Friday, December 14, 2012

Becoming Goodly Parents

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Becoming Goodly Parents, by L. Tom Perry
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

While waiting for the school bus the other day, a friendly boy was talking with my children. Somehow, the topic of parents came up. My children said something about me and what their daddy does; they then asked the boy about his father. When he reported that he didn't have a dad, my children couldn't process that information, "What do you mean? Everyone has a dad?" Their back-and-forth continued a little more, with the other child trying to explain that it was just him and his mom at home, and my children not understanding. When my children's probing questions were becoming entirely too personal, my wife intervened with the standard, "We'll discuss this later."

I think that parenting has its difficult moments, regardless of how many parents are in the home. Nevertheless, I'm grateful to be a dad. Each night, my oldest son tells me, "You're the best daddy in the world!"


He's sweet boy, but now I'm thinking of the many variants of "World's Greatest Dad" merchandise I've seen for sale through the years. There's no way that all those mugs, balloons, shirts, hats, and trophies were manufactured just for me; I suspect the title either isn't absolute, or there's an unseen asterisk in there somewhere.

World's Greatest* Dad!
*that I've ever had

There are definitely times when I don't feel up to the title of best, let alone greatest! I saw my sister post this on facebook recently; it really spoke to me:

While I don't feel like the best, and I hope I'm better than okeyest, I guess what I really want is to be a goodly parent.

The thing that stuck out to me in Elder Perry's talk was the concept of culture. He defined culture as "the way of life of a people." Having recently moved to Florida (sure, it's been over a year ago, but we're still getting used to it!), we notice that there is a South Florida culture, or rather, many different South Florida cultures. We each seem to be part of many cultures; for example, I'm American, Mormon, an engineer, frugal, and I live in a particular neighborhood, which has it's own culture.

There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel culture, or way of life, comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives.

I'm grateful for the cultures I'm part of, particularly my church and family cultures. They provide friends, acceptance, growth, purpose, and help me try to be a better me—a goodly parent. With all the support I get from friends and family, I sometimes even feel like "the best daddy in the world!"

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