Tim Rarick, professor at the Home & Family department was the devotional speaker at BYU-Idaho on May 15.
The title of his talk is “Men are that they may be Fathers.”
Rarick said most people who know him wouldn’t be surprised from his talk, since that is the subject he teaches on, but he said he didn’t want to default into a topic.
“Well, let me tell you that it wasn't so obvious to me,” Rarick said. “I didn’t want to default into a topic. The purpose of the devotional speaker is to be the Lord’s instrument to deliver the message He wants delivered.”
Rarick said shared two life experiences from his childhood where he felt physically suffocating and his father was there on one occasion to rescue him. He tied that in with explaining how many children today are growing up without fathers.
“Tragically, brothers and sisters, millions of children today are being suffocated by evil influences in this fallen world but without a father near or attentive to protect them,” Rarick said.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Rarick said when fathers are not present, children are more likely to face more problems.
“They are more likely to struggle at school,” Rarick said. “More likely to drop out of high school, more likely to get in trouble with the law and commit crimes. Children in fatherless homes are more likely to have behavioral problems in and out of school.”
He said what makes this problem worse is how society is depicting fathers.
“It’s sad that in our society we have portrayed fathers as such buffoons and idiots, that fathers are now viewed as replaceable and optional and may be nice but not necessary,” Rarick said.
He warned students to not have the mentality of saying that won’t happen to you. Rarick said that kind of attitude can lead to complacency.
“We can’t believe that Latter-day Saints are immune to these problems,” Rarick said. “Not only is this belief false, it doesn't invite us to look inward and examine ourselves to see where we can improve and what we are lacking.”
He explained that fathers are just as critical for child development as mothers but in different ways.
“Men, you are to compliment and complete women, not just the other way around,” Rarick said. “Remember, the second half of the Apostle Paul’s declaration: ‘Neither is… the woman without the man, in the Lord.’”
Rarick said the time to start preparing for fatherhood was yesterday. He invited the men to have the focus on preparing for fatherhood in everything they do.
“This focus will give more purpose into the important things you are already doing such as your educational, professional, romantic, and other pursuits,” Rarick said. “A fatherhood focus will also provide both the wisdom and the strength to eliminate those things in your life that are unnecessary, distracting, or self-centered.”
He closed his talk by saying being a father and having the responsibilities fathers have, may not seem like the most fun thing to do, but the purpose of existence is not about that but about having joy.
“I know that changing poopy diapers, or staying up all night with a sick child, or being sassed by a teenager doesn’t sound like much fun, but fun is not the purpose of your existence,” Rarick said. “In spite of all the difficulty and sacrifice fatherhood brings, a fullness of joy only comes to a man as he strives to fulfill the measure of his creation as a husband and father.”