A Taste of Art of Parenting
About the Guest
Hear excerpts of various guests, including Phil Vischer, Bryan and Korie Loritts, Ron Deal, and Susan Yates sharing their experiences pertaining to FamilyLife's Art of Parenting™.
Hear excerpts of various guests, including Phil Vischer, Bryan and Korie Loritts, Ron Deal, and Susan Yates sharing their experiences pertaining to FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™.
A Taste of Art of Parenting
Bob: Parenting has its challenges today; right? Alistair Begg says there are parents today who are in desperate need of counsel and mentors.
Alistair: I see moms, you know, with one of these here and one there and another one there at the absolute limit of their emotions—tyrannized and without any mechanism in their framework of existence in order to handle the situation.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 4th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear some wisdom for parents today from a whole bunch of people: Tim Kimmel, Bryan Loritts, Ann Wilson, Phil Vischer, Susan Yates, Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick. I’ll quit there. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.
So, it’s a pretty exciting week with a lot of our listeners who came out Tuesday, came out last night for the Like Arrows movie that was in theaters. Our hope, Dennis, is that these movies would not just end when the movie was over; but that listeners who came out and joined us will be motivated to take some action and rally other parents and begin a movement.
Dennis: Movies entertain; movies move us emotionally; and in this case, we’re wanting to move people more than just emotionally. We want their feet to move—
Dennis: —to establish an Art of Parenting™ small group as a result of what they’ve seen in the movie.
Bob: Yes, in fact, there are really two ways to engage with the new Art of Parenting video series we’ve created. There is an online course that parents can go through. A couple can start watching the material online. A mom or a dad can do this on their own. It’s free; but we’re—
—hoping that there will be just a whole army of folks who would get together with five / six / seven other couples and start to go through the material we’ve created—a video series, eight sessions—called FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting.
We thought today we’d help our listeners understand what’s included in this series. The way we wanted to do that is help you listen to a little bit from Session 1 of FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting. The place we start with the video series is the place you started when you first created the FamilyLife Parenting Conference, years ago. We start by talking about what it is that kids need most from a mom and a dad. Moms and dads need to understand what’s the assignment that’s been given to us and what do our kids really need from us.
Dennis: They need other parents coming alongside them to clarify exactly what it is that children really need because if you just let the children tell you what they need, they are going to be self-serving.
Bob: So, we went around and interviewed more than a dozen contributors—pastors, authors, speakers, medical doctors. We got input from a lot of people. In fact, we’re going to hear, right now, from Tim Kimmel, Bryan Loritts, Ann Wilson, Fred Mach, and Phil Vischer as they answer the question: “What is the goal of parenting?”
[Excerpts from FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting]
Tim: Most parents think their job is food, clothing, shelter, health, education, and welfare; and it is. You are giving birth to a human being. They expect you to do that, but we also expect you to do that if you have a dog or a cat or a fish. Those are important parts of the child’s upbringing; but they are B-priorities.
Bryan: I think most parents in America say, “I want my kids to be happy,” and / or, “I want them to be successful.”
Ann: I feel like—“Oh my gosh! That’s not good enough.” First of all, there’s going to be so much hardship and heartache that our kids are going to experience.
Happiness is just an emotion that comes and goes.
Fred: What does happiness look like? It’s kind of difficult to answer. It’s kind of this ephemeral—“I want them to feel good. I want them to be successful.”
Bryan: Therefore, I’ve got to have my kids, kind of, on this fast-track to being in a corner office somewhere by the age of 25; instead of going—“Where is this child? What is their bent? What is the way in which I should train them up?” I’m now putting them in situations in which they are not flourishing; they’re floundering.
Phil: Then, as parents, we measure our success or failure—“I didn’t get them into enough lessons. I didn’t start them early enough. If I started—because look on Facebook, that kid—he started when he was two; and now, he has a full-ride scholarship, and he’s going to play in the NFL. His life is set up forever.”
