Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Photo from Deseret News.
As a father, I wonder if I and all other fathers could do more to build a sweeter, stronger relationship with our sons and daughters here on earth. Dads, is it too bold to hope that our children might have some small portion of the feeling for us that the Divine Son felt for His Father? Might we earn more of that love by trying to be more of what God was to His child? In any case, we do know that a young person’s developing concept of God centers on characteristics observed in that child’s earthly parents. . . .
I don’t want this talk to sound ungrateful, nor is it meant to make fathers feel they have fallen short. Most fathers are wonderful. Most dads are terrific. I don’t know who wrote these little storybook verses remembered from my youth, but they go something like this:
Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Toiling and striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come home and to hear his voice.
Only a dad, but he gives his all,
Smoothing the way for his children small,
Doing with courage so stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
These are the lines that for him I pen,
Only a dad—but the best of men.
And, brethren, even when we are not “the best of men,” even in our limitations and inadequacy, we can keep making our way in the right direction because of the encouraging teachings set forth by a Divine Father and demonstrated by a Divine Son. With a Heavenly Father’s help we can leave more of a parental legacy than we suppose. . . .
I bear my witness this Easter weekend that “great things [will] be required at the hand[s] of [the] fathers,” as the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Surely the greatest of those things will be to have done all they could for the happiness and spiritual safety of the children they are to nurture.
Quoted from Elder Holland's April 1999 general conference address titled "The Hands of the Fathers"