loving the mother of his children – and showing that love – are two of the best things a father can do for his children. This reaffirms and strengthens the marriage that is the foundation of their family life and security.”
Toward the end of his talk Elder Christofferson shares Julian Dyke’s story about his father that appeared in the New Era [in October 1994]. Every morning before he left for work, the father would stand by his sleeping son and pray for him. The boy was aware of the prayers and was somewhat embarrassed by them.
“At first, I didn’t really understand what my dad was doing those mornings when he prayed for me. But as I got older, I came to sense his love and interest in me and everything I was doing. It is one of my favorite memories. It wasn’t until years later, after I was married, had children of my own, and would go into their rooms while they were asleep and pray for them that I understood completely how my father felt about me.”
Children who are reared by the type of father shown in the story above are very blessed. I had such a father, and I grew to appreciate him more and more as I grew up and become a parent. I am grateful that my grandchildren are being reared by this type of father. My sons by birth and marriage are true fathers to their children, and their influence shows in the children’s lives and in the family as a whole. Thank you!
To close this post, I want to share again this video titled “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.” I encourage you to watch it often to understand the importance of fathers in our homes.