Day 152: Alma the Elder

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Alma the Elder is a man spoken of in the Book of Mormon. He is first described as one of the wicked priests of an evil king. God sent a messenger to call them to repentance and though the king eventually killed this messenger, Alma the Elder believed the words that he heard. Alma repented and began to teach God’s words to other people. Eventually, he had to flee the kingdom with those who believed him, and set up a righteous land in which to live.

Alma the Elder eventually had a son of his own, who he named after himself, calling him Alma the Younger. To his dismay, Alma the Younger started following the path of wickedness, going so far as to urging others to join him in his unbelief. He mocked those who believed in God and generally caused trouble throughout the kingdom.

The account records that his father prayed for a long time for his son’s heart to be softened.

One day, as Alma the Younger was walking about, an angel appeared to him and called him with a voice like thunder to repentance. Alma the Younger was so struck by this experience that he fainted and slept for three days without awakening. When he awoke, he was a changed man, and devoted himself instead to missionary work.

Alma the Elder had Faith both in God and his son. He knew what the journey from wickedness to righteousness looked like and that it likely would take time. He knew that it was possible to have a change of heart, but he also knew that sometimes the change of heart can only come with God’s help. He did whatever he could, and then trusted in the Lord to make up the difference.

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Day 145: Enos and His Father

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Enos is a man who was spoken of in the Book of Mormon. We know very little about his father, but in early in the Book of Enos, tells us something important about him.

Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

Enos 1:3

It appears that his father had been teaching him correct principles and that over time these words sunk deep into the son’s heart so that they finally reached the center. His son then proceeded to test his father’s words for himself and instead of hunting that day, prayed all day long. This led to the confirmation of his faith, as he heard the voice of God speak to him.

Though we know little more about Enos, it seems that perhaps his father had to teach him for a long time before his words finally sunk into the son’s heart. If your teachings do not sink into your children’s hearts right away, do not be discouraged. Instead, be patient and continue to teach, not shoving things down their throats, but be patient and persistent with a loving attitude.

Then, one day, your sons or daughters just might make the attempt to find out for themselves.

Day 131: Nephi, Faithful Father

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Nephi a person whose story is told in the Book of Mormon. He lived in ancient Jerusalem about 600 BC and took a journey with this family into the wilderness after God warned his father, Lehi, in a dream that they should flee.

The family spent the next eight years roaming the wilderness until they came to the ocean. They constructed a ship and sailed across the ocean to what is now Southern and Central America. There they established a new people that was divided into two groups: the Nephites, who were the descendants and followers of Nephi and the Lamanites, who were the descendants of followers of Nephi’s older brother Laman.

From what we can read of Nephi’s life, we can gathered that it was difficult one. He spent many years without a home and in those years his jealous older brothers constantly sought to do him harm or even to take his life. In one particularly grueling endeavor while they were crossing the sea, they tied him to the mast during the storm and left him to die.

A person in these circumstances might have grown bitter and hard, wanting to exact revenge on his tormentors and cursing the Almighty.

Instead, he forgave his brothers, married, and had children to whom he taught the ways of God. He founded a great city and built a temple to God there. He was so beloved of those who followed him that his people named all the leaders that came after him “Nephi”.

He might have easily turned out to be a horrible, abusive father, but instead became a righteous and industrious one. In our lives, we can take courage from Nephi, despite his circumstances, he became the better man. Despite his hardships, he trusted in God and passed his faith to his children.

Day 96: Jacques Cousteau

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“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

-Jacques Cousteau

When and where did they live?  He was born Jun 11th, 1910 in France, and died Jun 25th, 1997 in France.

What are they the father of? Why is he famous? He is the father of SCUBA. He was a famous oceanographer, who invented the first underwater breathing apparatus. He and his family made over 80 films about ocean exploration, in addition to many books. The Beatles song “Yellow-Submarine” may have been inspired by his family.

How many children did they have?  Did they follow in their father’s footsteps? He had four children, including two sons, Philippe and Jean-Michel, who accompanied their father on many of his ocean voyages.  Phillippe ended up dying in a seaplane accident, but his brother survived to continue his father’s cause of ocean exploration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Cousteau

http://people.howstuffworks.com/10-famous-fathers.htm#page=6

Day 68: Johann Sebastian Bach, Father of the Fugue

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When and where did they live?  Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685 and lived in Germany all his life.

What are they the father of? Why is he famous?   He is “Father of the Fugue”, which is a Baroque musical form. He was an accomplish musician, especially with the organ and left many works that are still performed today such as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Tocatta and Fugue in G Minor”. He influenced many of the great composers to follow him such as Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

How many children did they have? Did they follow in their father’s footsteps? Bach was many times a father. He was married twice and had seven children with his first wife and 13 with his second.

Many of his children had notable musical careers of their own such as:

Wilhelm Friedemann

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Gottfried Heinrich Bach,

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Johann Christian Bach

What can we learn from them?  If you work hard, you can leave a legacy for you family to follow for generations.

