Father’s day the last few years has meant two things for me. First, I think of my own father and the things I have observed in his life and the things I have learned from him. And when I think of my father, I am reminded that I have actually been closer to my mother. Not that my father and I aren’t close, or that there are any problems between us in the stereotypical daddy-issues way, but I have always had more in common with my mother than with my father. But, despite not having common interests, like cars or mechanics, which he shared with my brothers, my dad and I found things we enjoyed together. As I started getting involved with drama and theater in school I started enjoying watching and discussing the old movies with him that he loved. Though, I remember when I told him that I had a part in the school play, The Taming of the Shrew that he mentioned that he didn’t like the play, which he probably knew from the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton film. But, despite that, he took an evening off work (he worked nights) and came to see me, though I only had a dozen lines only in the first ten minutes of the play. He endured Shakespeare because he wanted to support me. I have never forgotten.
And though he worked nights and his schedule meant that we only saw him on weekends, since he woke up after we left for school and left for work before we came home and he came home after we were in bed, he still made it clear that he was our father and was involved in our lives. We left notes for him all the time with our school papers for him to see when he got home from work. And we knew we were really in trouble when mom said she was writing dad a note about what we had done.
What I learned from my dad is that being a father is an incredibly important commitment and a huge sacrifice of personal interests in favor of what the family needs and wants. Which is the second thing that Father’s day means to me, at least these last five years – What kind of father am I? I must admit that I am not always the best dad, I know I have my flaws, but my son seems beautifully able to see past all of that and love me as his father. I lose my patience with him too often, but he always comes back to me wanting to play and talk and do things with me.
So, on this Father’s day morning I remember my own father and I will strive to be the father that my Father in Heaven wants me to become. I will try to be more humble and patient and more full of love and more willing to sacrifice personal pleasure for true joy and happiness with my family. That is what this life is all about, that is the great Plan of Happiness our God has given us – to perfect our families through love and sacrifice and keeping the commandments and covenants he has given us. He is the greatest example of a righteous father and the fact that of all titles or names that rightfully belong to him he has chosen to be called Father teaches us a great deal about His nature but also about the importance of the role of fathers.
Fathers, do more and be more and show more love for your families. Children, learn more and listen more and show more love for your fathers.
Happy Father’s Day.
“We call on all fathers to do better and to be better. We call on media and entertainment outlets to portray devoted and capable fathers who truly love their wives and intelligently guide their children, instead of the bumblers and buffoons or “the guys who cause problems,” as fathers are all too frequently depicted.
“To my brethren, the fathers, I say, I know you wish you were a more perfect father. I know I wish I were. Even so, despite our limitations, let us press on. Let us lay aside the exaggerated notions of individualism and autonomy in today’s culture and think first of the happiness and well-being of others. Surely, despite our inadequacies, our Heavenly Father will magnify us and cause our simple efforts to bear fruit.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles