Sunday, September 2, 2012

Follow Fatherhood Forever on Facebook

Mormon Fathers is now Fatherhood Forever on Facebook. Why?

  • Simplicity & Flexibility - a lot less time consuming, more personal, and much easier. Plus, I can do it from my phone and on the go!
  • Reach - readership of blogs is down. Facebook allows access to a much broader and diverse audience. While the purpose hasn't changed, I'd like to reach a more diverse audience (non-lds).

Fatherhood is a divinely appointed role that lasts forever and its impact is beyond our capacity to comprehend or foresee. The purpose of Fatherhood Forever is to form a community to help one another become the best fathers we can be by sharing experiences, thoughts, and ideas. I also hope we can inspire our young men to prepare for the most important role in life and our young women to seek for the best in a future husband and help our boys become such.


Visit us and give us your 'Like'

Thank you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Special Interview: What Two Little Girls Think About Their Daddy!

Sabey & Camille
Recently I had an unplanned opportunity to converse with two young girls about their dads. One of them was Camille (7 at the time and almost 8) my only girl. The other little girl was her cousin Sabey (who had turned 8 recently).

While the same questions will no doubt elicit different answers from different young children, I think it is interesting to know how children perceive things. Here is my conversation, followed by a special treat they agreed to sing for me.

MF: Why do you love your daddy?
S: Because he is nice to me.
C: Because he has money to buy us food.
S: I also like my daddy because he helps us make dinner.
C: I like my daddy because he cares for me.

MF: What is something funny about your dad?
S: My daddy is funny because he says that all of us (his children) have to have 100 spankings a day, and when we do something fun, he says "remember the rules, no fun allowed!"
C: My dad is funny because whenever he sneezes, he sneezes a lot of times, like maybe 5 or 6 times!
S: What else is funny about my dad is that he sneezes really loud and when my little brother was a little baby, he cried when my dad sneezed.
C: My dad is also funny because he chases us around the house.

MF: So, when your dad makes something to eat, what is your favorite thing he makes?
C: My favorite thing that he makes is quesadillas.
S: My favorite thing that my dad makes is puffy pancakes (German pancakes), even though it takes about an hour to make, I think it's really good.

MF: What is one of your favorite memories with your dad?
C: One of my favorite memories is when my dad and I went on a daddy/daughter date to a restaurant in Mexico.
S: My favorite memory of my dad is when he baptized me. Also, on our first daddy/daughter date, we went to my girl dance.

MF: If your dad were a super hero, what would he be?
Neither could answer the question. So I guess you know what that means!

MF: What is your dad really good at?
C: At making me laugh by tickling me and saying funny things and hmm, by...
S: My dad is really good at making laugh because he chases me around the house and tickling me.

MF: What is your dad really bad at?
S: My dad is REALLY bad at doing my hair (fast answer!). My dad is also really bad at doing ballet (laughter from both girls!)
C: My dad is really bad at remembering things...yes.

MF: If your dad were an animal what animal would he be?
C: My dad would be a horse because I love horses and I love to ride a horse.
S: If my dad were an animal he would be a fish because he likes to go fishing and loves to fish!

MF: Why is your dad awesome?
S: My dad is awesome because he is very funny and I he makes me laugh a lot and I like to laugh.
C: My dad is the awesomest dad because he likes to do interviews with me and I love it! It's so fun!

Needless to say...this was a choice experience! To end this post, here they sing one of my favorite primary songs: "Daddy's Homecoming"

Fathers in the Scriptures: King Benjamin

King Benjamin was probably the best or one of the best kings in recorded scripture. It is interesting that the first thing that Mormon highlights about this King was his teachings as a father to his sons (Mosiah, Helorum, and Helaman). What did he teach them (see Mosiah chapters 1 and 2)?
  • His language (1:2)
  • About prophecies of their fathers (1:2)
  • Concerning the records or scriptures in the plates of brass (1:3)
  • About the commandments they were supposed to keep and the promised blessings (1:3, 7)
  • The mysteries of God (1:3, 5)
  • His testimony of these things (1:6)
Given other contextual information in this chapter, it is safe to assume he also taught his sons about covenants (1:11-13), the importance of temples (1:18, 2:1), sacrifice (2:3), family values (2:5-6), and service to others (2:17) among other principles.

So, what is the lesson? Whether we are kings or paupers, above our profession or vocation, our most important role next to being righteous husbands, is that of a father. Ours is the responsibility to teach our children just as this good king and excellent father did.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fathers in the Scriptures

In the scriptures we find many examples of fatherhood. Who are the fathers in the scriptures? What can we learn from these fathers? How can we benefit from their examples?

Below is a incomplete list of fathers (literally what I could come up off the top of my head). I'd like to explore specific examples of fathers and gleaned lessons for us today.

Please add to this list and if you have specific lessons from a father in the scriptures, please feel free to submit it for posting.

Book of Mormon

  • Alma (the elder)
  • Alma the younger
  • Jacob
  • Lehi
  • Mormon
  • Nephi 
  • Mosiah
  • King Benjamin
  • Enos
  • Helaman
  • Others?

Old Testament/Pearl of Great Price

  • Adam
  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Jethro
  • Isaiah
  • Eli
  • Others?

New Testament

  • Joseph
  • Father of young boy possessed by a demon
  • Father of the prodigal son
  • Others?

Doctrine & Convenants
  • Joseph
  • Hyrum
  • Others?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fathers & Duty to God

The Duty to God program for the our teenage sons is a critical aspect of their spiritual, emotional, and physical development. This video is inspirational.

