The definition/title of a father has held little meaning for me. Thus the term of Heavenly Father, though this is the title of all the titles that God has choosen to assign himself, holds a lesser significance to me because I do not understand it. I am fairly confident that I am not alone in this.
“A sacred title referring to a man who has begotten or legally adopted a child.” – Father, Mortal from the Guide to the Scriptures (emphasis added)
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:11-12
I am reminded that chastening is another term for purifying. This causes me to consider that I only should correct a child in whom I delight! How different is that. How important then becomes the urgency to plead with heaven to have unbridled love and compassion for these my children. Charity is essential to fatherhood. It cannot be accomplished without it.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
This is similar counsel as what was offered by king Benjamin.
The next two scriptures talk of teaching children after “the learning of my father.” (1 Ne. 1:1, Enos 1:1) Here’s another point of departure from just doing what feels right, to honestly asking myself to define for my own family what I really want my children to learn, and learn well.
Here’s an additional thought from a private communication just received from President Smith (name was changed, but he is member of my current stake presidency):
Bishop Walker is a school teacher who earns a modest income and is striving to do fun activities with his family that don’t cost anything. Bishop Walker is striving to bring up his children with the understanding they don’t need money [to] have fun. So the children don’t feel pressured later when they’re raising their own children and they’ll know they can raise those grandchildren without chasing careers for money only, instead of choosing careers in which they feel fulfilled regardless of the income level. (Name also changed)
- Constantly be praying for charity that I can love my children to a point that I delight in them.
- Define what I want my children to learn from me.
- Develop or create fun activities with my children that don’t require money.
Next time that I revisit this, I want to explore more the feelings, characteristics, qualities, and attributes of fatherhood. Focus more on the characteristic and qualities of Heavenly Father, and learn why he wants to be called a Father.