Mormon Women Stand is celebrating three years of standing strong for marriage, faith and family. Today, I would like to take a little detour and give a shout out to all of the amazing men in our lives who do plenty of “standing” of their own.
President Nelson explained, “In the work of the Lord, we all learn one great lesson: Each of us stands tall on the shoulders of giants who preceded us.” When good men work hard to become the giants on which the next generation will stand, they help support strong generations that can stand tall against the rising evil in this world. It is usually by small as simple means that these giants and their powerful shoulders do this important work.
Over the years, I have seen my husband’s shoulders look gigantic when gently holding our tiny newborns, but they seemed to grow even stronger when holding his father as he took his last breath. These same shoulders held his daughter tight as he whispered, “I love you, be good!” before she bravely left for a long 18 months. And they were coated with mud when he worked long into the night rescuing everything from furniture to treasured family photos from neighborhood homes during the flood. Year after year, my darling husband has kept his “shoulder to the wheel” as he meets his many, daily expectations. He gladly takes upon himself the command to provide, preside and protect his family. His family is blessed by his humble service.
It is a powerful thing to watch this amazing man square up his shoulders as he faces each day with a determination to stand for God and for his family in this unbelieving, anti-family world. He truly has the shoulders of a giant!
My husband and other men like him are being treated like the enemy by those who do not understand the importance of fathers. They are constantly belittled, mocked and targeted by those who want to create enemies and stir up contention. As Daughters of Heavenly Father, we must stand beside our husbands and defend their honor amid all of the untrue accusations against them.
Two years ago I had the opportunity to be at the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women. I was shocked to hear the delegate from Denmark tell the UN assembly that the only way to true world peace is for men to be less masculine and women to be less feminine. I was shocked to see that his statement was so well received by many other delegates from around the world. Some even followed up with ideas on how they could achieve this goal. One delegate announced that they would be able to accomplish this through data. At first, I thought that this delegate meant that data could be collected and analyzed to help their goal…. but I soon understood that these ideas could be, and are, taught through the data that is presented to men, women and children throughout the world.
Elder Christofferson spoke of the quality of data we should have in our homes: “We call on media and entertainment outlets to portray devoted and capable fathers who truly love their wives and intelligently guide their children, instead of the bumblers and buffoons or “the guys who cause problems,” as fathers are all too frequently depicted.”
From President Gordon B. Hinkley: “I believe that it should be the blessing of every child to be born into a home where that child is welcomed, nurtured, loved, and blessed with parents, a father and a mother, who live with loyalty to one another and to their children. I am sure that none of you younger women want less than this. Stand strong against the wiles of the world. The creators of our entertainment, the purveyors of much of our literature, would have you believe otherwise.”
We have seen that, haven’t we? Television shows, movies, commercials, etc., where fathers are absent or are the “guys who cause problems.” Very rarely do we see the kind of fathers whose shoulders are strong enough for the next generation to take a stand. What kind of message does this type of data send to our children? Do our little ones have the experience needed to interpret this data in order to understand it’s lack of worth? Are their young brains being rewired to view men differently from what the Lord would have us teach and exemplify?
The most recent leak of data that seeks to undermine fatherhood comes from the loud voices of women. These voices would tell us that most men would use their power to undermine women unless policies and laws are enacted to “cut men down to size.” Are we allowing this kind of data to change our view of the good men around us? Do we find ourselves nit-picking every little male action? If so, we need to do better at interpreting this data and use the gift of discernment to quantify its worth.
Before I continue….
I’d like to acknowledge that evil exists in all corners of society. We should not defend those who hurt others through the abuse of their power. Likewise, women should not use their power of words to damage the reputation of the innocent.
Now, back to the subject at hand….
How do Daughters of a Loving Heavenly Father defend the honor of our fathers, husbands and sons? And how can we encourage them to become spiritual giants?
First of all, we need to….
1- Have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of the family.
2- Teach our family the eternal importance of fatherhood.
3- Treat our husbands, fathers, and sons with the same respect that we expect from them.
Wives and daughters can apply the advice that Elder Christofferson gave to the Young Men:
“Wherever you rank your own father on the scale of good-better-best (and I predict that ranking will go higher as you grow older and wiser), make up your mind to honor him and your mother by your own life. Remember the yearning hope of a father as expressed by John: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Your righteousness is the greatest honor any father can receive.”
Whatever mothers and wives tolerate in this generation will certainly be handed down to the next generation. THIS is the generation that must “walk in truth”. We must not tolerate the data that would re-wire our beliefs and the beliefs of our children.
As we go forward, let us carefully nurture those whose shoulders will lift our children toward the inheritance that our Heavenly Father has planned for them. Let’s start today…. give the men in your life a pat on their big, strong shoulders and thank these Giants who continue to STAND for marriage, faith and family with us!