How can I fulfill my calling as the patriarch to my children?
December 1974

“How can I fulfill my calling as the patriarch to my children?” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 27–28

Can you give me some practical suggestions on how I can fulfill my calling as the patriarch to my children?

H. John Ploeger, President, Denver Colorado Stake: The calling of a father in the home is the most important calling that a man can have. In an eternal perspective, it is a position from which a man is never released. He always has the great responsibility to bring his wife and children back to the presence of our Father in heaven.

One of the first responsibilities is to know your children; know their goals, aspirations, and problems. It would be a good thing for a father to sit down in a private session with each of his children on a regular basis and, where appropriate, help them set goals and evaluate their progress in achieving the goals they set. These sessions should be special for each child and should reflect the love that grows between a father and his children.

These special sessions between a father and his children need not wait until they encounter the problems that come with being teenagers. Sessions can begin much earlier as a father prepares his children for baptism and begins to teach them the gospel.

Of course these “special times” should reflect unity in the home and should be supportive of the relationship between a mother and her children. A father and mother should counsel together “always” about the stewardship God has given them.

Another significant way a father can fulfill his patriarchal role in the home is through the example he sets. Our children learn best by imitating our actions and words, especially the words we use when we are not talking to them. Our sons notice when we go uncomplainingly to priesthood meeting and when we show honest concern for our assigned priesthood home teaching families. Our daughters observe the way we treat their mother and their brothers. Our children soon come to understand the way we deal in business and with our neighbors. This power of example, both for good and bad, cannot be underestimated.

The Church has developed and encouraged the family home evening program which helps every father fulfill his responsibilities. It can become a highlight of the week and give the father the opportunity to lead his family as they learn the gospel from each other.

A father is exercising his patriarchal responsibility when he teaches his family to pray and uses his priesthood power to give father’s blessings and to heal the sick in his home. Father’s blessings serve the same function as a guide and teacher that patriarchal blessings do. Fathers may be inspired to promise their children the blessings of the gospel with the same spirit that prompts ordained patriarchs. These priesthood functions cannot be delegated to a mother; they are uniquely patriarchal.

All that we do as fathers in the home is directed at the end result of preparing our sons to be fathers and our daughters to be mothers, the kind of fathers and mothers that the Lord wants them to be.