Each young man will show love, honor, and support for his father as the presiding authority in the home.
Scriptures for each young man.
Pencils for marking scriptures.
A delicious looking piece of fruit.
Prepare a poster with the following statement by President Hugh B. Brown:
“Fatherhood is next to Godhood, and therefore it takes a lifetime to become a good father” (“Each Must Live with Himself,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1963, p. 1095).
One week before giving the lesson, contact the father of each young man (or mother if there is no father in the home). Ask each father or mother to write a short letter of tribute to his or her son, mentioning specific things the son does or has done to honor and help his father or mother. If the young man has no father or mother, ask a relative or guardian to relate how this young man’s actions have honored someone in his life.
Suggested Lesson Development
A Father Is a Patriarch
Have the young men role-play the following situations. Allow a few minutes for each group to discuss their parts.
Episode 1: Choose three or four young men to role-play a family council where no one is the leader and each member argues for his own idea concerning a family activity. Each family member disagrees with the other suggestions and wants only his idea.
After the role play, ask the following question:
Why couldn’t they make a decision?
Episode 2: Choose three or four young men to demonstrate an exemplary family council where the father leads, each member’s ideas are considered, and all participate in reaching a decision.
After the role play, discuss the following question:
What made it possible for this family to make a decision?
Display the poster of the statement by President Hugh B. Brown (see preparation). Explain that much of the success in becoming a good father depends on the love and support he receives from his family.
Chalkboard and discussion
Write the word Patriarch on the chalkboard, and ask the young men to explain what the word means to them. The young men may refer to the stake patriarch in their answers. Explain that in Old Testament times a patriarch was the one chosen by the Lord to lead and preside over a family. You may point out that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all referred to as patriarchs.
Explain that as the leader of a family, a patriarch has the right and responsibility to receive revelation for his family.
Read the following quotation to help the young men further understand a father’s important role.
“In reality, each family is a dominion within itself. Father heads that government. In the beginning it was the only government on the earth and was passed down from Adam to his descendants. Properly organized in the Church, the father is the patriarch of an eternal family unit. Heaven, to us, will be simply an extension of an ideal home. As the presiding priesthood officer, the father fills an irreplaceable role” (A. Theodore Tuttle, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 86; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 66).
Our Righteous Actions Honor Our Fathers
Scripture and discussion
Have a young man read Exodus 20:12.
What does it mean to honor your father?
Try to draw from the young men the idea that honoring one’s father includes living in a way that will bring him honor. Because a patriarch leads and presides over all his descendants, we should honor our fathers, grandfathers, and all of our ancestors. As we honor our fathers, we honor our Heavenly Father also.
Scripture and object lesson
Have a young man read Matthew 7:17–20. Suggest that the young men mark these verses in their Bibles. Hold up the fruit and discuss the following questions.
What can we tell about the tree that bore this good fruit?
Do you think the tree was poorly cared for or diseased? Why or why not?
How does the fruit reflect the kind of tree it came from?
How does what you are reflect upon your parents and family?
How could you show others that you come from a good home?
Explain that by our actions we either honor or dishonor our parents and families. Righteous actions honor our families.
President David O. McKay once told of the great trust a young man had in his father and the way he showed his love and appreciation.
“A party of English botanists spent their vacation in the Swiss Alps collecting specimens of rare flowers. One morning they saw a peculiar flower, which grew in a small, green valley at the foot of a sheer precipice some several hundred feet high. During the latter part of their climb a small boy had attached himself to the party and had watched with interest the proceedings. One of the party turned to the boy and said, ‘Young man, if you will let us tie a rope around your waist and lower you over this cliff so that you can dig up one of those plants for us, and let us pull you back up, without harming the plant, we will give you five pounds.’
“The boy looked dazed for an instant then ran off, apparently frightened at the prospect of being lowered over the cliff by a rope, but within a short time he returned bringing with him an old man, bent and gray, with hands gnarled and calloused by hard labor. Upon reaching the party of botanists the boy turned to the man who had made the offer and said: ‘Sir, this is my dad. I’ll go down in the valley if you’ll let my dad hold the rope!’” (Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons, 1965, p. 86).
Chalkboard and discussion
At the top of the chalkboard write: How to Honor Our Fathers.
In what ways can young men honor their fathers?
Write the young men’s suggestions on the chalkboard under “How to Honor Our Fathers.” Their suggestions may include going to him for help and advice, following his advice, speaking to him and about him with respect, praying for him, asking for a blessing when problems or difficult questions arise, being his friend, doing things for him, and living a righteous life.
Discuss these ideas. Encourage the young men to tell how they have shown honor and respect to their fathers.
Honor Your Father in Heaven
Read the following statement from Bishop Robert D. Hales.
“As a young man, I had an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a jet-fighter pilot. Each unit in our squadron had a motto that would inspire its efforts. Our unit motto—displayed on the side of our aircraft—was ‘Return with Honor.’ This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor only after having expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission.
“This same motto, ‘Return with Honor,’ can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home.”
How do we return to our Heavenly Father with honor?
“Just as aircraft pilots must obey certain rules in order to avoid disaster, there are laws, ordinances, and covenants we must understand and obey as we go through this earthly life—this preparatory period—if we are to reach our goal of eternal life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, pp. 51–52; or Ensign, May 1990, p. 39).
Distribute the letters to the young men. Explain that their fathers (or mothers) wrote the letters and encourage the young men to read their letters privately. Suggest that the young men express their love and appreciation to their fathers during the week either verbally or by writing a letter to them. Challenge the young men to strive to be good examples in their home and to honor their fathers at all times. Each young man needs to understand that his own future fatherhood is a sacred blessing for which he must prepare.