Men bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures.
Years ago, while living in Mexico, I recall a particular young father, one of many among the men of the Church in Mexico whose faith in God graces their lives so naturally that they seem scarcely aware of it. This lovely man radiated a moral authority, born of goodness, that influenced all around him for good. With his wife, he sacrificed a number of pleasures and possessions for their higher priorities, seemingly without a second thought. His ability to perform feats of lifting, bending, and balancing with his children was near superhuman. The demands on him were many and his tasks often repetitive and mundane, yet underneath it all was a beautiful serenity, a sense of being about God’s work.
A man’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.
In all events, a father can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of his example and teaching. His daughters learn to respect manhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. His sons learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular.
Most sacred is a man’s role in the creation of life.
As grandfathers, fathers, and role models, men have been the guardians of the wellspring of life, teaching each generation the importance of sexual purity—of chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. In this way, they have been a civilizing influence in society; they have brought out the best in women; they have perpetuated wholesome environments in which to raise secure and healthy children.
Brothers, I don’t want to overpraise you as we sometimes do in Father’s Day talks that make you cringe. You don’t have to be perfect;
A pernicious philosophy that undermines men’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of fatherhood and homemaking as a career. Some
feminists view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans men and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation. They ridicule what they call “the daddy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what men or women achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than fatherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a man may accomplish, his moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.
The same is true of sexual immorality and of revealing dress that not only debases men but reinforces the lie that a man’s sexuality is what defines his worth.
In these exhortations to men, let no one willfully misunderstand. By praising and encouraging the moral force in men, I am not saying that women and girls are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of men or can be left to men. Sisters, let us stand with men, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.