Fathers are very important to the core teachings of the Mormons. They consider fathers an essential part of a child’s life and have expectations for how fathers carry out their responsibilities to their families. Following are some quotes from Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons, on the eternally significant role of fatherhood.
To you who are fathers of boys or who are leaders of boys, I say, strive to be the kind of example the boys need. The father, of course, should be the prime example, and the boy who is blessed with a worthy father is fortunate indeed. Even an exemplary family, however, with diligent and faithful father and mother, can use all the supportive help they can get from good men who genuinely care. There is also the boy who has no father or whose father is not currently providing the type of example needed. For that boy, the Lord has provided a network of helpers within the Church-bishops, advisers, teachers, Scoutmasters, home teachers. When the Lord’s program is in effect and properly working, no young man in the Church should be without the influence of good men in his life.
Thomas S. Monson, “Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign, May 2008, 65-68
Children display uncanny understanding. I remember hearing an account of a little boy who came up to his father. Dad had just come home from work and he was tired. Little Johnny approached Dad and said, “Daddy, tell me a story,” as he tugged his dad’s pant leg.
But you know and I know what we sometimes tell little Johnny. Dad said, “Johnny, you run on for a little while, and after I have read the sports page you come back and then I’ll tell you a story.”
You don’t get rid of little Johnny that way. He tugged again. “Daddy, tell me a story now.”
Dad looked down at Johnny and wondered what in the world he could do to shake him just for a few minutes. Then he looked on the end table and there was a magazine, and he had an idea. On the front cover of the magazine was a picture of the world. He tore the cover off that magazine and shredded it in about sixteen pieces. He handed it to little Johnny and said, “Johnny, let’s play a game. You take these pieces and go in the other room and get the tape and you put this world together, and when you have put it together properly, then I will tell you a story.”
Johnny accepted the challenge, and off he ran, and Dad settled back very pleased with himself. He knew that he could now read the sports page. But only a moment had passed, and here was Johnny again tugging at his pant leg.
“Daddy,” said Johnny, “I have put it together.”
Dad looked down and saw those sixteen pieces, each one in its proper place. He felt that he had a genius in the household. He turned to his little boy, and said, “John, my boy, how in the world did you do it?”
Johnny sort of ducked his head and replied, “Well, it wasn’t too hard, Dad. Turn the picture of the world over.”
And as Dad turned the magazine cover over, Johnny said, “You see, on the back of the cover is the picture of a home. I just put the home together, and the world took care of itself.”
When we put our homes together, the world will largely take care of itself. Fathers, we may be the head of the home. Mothers, you are the heart of the home, and the heart of the home is where the pulse of the home is. I would trust with all my heart that you recognize your significant position in the home.
Thomas S. Monson, “Only a Teacher,” Ensign, Jan 1990, 2
Fathers, I would counsel you to demonstrate love and kindness to your wife. Be patient with your children. Don’t indulge them to excess, for they must learn to make their own way in the world.
I would encourage you to be available to your children. I have heard it said that no man, as death approaches, has ever declared that he wished he had spent more time at the office.
I love the following example, taken from an article entitled “A Day at the Beach” by Arthur Gordon. Said he:
“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say, ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’
“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled [and said,] ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know.’
” ‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’ “ 5
Thomas S. Monson, “Constant Truths for Changing Times,” Ensign, May 2005, 19
Father, like Mother, is ever willing to sacrifice his own comfort for that of his children. Daily he toils to provide the necessities of life, never complaining, ever concerned for the well-being of his family. This love for children, this desire to see them well and happy, is a constant in a time of change.
On occasion I have observed parents shopping to clothe a son about to enter missionary service. The new suits are fitted, the new shoes are laced, and shirts, socks, and ties are bought in quantity. I met one father who said to me, “Brother Monson, I want you to meet my son.” Pride popped his buttons; the cost of the clothing emptied his wallet; love filled his heart. Tears filled my eyes when I noticed that his suit was old, his shoes well worn; but he felt no deprivation. The glow on his face was a memory to cherish.
As I reflect on my own father, I remember he yielded his minuscule discretionary time to caring for a crippled uncle, aged aunts, and his family. He served in the ward Sunday School presidency, always preferring to work with the children. He, like the Master, loved children. I never heard from his lips one word of criticism of another. He personified in his life the work ethic. I join you in an expression of gratitude for our fathers.
Thomas S. Monson, “An Attitude of Gratitude,” Ensign, Feb 2000, 2