Eight years have passed since my husband passed away, and I have had to comfort and console my nine children at different times of their life as well as deal with my own grief. Even recently, there are still melt downs stemming from missing their father terribly which only makes it blatantly obvious how important both parents are in a home raising children.
What many people don’t know is that to understand how the circle of a family really works you need the presence of the father and the mother. Imagine two sons living in two separate families. Two parents raise the one son and only the mother raises the other. All are good people and do the best they can. The son with both parents at home has a powerful example of a father who loves his mother and treats her well. The other son has no example of what fathers do at all and grows up lacking something he never really had. Both parents play an important part of a child’s life.
With statistics of the family structure from the last ten years, it’s unfortunate that typically fathers aren’t around most times when there is one parent gone. L. Tom Perry, a Mormon leader said:
The joining together of a man and a woman to be legally and lawfully wed not only is preparation for future generations to inherit the earth, but it also brings the greatest joy and satisfaction that can be found in this mortal experience, (L. Tom Perry, Becoming Goodly Parents, October 2012, General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
There are many ways that goodly parents can access the help and support they need to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children.
Children need the nurturing of good mothers and the protection of good fathers. One without the other is not complete. Mothers influence children with wonderful nurturing. Children feel secure in their own world and think of others around them. They nurture others on their own. The protection of fathers promotes the feeling of security and great comfort at home. Both parents build lasting relationships.
L. Tom Perry also said:
Lessons taught in the home by goodly parents are becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread. As we know, he is attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society—the family.
Don’t get sucked into the world’s idea that it’s okay to just have one parent. The family is where it’s at for strength and happiness. As we are not perfect beings, not everyone can be successful in their relationship with their father, even with fathers still in the picture. But, there are more opportunities of bridging the gap of a father-child relationship when Dad sticks around for the duration of a child’s life than if he is never seen again.
This lasting relationship with both parents also has an effect on older youth who sometimes feel they don’t need the guidance of parents. These youth might not appreciate what they have now, but wisdom comes with age and appreciation of a father’s sacrifice will surface eventually. Mark Twain said it perfectly: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
Whether children realize this or not both parents are important at home and sometimes it becomes so alarmingly obvious when one parent is taken away. Whether the world realizes the importance of both parents will remain to be seen in the future, but right now mothers and fathers are desperately needed to stay together to raise their children.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.