- What a friend I found: Love unconditionally (5/14/23)
- Walk, live in faith (5/7/23)
- What a friend I found in Jesus (4/30/23)
- Leaning on God provides strength (4/23/23)
- A tattered Bible testifies to a well-lived life (1/15/23)
- Let the hope Jesus brings guide us (1/1/23)
- Christís earthly father (12/25/22)
On raising your kids intentionally
It is amazing how fast time goes. Our kids did not stay young for very long! Time flies by. Heidi and I have two daughters. Hannah is our oldest and she will be 24 soon. She received her degree in psychology in 2021 and now serves on my staff as an executive pastor. Abigail will be 20 in less than two months. This fall, she will be a junior at Evangel University. She is working towards a degree in elementary education. She’s also getting married on Aug. 6.
Both of our girls are great kids. When they were growing up and we would take them places, folks would complement us on how well behaved they were. My parents had them for a few weeks one summer and people would again comment on how polite and respectful they would act. Now that they are both older, many have complimented us on our parenting skills. As Han and Ab have gotten older, our response has always been the same. “We were not good parents; God has just blessed us with good kids.” Several pastors have asked us to write a book about raising kids in ministry.
I never considered writing a book about raising PKs (pastor’s kids) to be something on my long list of things to do. However, as my girls entered college and started participating in small groups that were full of pastor’s kids, we found out that not many PKs had a well-balanced childhood. In fact, in several of those groups my daughters participated in asked this question: “If you had the opportunity to live your childhood over again, would you still want to be a pastor’s kid?” In most of the groups, my two girls were the only two that said they would come back and do childhood as pastor’s kids all over again. It is at that point we realized there were some intentional things we did as parents. I would like to share seven of them with you.
First, your kids are never too young to learn scripture. We were reading and quoting scripture over our kids from the moment the pregnancy test read positive. True story! We constantly read scripture to our kids and then when they were old enough to talk, they started memorizing scripture. We did receive some criticism that they were memorizing things they could not possibly understand. My response to that was, “One day they will understand it, and then serving Jesus will become a naturally organic experience.” That is exactly what happened. Neither Hannah nor Abigail remembers the date of their salvation. They have both mentioned they have lived for Christ their whole life. They can’t ever remember not serving Jesus
If you are a person of prayer, your kids will be people of prayer. Prayer was a natural part of their childhood. We prayed continually. The Bible says to pray without ceasing so our kids grew up praying often. We also prayed in tongues often. It was just part of our household culture. Both of our children were filled with the Holy Spirit at the age of three. Hannah was filled in the living room while dancing to Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp.” Abigail was sitting in her bed during family prayer when she received the Holy Spirit.
“Team Like a Family!” We always included our kids in the work of the ministry. We had someone speak into our lives years ago that our kids were not baggage we take with us. God has a purpose for them inside of our ministry. They always were a part of our ministry and we made them feel important. I remember a time when one of the men in my congregation was rushed to the emergency room. I was called and Abigail was with me at home. I did not have time to get someone to look after her. I had no choice but to take her with me on the urgent hospital visitation. When we get there, the patient had been rushed in to have emergency kidney dialysis. I got all the way to the nurse’s station on the floor before anyone questioned us. A nurse said to me, “Sir, this little girl can’t come in here!” Before I could even respond Abigail said, “Excuse me, Nurse I am not a little girl. I am the assistant pastor at First Assembly of God in Van Buren, Missouri.”
The nurse was left shocked and speechless! Abigail went into the room ahead of me, placed her hands on the patient, and began praying for him. I believe she was 11 years old at the time. Hannah invented the name “Team like a Family.” When we had family prayer before they left for school in the morning, we would finish by bringing it in and yelling on three, “Team Like a Family.”
“It takes 10 positives to correct one negative.” I learned this little gold nugget from Dr. James Dobson’s radio show, “Focus on the Family.” I preached this to parents when I was a youth pastor and when we became parents, we practiced this daily. We became even more aware of this when they both started school. We can’t control the negative things said to them during school, but we can control what negative things are said at home. So at home in the evening, we were ultra-positive in building them up. It’s the “Eye of the Tiger,” baby! “Others may, we will not.” I just shared this one in the church on Sunday, so it is fresh in my mind. It does not matter what other kids or people are doing. We will not compromise. What is wrong is wrong. My kids never got upset because others were allowed to do something and they couldn’t. “Others may, we will not.” Everyone was bowing down to the idol Nebuchadnezzar had erected, but it was the three Hebrew children who said, “But even if God does not save us from the blazing furnace, we want you to know O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:18)
Others may, we will not.
“Jesus is the only one with nail scars on his hands.” We talk and operate in forgiveness a lot in our household. We are quick to say we are sorry and quick to admit our faults. We are not called to be perfect. We are called to pursue Jesus. As much as we try, there are times we could not protect our kids from the painful sides of ministry. There was a man who left our church that every time he saw my family, he would hug them and say, “Girls, always know that I love you.” The girls responded back, “If you loved us, you would not have left us!” It is powerful when raw truth comes from the mouth of babes. When we got home the girls asked, “If people love Jesus, why were we treated the way we were?” I responded, “Jesus is the only one who has nail prints in his hands.” Forgiveness is not easy, but forgiveness is necessary.
One last one for today: Lots and lots of hugs. Even to this day with them all grown up, we try to hug each other at least 12 times a day. This is a great thing to try when you are super busy. As a father, when my kids were little, I hugged them all the time. We have raised two girls who will be successful at everything they put their hands to. More importantly for Heidi and I, when they were little, we envisioned when they were all grown up the most important thing they would have was a very solid relationship with Christ. Proverbs 22:6 was the promise we stood on, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I guess we were extremely intentional about how we raised our kids. It has paid off and we have been blessed.
Dave Truncone is the pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Van Buren. He is married to Heidi and they have two daughters, Hannah, and Abigail.
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