Looking at past posts, it seems I do fairly well at remembering Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is another story. I did write something last year, but that was geared more towards my sons as fathers. This year it’s time to honor my own father. Last month I mentioned three lessons I learned from my mother; here are three I’ve learned from my father.
#1 – The Importance of Unconditional Love
I’m not sure I have a specific example for this; it seems like I’ve just always known that my father truly loves everyone. Because of that I never had any trouble believing that Heavenly Father loves me as well. As a child, my favorite Primary song was “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” and it was never difficult for me to imagine my Heavenly Father being just like my earthly father. I’ve since learned that not everyone feels that way, so I appreciate my father’s example even more.
|A Christmas surprise for my dad in 1977.|
In fact, I guess I do have a specific example. My father has always shown extra special love for my mother – his wife and sweetheart. The one time I remember my dad raising his voice was when one of my foster brothers was being disrespectful to Mom. Several years ago Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is now no longer able to do many of the things she’s always done, like drive and cook. So, Dad has taken over errands along with meal planning and preparation. That wouldn’t be his first choice for a daily activity, but because of his unconditional love for her, he does it. Developing Christlike love starts at home, and then can grow to include others.
#2 – The Importance of Developing Individual Spirituality
I’m so grateful that before I left home, I knew how the Holy Ghost spoke to me*, and most of that can be traced to my dad’s example of reading scriptures (see how this impacted our own family scripture study here), attending church, serving in callings, having family prayer and family home evening, and following the prophet.
|We don’t take pictures in church, but these represent a sample of just a few of his many church callings.|
Decades before it was given, Dad was living these sentences from the Family Proclamation:
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. 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.
|Our “wholesome recreation” including hiking and backpacking!|
#3 – The Importance of Genealogy, Family History and Temple Work
One of those many callings was to serve, with my mom, as Area Family History Consultants (in fact, they were just released this month after many, many years of service), but even before that official calling, I knew that genealogy and temple work were important to Dad.
|Doesn’t it look like they’re reading a giant book of family history? Dad and his parents and brothers in 1959.|
One of my earliest memories is of a Judy coming over on Friday nights to babysit while Mom and Dad went to the temple. It must have been a regular occurrence for me to remember. Once I was old enough, it became my responsibility to babysit for their temple trips.
|The night Holly (front and center) was sealed to our family in the temple.|
|I just had to include this picture because, although it may be a bit rare, Dad does have a silly side.|
Thank you for teaching and leading by example.
|1986 – Mom & Dad – Although without his glasses on he looks quite a bit different.|
* Julie B. Beck: “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” That’s a pretty bold statement, yet I know it’s true. Having that ability makes it possible to do everything else we need to do.
Extra links for your reading pleasure – a post from a few years ago, and a conference talk a few year’s before that.