The question can fathers best help their sons get interested and engaged in this inspired program? I am in as much need of help as anyone (ask my sons!), but here are some ideas...
  1. Include DTG progress as a regular item of discussion during Family Home Evenings. Set goals and follow up on previous accomplishments. Make the FHE topic related to what your son is studying or applying.
  2. Take advantage of Sunday drives to collect fast offerings or do home teaching and discuss specific items or activities they are or should be working on.
  3. Attend their Sunday quorum meeting or mutual activity to know how what they are doing as a quorum and find ways to coordinate your father/son work accordingly.
  4. Get your own DTG booklet and go through it with your son. Example is the best teacher!
I need to improve in this important father responsibility and would love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fatherhood Lessons From General Conference

General Conference is always a wonderful time for fathers to receive instruction. Here are some timely lessons I found pertinent for fathers from the April 2012 General Conference. If you would like to share other lessons I may have not caught, please do so!

President Boyd K. Packer (And a Little Child Shall Lead Them)

Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children...One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.”

Sister Cheryl A. Esplin (Teaching Our Children to Understand)
This divine privilege of raising our children is a much greater responsibility than we can do alone, without the Lord’s help. He knows exactly what our children need to know, what they need to do, and what they need to be to come back into His presence. He gives mothers and fathers specific instruction and guidance through the scriptures, His prophets, and the Holy Ghost.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (The Laborers in the Vineyard)
I especially make an appeal for husbands and, as Lehi said, “Awake! and arise from the dust … and be men.” Not always but often it is the men who choose not to answer the call to “come join the ranks.” ...Brethren, step up.

Elder Robert D. Hales (Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service)
Fathers, priesthood leaders, and quorum presidencies have a special responsibility to help Aaronic Priesthood holders earnestly prepare to perform their sacred sacrament duties. This preparation is made throughout the week by living gospel standards.

Elder David S. Baxter (Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents)

Members and leaders, is there more that you could do to support single-parent families without passing judgment or casting aspersions? Might you mentor young people in these families, especially providing for young men examples of what good men do and how good men live? In the absence of fathers, are you providing role models worthy of emulation?

Now, there are, of course, some single families where it is the father who is the single parent. Brethren, we also pray for you and pay tribute to you. This message is also for you.

Elder Quentin L. Cook (In Tune with the Music of Faith)
Religious observance in the home blesses our families. Example is particularly important. What we are speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say...We know that family scripture study and family home evenings are not always perfect. Regardless of the challenges you face, do not become discouraged.

Elder David A. Bednar (The Powers of Heaven)
Brethren, for a boy or a man to receive priesthood authority but neglect to do what is necessary to qualify for priesthood power is unacceptable to the Lord. Priesthood holders young and old need both authority and power—the necessary permission and the spiritual capacity to represent God in the work of salvation.

Many wives are pleading for husbands who have not only priesthood authority but also priesthood power. They yearn to be equally yoked with a faithful husband and priesthood companion in the work of creating a Christ-centered and gospel-focused home.

President Henry B. Eyring (Families Under Covenant)

Let me suggest four things you can do as a priesthood father to lift and lead your family home again to be with Heavenly Father and the Savior.

  1. First, gain and keep a sure witness that the keys of the priesthood are with us and held by the President of the Church. Pray for that every day. 
  2. The second imperative is to love your wife. It will take faith and humility to put her interests above your own in the struggles of life...I promise you that your love for her will increase.
  3. Third, enlist the entire family to love each other. President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. …“Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best.”
  4. The fourth opportunity to lead your family in the Lord’s way comes when discipline is needed. We can meet our obligation to correct in the Lord’s way and then lead our children toward eternal life.
Elder M. Russell Ballard (That the Lost May be Found)

So what can we do to not become lost? 

  1. First, may I suggest that we prioritize. Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. 
  2. Second, we need to do things in the right order! Marriage first and then family. Too many in the world have forgotten this natural order of things and think they can change it or even reverse it. Remove any of your fear with faith. Trust the power of God to guide you.
  3. Third, husbands and wives, you should be equal partners in your marriage. Read often and understand the proclamation on the family and follow it. Avoid unrighteous dominion in any form. 
  4. And finally, use the family resources of the Church. In raising children, families can draw upon the help of the ward. Support and work in tandem with priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and take full advantage of the Church’s youth and family programs. 

Elder Larry Y. Wilson (Only upon the Principles of Righteousness)
We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent...Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opportunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly. And yes, this means children will sometimes make mistakes and learn from them.

Elder Neil L. Andersen (What Thinks Christ of Me?)
Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?”2 In the final assessment, our personal discipleship will not be judged by friends or foes. Rather, as Paul said, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”3 At that day the important question for each of us will be, “What thinks Christ of me?”

President Thomas S. Monson (As We Close This Conference)
My dear brothers and sisters, may your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families. If there are disagreements or contentions among you, I urge you to settle them now. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Badge of Honor

A badge of honor is a medal or a token that signifies an awarded honor or distinction (source: Police have them, military personnel wear them, firefighters wear them, boy scouts earn them and display them with pride.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a friend at church with his little boy peacefully sleeping in his arms. The little boy rested his tiny head on his daddy's shoulder. My mind raced back about 15 years when our fist son Helaman was a little baby. I've always loved holding my little ones in my arms. This one memorable morning, he was peacefully sleeping and drooling on the lapel of my Sunday suit, the only one I owned at the time. Back then we could hardly afford dry cleaning so, I tried to be very careful not to get my suits dirty. But with a new little boy, spit up and drooling at church were common place and I learned to not only live with it but to cherish it. And so, the stain became a badge of honor, something that I was proud to display as a dad. Now, every time I see a dad with a 'baby mark' on his suit, I feel admiration for that dad who takes care of his little ones and cares more about his child than having a spotlessly clean suit every Sunday morning.

So, dad, wear the badge with honor!

(Photo by Maggie Smith)