I have always believed in intentional fatherhood. From the time my girls were little, I did my best to give them my time and my affection. I learned as a parent at a young age that the best thing I could do for them is give them all the affection I could possibly give them.
As a dad I would hug them 12 times a day, kiss them on the forehead and tell them how much their daddy loves them. Big moments in their lives big opportunities and big events were all considered a rite ofpassage. If you know me, you know I am always looking for a reason to plan a celebration. I have always been a hard worker but there was never a time when I didn’t take the time to celebrate my daughters.
As I am writing this, another rite of passage has been completed in my oldest daughter’s life. From the time they were little. I spent time with them accessorizing Barbie dolls and watching TV shows about fashion. We watched “What Not to Wear,” we watched “Four Weddings” — and our favorite, “Say Yes to the Dress.” I had the honor and privilege to pick out the prom dresses for my two girls.
Someone asked me about one of the dresses my daughter wore once at the prom. They could not understand why I did not think my daughter’s dress was inappropriate. They said, “Pastor, you do not think that dress is inappropriate for your daughter to be wearing?” I replied, “Obviously not, since I was the one who picked it out.”
When Abigail got married this summer, the dress she wore was a dress that her and I picked out off the rack together. It was her 11th dress that she tried on. This last Friday, my daughter Hannah picked out her wedding dress. My wife, Heidi, and I were part of the appointment as we went together with Hannah and Abigail met us at the bridal shop.
The task was to pick out the perfect dress. This time it was the sixth dress that Hannah put on. I sat through the previous five dresses. Hannah came out to model the dresses for us. We had said no to the first five dresses. None of them were the right dress.
It was a different story when the sixth dress came down the aisle with Hannah inside of it. I was facing away from Hannah when she walked in the room. However, I caught a glimpse of Abigail sitting there with her mouth wide open. I kept staring forward looking at the mirror when all of a sudden, Hannah’s image filled the mirror as she walked towards the platform. When I saw her, tears began to flow from my eyes. It was like my “Daddy Soul” knew that this was the dress.
This is the one that she is going to wear on her wedding day and this was the one that her fiance would be standing on the platform on the day of their marriage and he would walk down towards her an image of beauty to start their lives together. I thought what a privilege and honor I have been given. I’m blessed to be able to give her away to him.
A dress that Hannah liked quickly became “the one.” This was the dress she would say yes to. It was our reactions that confirmed with her countenance.
Why is this important? For me being involved in these things were not just things that I did because I felt like I had to be there. For me as Dad, I felt it was intentional parenting.
Intentional parenting can be difficult sometimes. It’s when you’ve worked all day and all night, took care of a congregation and did what you had to do. I was there to mourn with people, and I was there to rejoice with others — and yet take the time to prepare a girl for the most incredible day of her life. To be a part of picking the dress was such an honor.
We do not make our decisions as pastors. We do not make decisions as doctors or nurses or teachers or any profession. I believe we make our decisions for everything that goes on in our lives, and we make our decisions as Christian parents. More important than anything they will do in their lives, more important than any job or how much money they make or even who they marry, the most important thing that they need to know is Jesus Christ.
We have taught them from the time they were little to know Christ and to make him known. For Heidi and I, we have no regrets. No parent is ever perfect, but there’s a time when a child looks back at you, no matter if they’re young or old, and they have this look in their eyes and you know that you’ve done something right. Scripture tells us to train up a child in the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it.
We were not perfect as parents but actually there is no perfect parent — we just have to do our best. We taught them from the time that they were little to trust in the Lord. Our convictions became their convictions and our kids have served Christ all their lives.
Pray for your kids daily. Let them catch you in the “act.” Let them catch you on your knees having a conversation with God. Let your kids catch youin the “act” of reading your Bible. Let them see us journaling notes and prayers. What you do in moderation your kids will do in excess. If they copy you when it comes to the right things, you will not just be raising great kids. You will be raising world changers.
Have a great week! Peace on Earth y’all!
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. They live in Van Buren.