What Makes an Intentional Father?
By God’s design, fathers reflect His tender and faithful love to us. What are qualities of an intentional dad can we be grateful for?
By Janice Ng
According to the Oxford dictionary, intentional means: done on purpose; deliberate.
Fatherhood is an intentional journey that a man takes to love and support his child(ren) for the rest of their lives. Though fathers can often bear challenges that go unexpressed, those who intentionally enjoy the journey find it incredibly fulfilling. Hear from two Trinitarian fathers – Rick Toh, Spiritual Parent in Area Three and father of two grown daughters serving in Trinity, and Pastor Chung Kah Fei, a youth and children’s pastor at Trinity for the past 13 years who recently became a father.
Both showcase the power of simple intentionality and how it has transformed their fatherhood journeys. This Father’s Day, we want to celebrate them along with every father and father-figure who has been intentional in our lives in the following ways:
Intentional about being present
The role of a father can be reduced to that of a silent provider. But intentional fathers provide for their families while also deliberately making room in their lives to be with their children and celebrate their growth.
Rick: To provide for the family, I spent some time working overseas. This meant that I could not be physically present with my daughters during those years. However, I called or Skyped them daily (before the days of Zoom) to talk with them and ask questions about their lives. These daily calls, though a small thing, allowed me to hear their voices and helped us to stay connected. I witnessed their growth and hoped to be reunited with them again. Thankfully, God brought me back to Singapore to be with them.
Pastor Kah Fei: The joy of observing the growth in my daughter and my spiritual children in church is unlike any other kind of happiness. As a new father, I like to observe little things, such as the increase in my daughter’s appetite, or even her newest ability: smiling!
As I spend time with our children in DiscoveryLand, I take time to hear their laughter fill our service halls. This is not something I take for granted. And when I see the hope in their eyes as they learn about Jesus’ love for them and how some are showing concern for others or even giving out of the little they have to bless God’s house, I rejoice. Some may see all this as small steps, but I choose to celebrate them as great leaps.
Intentional about a good attitude
Dads are often expected to be unshakable pillars for their families even in adversity. This may not come easily, especially as they are dealing with their own discouragement.
Rick: Loving fathers only want to bring good to their families and children. Unfortunately, there are moments where we do things that we think are good, but it backfires or fails to be received the way we want it to. In those moments, frustration and anger are possible reactions. But when I freely admit before the Lord that I am not a perfect parent, I can receive His grace and learn and grow from the situation.
I am not a perfect parent, but I can receive His grace.
Pastor Kah Fei: I always remember how generous Jesus was toward all children. This causes me to pause and reflect about how I need Him to regard them as He did. In Jesus' sight, they are always of great worth; He welcomed and loved them all, not because of who they were or who they would become, but simply for who they are.
Intentional about unconditional encouragement
Pastor Kah Fei: As parents, we love our children and want the best for them, but sometimes we can be quick to operate in a corrective mode without first extending love and compassion. I love to encourage our children by first seeing the best in them, rather than their faults. This is how our Heavenly Father sees us.
If we see them engaging in questionable hobbies or influences, take time to learn about their interests and affirm the good you see. Often, as we take the time to listen, we encourage our children to open up about the reason for their attraction to certain people or activities. In so doing, questionable influences and hobbies can be offered meaningful replacements. This prevents us from inadvertently shortchanging their development or breeding resentment due to deprivation. Rather, we can encourage them in their giftings.
As we take the time to listen, we encourage our children to open up.
Rick: My role as a father is to spur them on in their faith journey and encourage them at every season in life. There was a time when my daughters dropped out of church in their teen years. But my wife Mic and I continued to encourage them with reminders of the goodness of God and about how He has seen our family through many seasons.
As we prayed for them, they both finally encountered God in a powerful way in their university years. We thank God that just as He never gives up on us, we never gave up on loving them. Though my daughters may have minds of their own, I will always be there for them, just as our loving Heavenly Father is always there for us.
To current fathers, father-figures, and fathers to be, thank you:
For giving us grace and truth in our times of self-discovery and wandering
For celebrating not only our milestones, but the small ‘victories’ along the way
For bearing our burdens with great love, not bitter complaint
For committing your life to being used by God to impact our generation and the ones to come
“An intentional father is someone who has taken the time and opportunity to speak into their children’s lives. As a father myself, my greatest joy and fulfilment is seeing my children pass through the rites of passage in life knowing Jesus and stepping into their destiny!” says Lead Pastor Dominic Yeo.
Without fathers who made a conscious choice to love us at all times, we would not be where we are today. Fathers, you are a gift. To God be the glory – Who is the everlasting Father of lights and giver of every good and perfect gift that comes from above (James 1:17). Bring your dad along to our Father’s Day service this weekend (Jun 18 & 19) as we honor and celebrate this special day together.
About the Author Janice enjoys shooting hoops with her husband and chasing the shuttle with her Connect Group mates from XCel. Growing up in Trinity since 1988, she admittingly spends too much time in the ballet studio.
Reflect & Respond
How has this article inspired you to raise the next generation for Jesus, whether as a father, spiritual parent, or person of influence?
This Father’s Day, we thank God for all the wonderful fathers and father- figures in our lives. Use these e-Cards to express your love and blessings to the dads in your life! Download now at our FB album > e-Cards.
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