I have been slowly reading through Teaching, No Greater Call. I am to the part where it is specifically talking about intentional teaching in our homes. There were two chapters dedicated to parents – one as a father and one as a mother. In these chapters, President Benson’s 1987 Oct. General Conference talks was quoted and his 10 specific ways fathers can give spiritual leadership in the home were given. I thought that they were important reminders so I am sharing part of the chapter on fathers with you today!
“To all fathers, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“Yours is the basic and inescapable responsibility to stand as the head of the family. That does not carry with it any implication of dictatorship or unrighteous dominion. It carries with it a mandate that fathers provide for the needs of their families. Those needs are more than food, clothing, and shelter. Those needs include righteous direction and the teaching, by example as well as precept, of basic principles of honesty, integrity, service, respect for the rights of others, and an understanding that we are accountable for that which we do in this life, not only to one another but also to the God of heaven, who is our Eternal Father” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 78–79; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 60).
President Ezra Taft Benson suggested “ten specific ways that fathers can give spiritual leadership to their children:
- Give father’s blessings to your children. Baptize and confirm your children. Ordain your sons to the priesthood. These will become spiritual highlights in the lives of your children.
- Personally direct family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Your personal involvement will show your children how important these activities really are.
- Whenever possible, attend Church meetings together as a family. Family worship under your leadership is vital to your children’s spiritual welfare.
- Go on daddy-daughter dates and father-and-sons’ outings with your children. As a family, go on campouts and picnics, to ball games and recitals, to school programs, and so forth. Having Dad there makes all the difference.
- Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
- Have regular one-on-one visits with your children. Let them talk about what they would like to. Teach them gospel principles. Teach them true values. Tell them you love them. Personal time with your children tells them where Dad puts his priorities.
- Teach your children to work, and show them the value of working toward a worthy goal. Establishing mission funds and education funds for your children shows them what Dad considers to be important.
- Encourage good music and art and literature in your homes. Homes that have a spirit of refinement and beauty will bless the lives of your children forever.
- As distances allow, regularly attend the temple with your wife. Your children will then better understand the importance of temple marriage and temple vows and the eternal family unit.
- Have your children see your joy and satisfaction in service to the Church. This can become contagious to them, so they, too, will want to serve in the Church and will love the kingdom.”
President Benson concluded by saying, “Remember your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you will never be released” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 62–63; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 50–51).
As a father, you should always remember the eternal importance of your role. Fatherhood is a divine responsibility. Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “It should have great meaning that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that could be given him, God himself, he who is the highest of all, chose to be addressed simply as Father” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 139; or Ensign, July 1972, 113).”