My daughter, the Queen of Blog, asked me to be her guest blogger on Father’s Day 2013 and relate to you my thoughts on being a dad. How cool is that? I didn’t think she would ask me again after I related my experience with my first Ragnar Relay nearly two years ago!
So what does it take to be a successful father? I’m not certain I am qualified to answer this. I don’t know that I fully appreciated all of the hard work and planning to raise a family until having the opportunity to see contrasting examples of the impact fathers can make in their children’s lives. I will give you just three keys of the many that I have acquired over the years of what it takes to be a successful father. To you wonderful women who support my amazing daughter, print a copy of this and give it to your dads (or sons, or husbands) to read!
First, I have always tried to live by the inspired words of David O. McKay: “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” [see Richard Evans’ Quote Book (1971), 11] It’s easy to love the mother of my children. She is the most incredible woman I know. I try to be a better husband and father simply to live worthy of her companionship (plus it helps that she still looks amazing, even at 60 years young)!
Secondly, I believe a father is a teacher whether he wants to be or not! We dads can’t help but become humble when we recognize the importance of teaching our children. I have learned that you cannot be one thing and effectively teach another. Have you ever heard the expression, “Do what I say and not what I do?”
In thinking about this I am reminded of another famous quote from David O. McKay: “No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home.” [David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1964, 5] I have always believed that our children learn the most from what is taught in the home. Oh sure, they will learn from other sources at places (away from parents) but are you certain that it is what you want your children to be learning? Dads – you have a tremendous opportunity to teach your children simply by being there for them. I love the following poem (it obviously applies to girls and boys):
What shall you give to one small boy?
A glamorous game, a tinseled toy?
A boy Scout knife, a puzzle pack?
A train that runs of some curving track?
A picture book, a real live pet?
No, there’s plenty of time for such things yet.
Give him a day for his very own.
Just one small boy and his Dad alone.
A walk in the woods, a romp in the park,
A fishing trip from dawn to dark.
Give him the gift that only you can.
The companionship of his “old man.”
Games are outgrown and toys decay,
But he’ll never forget
If you give him a day.
Lastly, I believe in prayer. I have had times when I prayed to the Lord with great earnestness for help, for divine knowledge to know how best to help my children when they struggled or were troubled. They are my life. They mean the world to me. Many times I wondered why my prayers weren’t answered. I suppose all who believe in a supreme being have felt this way at one time or another. I have come to know as the years pass that my Father in Heaven does hear my prayers and that His wisdom is greater than mine. Isn’t this reason enough to pray? If I don’t have the answer to best help my child with a problem, why in the world wouldn’t I quickly turn to He who does have all the answers and is willing to tell me if I but ask Him?
So, to all you fathers out there I wish you the best Father’s Day ever. I wish for you no ties, shirts, or socks from your kids.
When will they learn all we really want are tools (or golf balls)?