“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43).
The emphasis of anointed servants of God today on hastening the work of salvation gives an added dimension to the role of fathers in nurturing their children in light and truth.
For one thing, theirs is the privilege to help their sons to prepare to serve missions and, in some cases, their daughters as well, where the daughters desire to render this service.
“Fathers, do you understand your role in helping your son to become a missionary before he goes on a mission?” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked in his talk during the priesthood session of October 2005 general conference. “You and your wife are key in the process of his becoming a missionary. Prayerful pondering of the principle of becoming will invite inspiration tailored to the specific needs of your son or to the young men whom you serve.”
Of course, hastening the work also includes service to those who have passed beyond the veil, including one’s kindred dead. Fathers are key in instilling within their children love, gratitude and honor to their progenitors in the spirit of Elijah’s prophecy that the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers (see Malachi 4:6 and Joseph Smith – History 1:38-39).
Since the overwhelming majority of Heavenly Father’s children who accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will do so after they have left the mortal sphere, the work of family history and vicarious temple ordinances is at least as important as ministering to the living inhabitants of the earth. Fathers desiring to raise their children in righteousness will help them understand that.
Probably most fathers, in wistful moments, wish they could provide more for their children in terms of worldly possessions, temporal comforts, skills, educational or career advantages and other aspects of life. Such fathers who are endeavoring to be conscientious may, at some future point, come to realize better what good providers they really were in the things that matter most in an eternal sense.