Sharing Time: a Father’s roles

by EmilyCC

After much prayer and thought, this is the sharing time I’ll be presenting this Sunday.  If you have ways to approach this lesson that you think would be helpful, please share.  If you’re not diggin’ my feminist take on this sharing time, I recommend for a more traditional lesson plan (I did get a little help there, too—see the game below).

A New Theme
Today is the first day of a new month, which means we have a new theme:

Family members have important responsibilities.

Family Responsibilities

Read outloud:

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).


Each member of the family needs to make sure that these things happen in their homes and in order to do that we need to make sure we’re doing certain things.


What does this quote say we need to be doing? (if you’re really on top of this, you could have pictures to put up when as the kids say things like: pray, go to Church, fast on Fast Sunday, etc.)

How can we do those things?


Today, we’re going to talk about a father’s responsibilities.  Sometimes, our dads aren’t able to live with us, so we have people who can be like fathers to us.


This is a picture of my cousins.  Soon after this picture was taken, their dad died in a plane crash.  But, they had lots of people be dads to them: friends in the ward, their grandpas, their uncles.


When my parents got divorced, my dad wasn’t able to live near the family for a while or their dads may not be members of the Church.  My brothers had their home teachers and seminary teachers give them blessings when they needed it and my dad wasn’t available.

Dallin H. Oaks: “My mother loved that scripture and lived its principle. The greatest affliction of her life was the death of her husband, our father, after only 11 years of marriage. This changed her life and imposed great hardships as she proceeded to earn a living and raise her three little children alone. Nevertheless, I often heard her say that the Lord consecrated that affliction for her gain because her husband’s death compelled her to develop her talents and serve and become something that she could never have become without that seeming tragedy. Our mother was a spiritual giant, strong and fully worthy of the loving tribute her three children inscribed on her headstone: “Her Faith Strengthened All.”

The blessings of adversity extend to others. I know it was a blessing to be raised by a widowed mother whose children had to learn how to work, early and hard. I know that relative poverty and hard work are not greater adversities than affluence and abundant free time. I also know that strength is forged in adversity and that faith is developed in a setting where we cannot see ahead.”

And sometimes, our dads live with us, but they just can’t be around all the time. 

Do you have people who have been like dads to you?

How does that make you feel?


What do fathers do?

What does your dad do in your house to make it a happy one?

If you’d like to go into gender specifics, by all means…

Some traits I’d like to see covered include: loving, protecting, helping, giving advice.


Boys, what can you do to grow up to be good dads?


Guest Speakers:

1.    Lifetime member raised by a single mom

2.    Convert raised by non-member parents

3.    Dad leaving for Iraq


Game scroll down the page to the “Game” section

I’ll be adding the following:

Joseph: This man raised his wife’s son like he was his own father (Matt 1:16-25)

Widow: This woman had to be mother and father to her son (1 Kings 17:15)


Angie’s inspired metaphor in her comment from last week’s post:

I am the primary chorister in my ward, and I am using the Salt Lake Temple as a metaphor for families. We’ve talked about the cracks inthe foundation, the dirt thrown on the temple to hide it from the army, and how long it took to build. Then I related that to our families – sometimes we feel like our family is cracked; sometimes we feel covered in dirt and that no one can even see us; sometimes we have this great, ideal family in mind and it seems like it will never happen. But God knows the end from the beginning, and He wants us to succeed and is guiding us to that great ideal of a Godly family.

Close with your testimony of families and the importance of the role of fathers in our lives.

*special thanks to Mwesigwa for letting me use this picture.  He has so many great photos and was very gracious about letting me use this one.


EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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No Responses

  1. Markie says:

    A few weeks ago, I agreed to be a one-time substitute for sharing time on March 1st. When, with a stricken look on my face, I asked my husband to guess what my topic was, he immediately said, “Oh, no! They gave you ‘fathers preside’ didn’t they?” Yep, they did, but this really helps. As I continue to prepare this week, I’ll let y’all know if I think of anything else useful to add.

  2. Violet says:

    EmilyCC – I love this outline and suggestions. I’m the pianist in primary so not much I can do as far as actually using some of your ideas in primary, but I will make some suggestions if the opportunity arises. I have looked at the sharing time outlines for this month and have been concerned to say the least about gender roles section, lots of our kids don’t come from the ideal home, etc. So part of my solution is to teach some of the sharing time for FHE so I will be using some of your outline for FHE next week.

  3. Caroline says:

    Wow, Emily. A great handling of a difficult topic. I love it.

  4. EmilyCC says:

    Markie, someone owes you! I’ll admit there’s only one other lesson that I’ve worked on with this much trepidation.

    Violet, I love using sharing time prep for FHE; it’s about the only way it gets done at my house.

    Caroline, thanks, this one had me sweating! I’m hoping the mother one will be easier next week.

  5. Jessawhy says:

    As always, wonderfully done! I really like your focus on all different kinds of fathers and about how much God loves us.

  6. madhousewife says:

    I love your outline. I feel like this year more than ever I need to keep on top of what messages my kids are getting in Sharing Time. And that is most unusual for me.

  7. E says:

    I think it’s an excellent lesson, my only suggestion would be to include the idea that sometimes dads ARE there and no one has to “fill in” for them. All of your examples seem to focus on fatherless families.

