A Father’s Voice


On one occasion, my daughter Jacque and I went to a Merry Miss Primary class daddy-daughter party held at the meetinghouse. Various activities were provided for the girls and their dads. The girls all prepared box lunches for the meal. For dessert, each father and daughter were to decorate a cake. Since I am a dentist, Jacque and I made a giant icing tooth on our cake. Of course, after the eating, there were games and contests.

One of the games we played that night was a relay contest. The Primary leaders had placed four plastic bowling pins across the floor of the cultural hall in a staggered formation. Each father was to blindfold his daughter and, without touching her with his hands, “talk” her through and around the pins, across the cultural hall, and then back to the starting point, where the next pair would begin. We were divided into two teams.

When the race began there was much enthusiasm, both teams cheering for theirs to be the fastest. Most of the fathers would holler “go right!” or “go left!” or “stop!” or “go straight!” It seemed such a simple game when we were given the instructions, but it was actually quite difficult. The voice of the opposing team’s father might be confused with your own, and the two girls racing each other would get the instructions mixed up. I was quite surprised at how much trouble some of the fathers and daughters had in getting through this simple course. Some of the father’s were hesitant in their directions and thus lost precious time. Many of the daughters did not follow the instructions quickly and accurately and then either went too fast or moved in the wrong direction, occasionally knocking down the pins. There were, of course, a few who seemed more organized and went through the course quickly.

But there was one father and daughter at the party who surprised us all. This father was afflicted with a serious disease that hampered his coordination. He was somewhat slow of speech and movement. An interesting thing happened when it was their turn to race. When the blindfold was in place, I heard the father say to his daughter, “Don’t worry about left or right or fast or slow. Just walk at a steady pace and listen to my voice. Just follow the sound of my voice. I’ll keep talking the whole time, and we’ll go right through.” At the signal they began, and he gently repeated over and over, “Just follow my voice” or “Don’t listen to the others, just my sounds.” I was amazed as they steadily walked with short steps right through the course, faster than any of the others, so fast in fact that theirs was the winning team.

What an interesting lesson for all fathers and daughters. So often there are many voices that call to our attention and tend to confuse us or get us off the right track. We are often yelling in our daily affairs for a daughter to go one way or another, to speed up or slow down, to do or not to do. What a blessing if every young woman could have a worthy father in this life who would say in words and actions, “Don’t worry about getting off the track. Just follow my voice and example, and let me lead you home.” And what a blessing if every daughter who has such a father would trust in him as he magnifies his priesthood and be willing to follow his direction and example.

Of course there is a “Father’s voice” that each of us can learn to discern over the competing noises of life. If we listen to this “still, small voice,” we need not be confused by the many voices in the world or be pressured by the competition with others. With steady, sure steps we can progress along the proper path, missing obstacles, many of which we cannot see ahead of us, relying on our Father’s clear vision to guide us back home to him.

[illustration] Illustrated by Richard Hull