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bach_family

http://www.jsbach.org/

http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxjsbach.html

“The Best of Bach” Video: http://youtu.be/6JQm5aSjX6g

Day 61: Joseph, One of a Kind Father

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Joseph, husband to Mary, Mother of Jesus fulfilled a unique role as a father in human history. The first son born to his wife was not his own, but the Son of God. Joseph, however, served as Jesus’ earthly foster father, a role, which must have been a daunting responsibility.

Though little is known about Joseph, the Bible does call him a righteous man, who took tender care of his wife and child. He was willing to do whatever he needed to when God called on him. He trusted God to take Mary as his wife, even though she was already with child, which could have been disastrous for both of them under the laws of the society of the time. When God warned him to take his family and flee in Egypt to protect them from the jealous King Herod, Joseph obeyed right away.

From Joseph’s actions, it can also be inferred that he was devout and taught his family their faith. Truly, Joseph must have been a remarkable man for God to trust His own Son to his care.

Question: What can I do to follow Joseph’s example as a father? 

Day 40: Father Israel

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See also: http://christianity.about.com/od/oldtestamentpeople/a/Jacob-In-The-Bible.htm 

Jacob, later called Israel, was one of the great Biblical fathers, who had twelve sons, whose descendants became the 12 Tribes of Israel.

The name Israel in Hebrew means “he struggles with God”, and Jacob had many struggles in his life. He took his birthright inheritance through subterfuge from his brother, Esau, and when he married sisters, Rachel and Leah, he showed preferential treatment to Rachel.  His beloved Rachel gave him only two of his twelve sons, Benjamin and Joseph. Israel doted on Joseph so much that his remaining brothers grew jealous of him, which created family strife and division.

Joseph’s jealous brothers sold their brother into slavery and faked his death, causing their father deep sorrow.

Though Israel made many poor decisions, he doubtless made many good ones, and the Lord showed mercy on him. His son, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery in Egypt proved their salvation as he later became an Egyptian ruler and took them in during a devastating famine. The Lord was able to turn Israel’s family’s poor decisions and turn them around to something good.

Question: What can we learn as father’s from Jacob’s triumphs and mistakes?  How can we prevent favoritism and the strife it causes in our families?

Day 33: Father Isaac

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Isaac had an excellent example in his father, Abraham, and stayed true to that example. When it came time to make one of the most important and difficult decisions of his life, Isaac trusted his father’s and God’s judgment. He did not take a wife from the heathen people around him, but instead found a companion that God had prepared for him and with whom he could raise a righteous family.

It appears that he remembered that God had spared him from being sacrificed at his father’s hand, as he remained true to his faith all his life. He stayed deeply devoted to his wife, Rebekah, all his days and fathered Jacob and Esau. Jacob would later be renamed Israel, out of which the 12 Tribes of Israel came.

Question: What can we learn as father’s from Isaac’s righteous life?

See also: http://christianity.about.com/od/oldtestamentpeople/a/Isaac.htm

Day 26: Abraham, Father of Nations

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For most of his life, Abraham didn’t think that he would ever be a father, though his name means “Father of a Multitude”. He and his wife passed into old age childless. This puzzled Abraham, because God had promised him that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore.

Abraham continued to trust in God and his wife conceived as an old woman. She bore him a son, whom they named Isaac, and another son by another wife named Ishmael. Abraham loved Isaac deeply as he was the only child of his beloved first wife, and a miracle.

Then, God tested Abraham in an incredible, heart-wrenching way. He commanded Abraham to take his son, Isaac, and offer him up as a burnt sacrifice in the manner that Abraham’s people usually sacrificed rams and sheep.

Though it broke his heart, Abraham obeyed God, without knowing the reason why and brought Isaac to be sacrificed. As Abraham lifted the knife to kill his son, an angel of the Lord stopped him, and revealed that Abraham had passed a crucial test. Because Abraham was willing to give the life of his beloved son, in the way that God would give His beloved Son, Abraham was made a father of nations. From his descendants come both the Jewish and the Arabic races.

Question: What can we do to model our lives after Abraham’s good example?

See also:

http://christianity.about.com/od/oldtestamentpeople/p/abraham.htm

Day 19: George Washington, Father of a Country

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“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”

http://www.slideshare.net/bright9977/20-life-quotes-from-george-washington-the-father-of-america

Having a few years of fatherhood behind me, it is easy to be tempted to look back and dwell on what I wished I had done better. There were times when I wasn’t patient with my children, when I put my needs before theirs, or did not respond to them as quickly as I should have.  As with any important endeavor, it is easy to beat yourself up about it, especially if you try to compare yourself to others.

I have a wonderful example of fatherhood in my own father, but I have to remember that he has decades of experience at it. When I look back on my childhood, I am able to focus on the good things my father did and taught me, and I know that I should do the same for myself. My parenting hasn’t always been perfect, but I sure have learned from my mistakes. That’s what makes George Washington’s advice so poignant as a father—my experience has been dearly-bought, and I would be a fool not to learn from it when I can, and then leave it alone when I cannot.

Question: What parenting mistakes can you learn from in your life? How will you use them as a springboard to progress?