  8. Violet says:

    I was thinking of this post yesterday while watching my neighbor (19) play with his little girl (18 mo). Now his situation is not ideal, both he and his girlfriend were still in high school when the baby came, but he is a dedicated dad. He is the primary caregiver. I guess about a year ago he and his girlfriend broke up and she lived with her mom. She got a new boyfriend and then decided it was too much work for her to take care of the baby. So she called him up and asked if he would be willing to take their baby. He said yes. Now he lives with his parents so he gets support that way and while at work his mom watches her, but when he is home he takes care of her. I’ve seen similar situations where the child gets raised by grandparents, but he gets up with her in the night, feeds her, gets her dressed and puts her to bed and the crib is in his room. I’ve seen him rock her to sleep at neighborhood functions and is very sweet with her. She is a daddy’s girl. Mom is not around much.

    So I guess what I am saying is sometimes dad is the only one there and is the primary care giver. I’ve seen other examples of this. Just another example people could use.

  9. Karen says:

    I like the examples you have given. But, I agree with E and Violet that maybe there should also be examples of dads who are there. There are dads that are involved in their kids lives out there, in the church and out of it.

    If we are going to ask boys what they are going to do to be good dads, shouldn’t we give them examples of what is the ideal also?

    My husband didn’t have the example of a dad who was there and invloved. And I didn’t either. Even though we didn’t have examples set by our own fathers we have watched other fathers around us, used them to be the example of what we wanted for our family.

    Because if as a child your family isn’t intact, you might really work for that in your own marriage/family.

  10. EmilyCC says:

    Jessawhy and madhousewife, thanks for your kind words.

    E, I see your concern about the fatherless families, but the game link consists of scriptural examples of fathers who were fit our traditional definitions (I did add a couple at the end that didn’t, though). I recommend highlighting those characteristics as they play. Also, all my guest speakers live with their wives and kids and 2 of them grew up with fathers in the home.

    Violet, love your story. It would be great to have such an example as a guest speaker; thanks for pointing that out.

    Karen, ah, yes–your’s and your husband’s experiences bring up a good point, which is one I tried to keep in mind as I wrote the lesson, but I did struggle with it.

    I chose to make my lesson here heavy on the non-traditional roles because: 1) it’s pretty easy to find a solid lesson focusing on nuclear family fathers (sugardoodle link at the beginning of lesson) and 2) in my Primary, most of the kids in our Primary have exceptional fathers living with them. I suspect I’ll have to cut the discussion a little short when I ask them what their dads do to make their homes happy.

    That said, if anyone has suggestions of other ways of teaching these kids how to be good fathers or what a role model should look like, I’d love to add them in the lesson I’ll be doing on Sunday!

  11. Markie says:

    Reprieve! Since there are 5 Sundays in March, I get to do an overview of the theme for the month and just focus on the scripture (“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” – D&C 88:119). I feel much more confident with this one.

  12. VirtualM says:

    *sigh* I got the notice yesterday that I was doing sharing time this week. I’ve already e-mailed the primary president in our ward to ask if I can go off-topic. My ward is very non-traditional and many of the children don’t live with their fathers (I’d suspect some of them probably hardly know their fathers). This is definitely tough – and next week will also prove hard. (Mothers nurture). Depending on who teaches sharing time, I might have to bow out of primary for 40 minutes or so.

  13. JES says:

    Rather too late for Primary tomorrow, but what about men who are not married and/or do not have children? I have 1 teacher in who fits that, so I think I might talk some about what “men” can do, not just fathers. Because men can hold the priesthood, serve in the church, help others, etc even if he doesn’t have a family to protect, preside over, etc.

  14. jks says:

    Well, I knew all about this topic when my 5 year old was asked to give a talk on Sunday. Today she will give the following as her talk. I don’t “whisper” in my children’s ear, so she will look at the clip art I arranged (after talking with her about the subject) and say the following. (I did not use the word “preside” because it would require whispering, lol, and I stand by the rest, even the “job” which my husband didn’t have until 5 days ago).

    The scriptures say Our house should be be
    A house of prayer
    A house of faith
    A house of learning
    A house of order (ok this one I might have to whisper because she keeps messing it up but it is too late to take it out now)
    A house of God
    Each person in the family can make their home a happy place
    We can help our families
    We can not yell and not fight
    Jesus says Fathers should love their families
    Take care of the children
    Go to work
    Give hugs
    Teach us
    We can help our families when we are little and when we grow older.

  15. EmilyCC says:

    Markie, oh good, your new lesson topic sounds like a good one. Good Luck!

    VirtualM, I guess it’s better to have a heads up than to be blindsided, but for me, sometimes, it stinks to know in advance–more time to worry. If it helps, I’ll be posting my motherhood lesson next Wednesday here.

    JES, excellent point, there are men who aren’t married or have children but are great role models. I’m glad you’ll be pointing that out (and better yet, that you have a model right there in the room).

    jks, love the talk! I wish I could hear it.

  16. Tu-SaN says:

    Im preparing my lesson for this Sunday and now I got some Idea of how Im going to do my lesson…this is really nnice I like it…it gives me more Ideas and it explains more about the lesson…

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