We do that to ourselves constantly; but when we measure our parenting on a scale of—“Is he in the top of his class, is he the best on his team?”—
—we without knowing it have become legalists.
Bryan: Right here in Palo Alto, there are some train tracks. On these train tracks, there is a tent set up—just off the train tracks—with a police officer. I said to my executive pastor, “What is this?” He goes—“Well, they’ve had a rash of 10 / 11 / 12 year old kids throwing themselves in front of trains; and it’s because their parents are pushing them too hard. So, they realize a B or a C isn’t going to cut it; and the only alternative is—these 10 / 11 / 12 year old kids have in their thinking is death.”
Bob: Well, again, that is Bryan Loritts along with Phil Vischer and Fred Mach, Ann Wilson, Tim Kimmel. The goal of parenting is not to press our kids too hard, and it’s not to make them happy. We have to know clearly what it is God’s—
—calling us to as we raise the next generation.
Dennis: A couple—a mom and dad—have to be one. They have to be in agreement about what the goal and the objective is. Otherwise, they could be pulling the child in opposite directions. I sat there listening to Bryan’s comment about having a police tent near the railroad tracks—
Dennis: —because 11 and 12 year old kids are killing themselves. I mean children need parents—period—but they need us to be parents, not their buddies, not their best friend. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be friends with our kids, but that’s not the primary goal of parenting. It’s to train your child and to equip them and to protect them from the world they’ve got to live their lives in.
Bob: Continuing in Session 1 of FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting, Phil Vischer, Tim Kimmel, Bryan Loritts, again, along with Susan Yates, and Jessica Thompson talk about where our focus ought to be as parents.
[Excerpts from FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting]
Phil: In management, they say, you get the behavior you reward. If people get applause in your family because they won the big game or got straight-A’s, then, that is the culture you’ve shaped. So, you want to back up and say, “What do I actually want to reward?” It’s a different set of values. Kingdom values are a different set of values.
Tim: If you start out your job knowing how long this kid is going to live and keep that in mind at all times, everything changes. I happen to know how long every kid lives. They live forever. You need to raise your kid with eternity in mind. When you do, then, all these other things—these B-priorities—which are very important priorities—feeding them and clothing them and educating them and all that stuff—I think they are done far more effectively and in balance.
Bryan: Raising kids in America, if I do nothing intentional, I am going to release into this culture narcissistic, entitled individuals who think the world revolves around them. Trying to create an other-centered view of life,—
—I think is really what we’re trying to get at here.
Susan: This begins at a very early age. It begins at the dinner table: “Who was somebody in your class today that’s maybe feeling a little bit lonely or whose family is going through a hard time? How can you care for that person in your class?” We always want to be thinking other. This is a great thing you can do together as a family.
Tim: The A-priority of a parent is to connect to the heart of a child, in such a way, that makes it easy for that child to connect to the heart of God.
Phil: If we want to expose our kids to God, we need to view them like God views them.
Jessica: He welcomes the son who was the prodigal who ran away. He runs to greet him. Then, you have the self-righteous, older brother outside; and he says, “Come into the party too”; right? That heart toward both is what we need.
Bob: Really two themes coming through there from Jessica Thompson and Susan Yates, Tim Kimmel, Bryan Loritts, Phil Vischer—
—and the themes are need to raise kids to be others-centered and to be connected to God. You need to teach them to love God and love your neighbor. I’ve heard that somewhere before; haven’t you?
Dennis: What I’d say is, it’s connecting them to God that will help them be others-centered—
Dennis: —because as they relate to God, He is perfectly capable of using you as a parent and using any number of circumstances to humble your child and help him realize there is a God, and it’s not him. Children need parents to realize that the universe does not—does not—circle around them.
Bob: It’s easy—in fact, it’s probably natural for a home to become child-centered when a child comes into the home. Moms and dads have to be intentional and purposeful to say, “We’re not going to have this home centered around our child. Our child is a welcome member of the family but not the center of the universe.”
