Q&A: Questions and Answers


The New Era’s and readers’ answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

What can I do to stay close to my dad when we’re both so busy?

New Era

  • Family relationships are meant to be eternal. These relationships should take priority over others.

  • Building relationships takes time. Be flexible enough to make time for your family.

  • Talk to your dad. If he doesn’t know you want to spend more time with him, he can’t help fix the problem.

  • Support family prayer, family home evening, family scripture study, and other family activities.

  • Make the effort to schedule time together. Plan activities in advance to use that time well.

Building or strengthening a relationship takes time and effort. With all of the demands on your time, it’s unlikely that your schedule and your parents’ schedules will work out just right to provide quality time together—unless you and your parents are willing to plan for it.

You can start building a better relationship by talking about it. If your dad knows you want to spend more time with him, he will probably do everything he can to make time for you. But that means you have to be flexible too. The only schedule you can control is your own. So if your schedules don’t match up, you might have to sacrifice something that is important to you in order to spend time with your dad.

The good news is that you want to stay close—or become closer—to your parents. Many youth don’t realize how important that relationship is and that they’re responsible for doing their part in strengthening it. Some Latter-day Saint youth think, “My family is going to be around forever, so I’ll hang out with my friends now.” But if you don’t put your family first, you may not have them forever.

Friends, sports, and other activities aren’t necessarily bad. But family is eternal; popularity isn’t.

When you’re trying to decide how to spend more time with your dad or any other family member, don’t be distracted by other activities that might seem good but aren’t as essential as family relationships.

Here are some ideas from readers that can help you strengthen your relationship with your dad:

Find Time Together

Regular time together is important, even if it’s only five minutes each day. Don’t miss family prayer, family scripture study, or family home evening. Don’t miss other family activities, including meals together. Go with your dad on his errands. Plan a weekly get-together. When you plan time together, mark it on the calendar so neither of you will forget.

When You Find Time

Talk to each other, tell jokes, play games, share favorite scriptures, pray together, share feelings about articles in the Church magazines or what you have learned in seminary or at church, ask his opinion or advice on problems you’re facing, and so on.

When There’s No Time

Find out when would be an appropriate time to call him at work for a few minutes to tell him a little about your day. Leave short notes for your father to find—on his pillow, in the bathroom, on the couch. Pray for help in strengthening your relationship.

Elder Richard G. Scott

When things of the world crowd in, all too often the wrong things take highest priority. Then it is easy to forget the fundamental purpose of life. Satan has a powerful tool to use against good people. It is distraction. He would have good people fill life with ‘good things’ so there is no room for the essential ones. Have you unconsciously been caught in that trap?” —Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, 7.

Readers

It all comes down to time. I will never forget the time I had with my father. No matter how short or how long we’re with our fathers, time is essential to that relationship. Elder Frank Maea, 21, Philippines Baguio Mission

Love requires sacrifice. If you want to have a better relationship with your father, you may have to sacrifice some of the time you spend with your friends or give up a few activities. Lindsay Powell, 14, Evergreen Ward, Golden Colorado Stake

I love my father, and I can try to make sacrifices for him like watching for his return so I can talk to him. During family home evening or other family activities, I can tell him about my feelings. I can leave him notes on his desk at home or call him during his lunch hour at work. Marie Fania Sophia François, 14, Frères Ward, Port-au-Prince Haiti Stake

We must practice open communication in order to obtain a close relationship with each other. We must also have family prayers every day. Talk openly with your father. Participate in family activities and family home evening. Elder Su‘ Tulimanu Jr., 21, Samoa Apia Mission

My father is also busy, but we share our daily experiences at breakfast. At least once a week we have our family council. We pray as a family. We also share articles from the Church magazines. Although we are often apart, I have learned a lot from him, and I pray that the Lord will bless us to be a spiritual family. Jenirée M. Rodríguez Hernández, 15, Las Colinas Branch, El Tigre Venezuela District

Since I was a little girl I have accompanied my father on various errands. He sometimes takes my sister and me to school, and we chat about many topics. We plan time for “dates” together, we go shopping as a family, and we often call each other at home or at work. Patricia María del Carmen Fuentes Rodríguez, 12, Panorama Ward, Guatemala City Guatemala Mariscal Stake

Set aside at least one night every week for you and your dad. Spend time together playing games. Sunday would be a good day to share some quiet activity. Try to learn more about your dad. Find out what he likes. Do something nice for him like making him breakfast. Jessica Lee Jensen, 12, Alpine 10th Ward, Alpine Utah Stake

[photo] Photograph by Kelly Larsen, posed by models