Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad, are you awake?

Today is Father's Day. I am grateful that we have a day to honor our fathers. My dad and I weren't very close most of my life, but still I am grateful for the principles that he taught me and for love he tried to show. Dad has been gone for over a year now, and I catch myself wishing at times that our relationship could have been different. There was a definite void in my life and I suppose every child that wasn't very close to one of their parents, has it. When I start to feel bad about it, I remind myself that he did the best that he could and I try to just focus on the good things that he taught me.

But the main reason that I love celebrating Father's Day is because of Jeff. Jeff basically grew up without a father during most of his life, but I have to tell you that he is the BEST FATHER to our kids! He some how learned to be a good dad and to break that FATHERLESS generation that was before him. The kids adore him and he is constantly teaching them important values by example. I guess what I love the most about Jeff is... his dedication to the Lord. He strives daily to to do HIS will and the kids see that. Yes, Fatherhood is important, so I feel blessed that my kids have that type of dad for them.

I have to share a talk that I heard about Fathers that really  touched me. First of all I need to explain that this talk is about a father and his son but it applies just the same to father's and their daughters. It's by F. Melvin Hammond

“Dad, Are You Awake?"

Do your sons( or daughters ) ever wonder if you are asleep when it comes to the things that are most important to them?


Many years ago I took our only son on his first camping, fishing trip. He was just a boy. The canyon was steep, and the descent was difficult. But the fishing was good. Every time I hooked a fish I would give the pole to the eager boy, and with shouts of joy he would reel in a beautiful trout. In the shadows and coolness of the late afternoon, we began our climb back up to the rim high above us. He scrambled rapidly up the mountain ahead of me with a challenging, “Come on, Dad. I’ll bet I can beat you to the top.” The challenge was heard but wisely ignored. His small frame seemed literally to fly over, under, and around every obstacle, and when every step that I took seemed ridiculously like my last, he had reached the top and stood cheering me on. After supper we knelt in prayer. His small voice rose sweetly heavenward in benediction to our day. Then we climbed into our large double sleeping bag, and after a bit of pushing and pulling I felt his little body snuggle and settle tightly against mine for warmth and security against the night. As I looked at my son beside me, suddenly I felt a surge of love pass through my body with such force that it pushed tears to my eyes. And, at that precise moment, he put his little arms around me and said, “Dad.”

“Yes, son.”

“Are you awake?”

“Yes, my son, I am awake.”

“Dad, I love you a million, trillion times!”

And immediately he was asleep. But I was awake far into the night, expressing my great thanks for such wonderful blessings clothed with a little boy’s body.

Now my son is a man with a son of his own. Once in a while the three of us go fishing. I look at my little red-headed grandson beside his father, and I see in my mind’s eye the image of that wonderful moment long ago. The question so innocently asked, “Dad, are you awake?” still rings in my heart.

To every father, I pose the same penetrating question, “Dad, are you awake?” Do your sons ever wonder if you are asleep when it comes to the things that are most important to them? I would suggest that there are several areas that would indicate whether we are “awake” or “asleep” in the eyes of our sons.

First, our love for God and accepting our role as the family leader in keeping His commandments.

Dads, it is imperative that the challenges I have mentioned be mastered in our lives if our sons are to be spiritually and emotionally mature. If we do, then they will not be ashamed of us, nor will they ever be ashamed of themselves. They will become men of honor, respect, full of love, willing to serve the Savior and submit their will to Him.

If Dad is a true disciple of Jesus Christ, then the sons will follow him as the night the day. “Dad, are you awake?”

Second, the relationship we have with our wives—their mothers.

Considering everything else that we do, the way we treat our wives could well have the greatest impact on the character of our sons. If a father is guilty of inflicting verbal or physical abuse in any degree on his companion, his sons will resent him for it, perhaps even despise him for it. But interestingly enough, when they are grown and marry, they are likely to follow the same pattern of abuse with their wives. There is an urgent need in our society for fathers who respect their wives and treat them with sweet, tender love.

Recently I heard of a father who foolishly called his beautiful, intelligent wife “stupid” and “dumb” in a most degrading manner for some small mistake that she had innocently made. The children listened, embarrassed and frightened for their mother. She was belittled in front of those that she loved most. Although an apology and forgiveness were expressed, there still remained the hurt and shame of a senseless moment.

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother” ~ David O. McKay      

Third, to provide discipline that is just and administered with love.

Too often out of our own frustration and weakness we raise our hands to strike our children, usually in an attempt to protect our own selfish pride. Every child needs to be disciplined. Not only do they need it; they expect it; they want it. Discipline gives direction and teaches self-control, but in all discipline there should be a sense of righteous judgment and pure love.

When it comes to discipline, “Dad, are you awake?”

Then we will rejoice in the fact that they are ours forever. They will say, “Dad, are you awake?”

And we will respond, “Yes, my son, I am awake.”

What a wonderful reminder to all of us Mothers and Fathers to realize how very important we are in the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Happy Father's Day to all !

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