Dennis: It’s why a date-night between a mom and a dad, getting away from the kids, is really important just to recalibrate as a couple and go—“You know what? We’re in charge here. We may not feel like it a good bit of the time, but we’re in charge. We need to be taking each of our children in the direction that God wants them to go. We know that God wants them to love Him first and foremost.”
Bob: The date-night—you bring that up—it’s one of the key things we talk about in Session 1 of the Art of Parenting. What kids need most from a mom and dad is for Mom and Dad to have a strong, healthy marriage relationship. We’re going to hear about that from, again, Tim Kimmel and Susan Yates but also Eric and Erikah Rivera, Ron Deal, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Dave and Ann Wilson, Bryan Loritts, Phil Vischer, and Jessica Thompson.
Dennis: That’s quite a lineup, Bob.
Bob: There is quite a lineup here.
[Excerpts from FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting]
Tim: You know there was a time when Darcy and I stood before some people, and we married each other. We were basically making a commitment to start writing a love story. So, a love story is just like a novel. It has chapters.
Well, a chapter came along called Karis, then Cody, then Shiloh, and Cole. These four children became part of this story we were telling, but we knew for us to do the best we could for them their story must always be insubordination to our story.
Susan: It’s so easy in our culture today for us to put our kids first. We want to be good parents; and what can happen—and it can be very subtle—is that you put your marriage on hold.
Erikah: We tell our kids that Mommy and Papi—we’re a team, and you can’t break up this team. I think that that brings about security in them.
Ron: We all know couples in first marriages can give their marriage away to their kids; but when kids preceded the marriage—like in a blended family situation—couples have got to work even harder at making their marriage a priority so they can lead from a position of unity.
Alex: As your kids grow, if they see or even sense—“You know what? My mom and dad might love each other, but I’m the”—
—“important one here, and Mom will break with Dad to meet my need.” What’s going to happen when they become adults? That track record is going to continue to their children, and that’s harmful on the marriage.
Stephen: So, after the children come, many times the mom is pouring into the child; Dad goes back to work a lot of times. He’s prioritizing work, and the husband has to be very careful that he is not overly selfish. It’s somewhat important for him to take a sacrificial attitude; but yet, it’s also important for the wife to remember the marriage is the bigger priority.
Jessica: My husband and I have been married 21 years this year. As we talk about those earlier years, he did feel neglected.
Eric: I remember the temptations with a newborn child—feeling resentful toward him, like—“You took my wife away”; you know?
Jessica: So, those early years are hard.
Ann: I think that we struggled through that, but what we figured out is we had to have a date-night.
Stephen: I’m a big believer in continuing to date your spouse throughout your marriage and telling the kids,—
—“We’re getting a sitter tonight, and I’m going to go prioritize Mom.”
Dave: I felt like it was my responsibility to get the sitters / to take care of that so she didn’t have to think about it. Date-nights every week—it took—not kidding—90 minutes for her to show up across the table at that dinner table. She was there, but she wasn’t there because her heart was with those children.
Susan: This is not a time to talk about whatever hot issue you have because then neither one of you is going to want to go out. It’s going to be a real downer. Date-night is reserved for building a friendship—that friendship that brought you together in the first place.
Bryan: I think it’s just healthy for them to know you’re not the center of our world. In fact, on the pecking order, you’re about number three. There’s God; there’s my wife Korie; then, there is you.
Phil: A healthy marriage creates the context for healthy parenting which creates the context for happy kids. So, if you want happy kids, swim upstream.
Work on good parenting and swim upstream from that and work on a good marriage.
Bob: Don’t you love getting parenting advice from Bob the Tomato? [Laughter] That was Phil Vischer along with Bryan Loritts and Dave and Ann Wilson, Jessica Thompson, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Ron Deal, