Fatherhood is not something young bachelors often look forward to or think of as most rewarding. But what could be more rewarding than the honor of being entrusted with God’s children?
I am a young father of three and the most joyous experiences in my life have been associated with my role as a father. Holding my newborn babies for the first time, watching them grow, helping them learn, teaching them how to pray and soothing them to sleep are just a few of my favorite things about being a father. But as most people say, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are times when, no matter how hard we try, we feel that we are not doing enough.
I work full time as a Project-In-Charge (PIC) in the field from Monday to Friday and each day is a battle against time. I make sure to squeeze in time to spend with my children in the morning before I head out for work and before we go to sleep at night. I wake them up for our morning prayers and read to them at night. On weekends, we do fun things like going to nature preserves, visiting their grandma, and playing at the park or at home. Then we go to church on Sundays. Although I am doing the best I can to fulfill my responsibilities as a father, I sometimes feel as though I’m far from being the father I need to be for my children. The first time I felt discouraged, I questioned my ability to even raise a family. But as I sought the Lord’s help, I realized that it is okay.
It is okay to feel discouraged and exhausted. It is okay to feel far from perfect. It is okay to feel that we are falling short from what is expected of us. It is okay to feel that we are not measuring up. What’s not okay is feeling that way and not doing anything about it. During these moments when we feel inadequate, we can reach out to the one we look up to as a perfect father, our Heavenly Father. Because He is a perfect father, He knows exactly what we need to fill in the blanks. I cannot fathom how helpless He must have felt, witnessing His Only Begotten suffer, the impulse He must have felt to send angels to rescue His Son, and how devastated He must have been when many of His spirit children followed the adversary during the Grand Council in heaven. Because He has experienced all these as a father, He understands how we feel and what we are going through.
He understands when we doubt ourselves as we try to teach our kids the right lessons, when we have to choose work sometimes over a school play, when we are absent-minded thinking about bills and a mortgage to pay, when we don’t have the answers to all of our kids’ questions, when we worry about showing our children our weaknesses, and the other million things that keep us awake at night. He understands every degree of our feelings and insecurities. And because He understands, He knows how to succor and sustain us if only we ask. Many times He sends angels, even earthly angels, to help us in ways that are not obvious to us. But we can be at peace fulfilling our divine duty as fathers to His spirit children, knowing that He walks side by side with us every step of the way.