Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fatherhood: The Cornerstone to a Successful Family

Fatherhood: The Cornerstone to a Successful Family
Darrel L. Hammon 

Dean and Barbara Hammon
Fatherhood has long been the cornerstone to a successful family. Some years ago in a pamphlet titled Father Consider Thy Ways, we learn: "'Fatherhood is leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home" (1973, pp. 4-5).
As fathers, most of us are husbands as well. I sincerely believe that to be a good father, I must be a good husband. If I treat my wife with disrespect, then my children begin to do the same. Our wives are the queens of our home. She has chosen motherhood, one of the noblest and most sacred callings Heavenly Father has ever bestowed upon mortal beings. Being a good husband means being sensitive to her feelings. President James E. Faust gives us this counsel: "I urge husbands and fathers of this church to be the kind of man your wife would not want to be without" (Ensign, May 1993, p. 36).
The Hammon Family, almost ten years ago. A lot has changed.....
 Joanne and I were reminiscing a few years ago about our fathers. Both of fathers have since departed this life, Joanne's father passing away a mere six months after we were married. What impressed us both about each of our fathers was the fact that they would help anyone with anything. Joanne's father would be the first one out on a snowy day and shovel the walks and driveways down their street. Although he was not a member of the church, Joanne's father always got her up in the mornings on Sundays so she would be ready to go to church. At his funeral, numerous neighbors approached us and told us what a wonderful man he was.
 My father taught me the same thing. I remember getting up early and going with him to shovel the walks of the widows and older people in our ward. On his days off, my father would go and help others with their roofs or yards. It seemed like we spent more than our share at the ward farm. Now that I look back on it, it was Dad's way of helping the Lord. 
 Fathers are patriarchs. Patriarchs are leaders in the home. Being a true father means that you are the patriarch of your family. You are the priesthood leader, one whose love for God and the "stone cut out of the mountain without hands" precedes the love for the hedonistic ways of the common culture. Unlike the unparticipating fathers of society, you seek the Lord's guidance in all matters. While others carouse and belittle godliness in the darkness, you kneel quietly in the darkness of your room and talk confidentially to that supernal being, your Heavenly Father. Your feelings toward your children do not entail indulgence in earthly things; rather, you attend their games, help with homework, dance with them in the kitchen, go on bike rides, coach their sports teams, attend their debates, read and help them with their English essays, learn how to do algebra, read and discuss the great literature, pray with them, lay your hands upon their heads and give them priesthood blessings. Instead of doing your will or the will of your friends, you do your Father in Heaven's will. Instead of jumping into your own things, you climb on the trampoline and jump and do knee jumps until you think your knees are going to rot off. Instead of being in the thick of things with every organization in the city, you coach T-ball, play computers with them, and play catch in the backyard.
Hammon boys with Dean W. Hammon from years ago
 I also want to express deep love for my (our) Heavenly Father. Please, for one moment, think of Heavenly Father, that Holy Being to whom you pray. Can you see Him in your mind's eye?  Are His arms outstretched to you?  Is He beckoning you to draw near?  Our Heavenly Father is a loving Father, one who wants to listen to us. In the scriptures, we finally understand His love for us. Hasn't He said, through his prophets and His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, "My children, my children...when you go to earth...teach your children to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength....teach your children to walk uprightly before the Lord...and to love and serve one another (See Mosiah 4:15).
According to President Ezra Taft Benson, "Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released....and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity" (Ensign, November 1987, p. 48).
May we understand the power of our sacred calling as fathers, for it is an eternal calling, one from which we will never be released; may we continue teaching our children about their noble birthright.
Happy Father’s Day!