Heart to heart

A noted author and popular youth speaker, George Durrant, tells of awaking one wintry morning at 5 o'clock to the sounds of his son preparing for an early-morning basketball practice.

"Hearing him move about the house, I, too, arose," he said.

"While he showered, I cooked his breakfast, adding more bacon than would have been allowed had his mother been there to supervise. Three eggs soon sizzled in the pan. Toast was in the toaster. . . . He seemed most pleased when I placed such delicious food before him.

"As he ate, I sat and looked on.

"Washing down the last piece of toast . . . , he said, 'Got to go, Pops.'

"As we both stood, I said, 'Could we just take a minute to kneel down and pray together?'

"Kneeling very near him, I spoke for the two of us. I thanked the Lord for such a son and expressed my gratitude for the love that bound the two of us together.

"After many heartfelt words, we arose from our knees. Feeling so close to him, I embraced him. Then before he knew what was happening, I pulled his head down and gave him a kiss on the forehead.

"He stepped back and grinned and said, 'Gee, Pops, I wonder how may other Provo High players got a kiss from their father this morning.' "

Such is the joy of being a father.

A morning like any other was made memorable — not because of witty banter across the kitchen table — but because a father prized the companionship of his son more than he treasured some extra sleep.

President Joseph F. Smith described the formula for creating such joy and taught how it can be repeated.

"We must receive [the gospel] ourselves and teach it from our hearts to their hearts, and from our affections to their affections, and we can then inspire them because of our own faith and our own faithfulness and convictions of the Church." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 104).

The Savior, in the "eloquence of His example," as Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, was on the shore early one morning following His resurrection to be with His disciples. He had already performed an eternity's worth of service, and yet, it was not beneath His dignity to give care and comfort to His friends and disciples at a time when they were confused and had sought the solace of the sea.

Against this backdrop of selfless concern for others, He set the stage where He could teach heart to heart and affection to affection.

"Children, have ye any meat?" He called to them that morning from the shore. (John 21:5-17).

Having fished all night and caught nothing, "They answered him, No."

He told them where to cast their nets and watched as they gathered a miraculous harvest. Peter, realizing it was Jesus, was eager to be reunited and swam to shore.

There he found that the Savior had fixed a fire and was frying fish for them. "What a scene it must have been, and what emotions must have swelled within His disciples," said Andrew Skinner, dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University.

"They were tired and hungry and needed help, and once again there was the Savior to minister to their needs."

In this setting, the Savior taught Peter, heart to heart and affection to affection, what he must do for the rest of his life.

The Savior's example of being with His disciples is the example for fathers.

If a father will not only be with his child, but will do something with him that he enjoys, the child will usually talk. Fathers will do more good by listening to their children, rather than talking.

Those who are too busy to be with their children, are, indeed, too busy.

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