Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: fathers

The Influence of a Dad

A dad in a fishing boat with two little boys
Many years ago, when my oldest son, Kevin, was a little boy, I used to tell him over and over that his daddy was a really good man.

One day we were looking at the Ensign, at the picture of the general authorities. I said, “These are pictures of really righteous men.” Kevin immediately asked, “Where’s Dad’s picture?” He had the right idea. Even though Dad is not a general authority, his picture could be with theirs in terms of being a good, righteous man.

There is no substitute for a good, righteous dad. All kids learn from their fathers, even if they are absent or part-time. The good news about this is that if you are a hands-on kind of dad, you can teach your children all they need to know, mostly by example!

When I was little I used to spend a lot of time with my dad. I would go to his store in Arnold, Nebraska, and he would give me little jobs to do. One of my earliest jobs was to fill the peanut machine. Then, I graduated to stocking the pop machine. Sometimes I would “get” to sweep the floor (using sawdust and a push broom). As I got older he let me answer the phone or run errands for him. As a sixteen-year-old, he let me drive a car (that belonged to a dealer) all the way home from Omaha (five hours away) all by myself. (Too bad he forgot to teach me to check the gas gauge and I ran out of gas 10 miles south of town!!!)

There is no substitute for a hands-on dad. I appreciate the time and effort my own husband put in to raising our children. I remember him reading stories at bedtime, playing catch, going golfing, trying to style girls’ hair, making pinewood derby cars, going camping, finding children who ran away, giving blessings . . . the list goes on and on.

There is one common trait that made both men great fathers: they were willing to spend time with their children. There’s a popular idea floating around that quality time is what counts. This is a lie. There is no such thing as quality time. There’s only quality moments that randomly occur when you spend quantity time together! You never know when those moments will happen. They show up almost by accident, when you least expect it.

Today, dads are often treated poorly in the media. They are portrayed as unnecessary at best and bumbling buffoons at worst. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dads are important in every child’s life. Their influence (for good or bad) is lasting and of great import. If you are a dad, step back and look at where you are spending your time and your talents. If you don’t feel like it’s with your family, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. If you’re not a dad, take time to think about the influence your own father had on you, and spend some time calling, visiting, and thanking him for all the sacrifices he made for you.

By Phyllis Rosen

Sabbath Message: The Role of Parents

two-thousand-stripling-warriorsWhen I was young, my mother showed me a verse in the Book of Mormon that had always meant a lot to her, and that she considered to be her goal in life. It is a verse well known throughout the Church, and is found in Alma 56:47-48:

“47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”

I have always loved these verses, especially because I believe my mother achieved her goal in life, which was to teach my sister and me to trust in God and believe that He would always be there.

However, as important as my mother has been and always will be, I am also very grateful to have a loving and supporting father. In the same chapter in Alma, we find another verse that I think is sometimes overlooked. In verse 27 it reads,

“And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons.”

I love this verse because it shows that the stripling warriors were not fatherless; rather, their fathers were out doing their job, providing for their families. The pattern here is perfectly in line with the pattern set forth by the modern prophets and apostles: the primary role of the father is to provide and protect the family, and the primary role of the mother is to teach and nurture the children in love and righteousness.mother and girl

 

Together, as equals, the mother and father carry the responsibility to raise the family in the Gospel, teaching them to love God and keep His commandments. The blessings and protection of God were clearly witnessed in the lives of the stripling warriors, as a direct result of their obedience. This obedience was produced by the righteous teachings of their parents, meaning that when families remain true to God, He remains true to them.

—Kimball Gardner, Stance