Editor's note: In honor of Father’s Day, the Deseret News talked to several noteworthy members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about their fathers.
Jenny Oaks Baker’s list of lessons learned from her father is constantly growing: speak kindly of others, use time constructively, live and teach the gospel, act with integrity and cultivate a love of the arts — an admonition that was particularly life-changing for the Grammy-nominated Juilliard graduate and professional violinist. They are just a handful of the traits Baker has gleaned from her father.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Baker knows her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a man who listens to the Spirit.
Baker told of one experience, noting that Elder Oaks also refers to the instance in his book “Life's Lessons Learned,” in which her father followed a prompting at a pivotal point in their relationship.
In the book, Elder Oaks tells of one of his children who was messy as a teenager, often leaving trails of random items in her wake.
“That was me,” Baker said with a laugh, “but he doesn’t call me out in the book.”
Baker said her father found himself constantly asking her day in and day out to turn off the lights, pick up her things and stop leaving messes.
But then, something changed.
“He had an impression that when I grew up, if he didn’t stop that, he wouldn’t have a relationship with me and that all I would remember of him is just him kind of nagging at me,” Baker said.
He felt inspired to express his love instead of repeatedly asking her to clean up after herself.
“I don’t remember one day him nagging me and one day him instead saying he loved me,” Baker said. “He didn’t sit me down and announce that, ‘From now on I’m going to focus on being more loving.’ He just decided to more frequently express his love for me and to just ignore my messes. And our relationship truly benefited."
Baker noted the prompting came at a vital time in their lives as it was just a short time before her mother died of cancer ― a trial Baker said created an even stronger bond between them.
“In a few years, my mom was gone, and he became a mother and a father to me,” Baker said. “We had a really sweet relationship to fall back on and to build from because he just decided to love and look past my failings. I am so grateful to him for being such a loving father and such an incredibly honorable man.”
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