Last night was a huge ministry night for me! Oh, I don’t mean the size of the crowd. As far as I was concerned, there were only two people in my audience—and I loved it!
It was Daddy-Daughter Dance night for two of my granddaughters, but their father (Greg LaPointe), firefighter-paramedic, could not get off work. What an honor it was for Papa Pete to step up to the plate and be a “dad to two daughters” again, albeit for only a few hours.
Of course, the preparation began with the arrival of the first text message from my daughter Joy. I made sure that I would be in town, and then cleared the calendar for that afternoon and evening. Then there was the follow-up details that most of us dads aren’t all that great at tracking—what color dresses would Brooklyn and Emma be wearing, order their wrist corsages and a boutonniere for myself.
After picking up the flowers, I headed for the car wash. No self-respecting guy would pick up his date (or in my case, dates) with a dirty Black vehicle covered in Michigan’s road salt. Thankfully, it was still clean upon my arrival at their house.
By now, some reader is thinking, “What in the world does this stand-in-dad and his granddaughters have to do with ministry?!” Oh, I’m so glad you asked!
The light that shines farthest shines brightest at home—so much of real ministry is with those who know us best. For too many years, my own five children were at times left in the shadows while Pastor Dale gave their time to other people. Maybe, just maybe, grandchildren are sort of a do-over for some omissions in bygone years.
For me, last night was about setting an example and sowing some seeds in two young girls’ lives. I pointed out that a gentleman opens their doors, and whenever a boy fails to do so, or to treat them respectfully, that’s a warning flag.
They noted the clean truck, so I let them know that they were special, this night was special, and that was an important detail to remember—especially if a young man ever came to pick them up and hadn’t bothered to clean his vehicle. They also heard that young men should never pull into their driveway and blow the horn, expecting them to come running.
At the restaurant, those two turned heads, let me tell you! They walked elegantly behind the hostess to our table, as almost every mother in the place smiled broadly and commented to table mates. Perhaps the girls were oblivious—but Papa Pete caught it.
As they glanced over the menu, it was time for another lesson—always order modestly, perhaps even asking their date if he could suggest something, noting that the young man may be on a strict budget—and that they would know this if they ordered a filet and baked potato, while their date timidly ordered water and a cup of soup!
Interestingly, this conversation prompted one of my dates to change her mind, leaving the adult menu and returning to the kids’ menu! <grin> After a rushed meal—not on the part of our server, but we were close on time when our food finally arrived—we headed back across the icy parking lot to the truck, where the girls waited for their doors to be opened for them.
After checking our coats upon arrival at the school, and against their mother’s instruction that “Pictures aren’t necessary, so don’t spend the money!” we got in line and had our photo taken anyway—because it was a special night, at least for Papa Pete!
Then the fun part … and I’m still not sure who enjoyed the next 1.5 hours more—the girls or me! I have never been a dancer, but I do know that dances have names—waltz, the twist, hokey-pokey, or whatever. After observing last night, I think the entire evening of dance might be called the spasm!
Well, let me clarify that somewhat. After trying to keep up with those two granddaughters (ages 7 and 9), I think maybe it was me who had the spasms! Thankfully, 27 songs into the evening, the DJ played a slow song—something with which I could keep pace!
BTW, do you pray? If so, maybe this is a great time to ask ourselves as adults a few tough questions—like “Am I giving my time to the people and things that are most important in life?” If you, like me, have ever struggled to balance priorities consistently, then you understand the difficulty of that—and hence, the need for prayer.
In the course of a lifetime, there will be many important relationships. At times, we will struggle to find and maintain a proper balance of those relationships. However, apart from your relationship with God Himself, there is no greater than family. Let’s ask the Lord for His strength and wisdom.
I discovered all over again last night the importance of family—a lesson taught to me by two little Valentines!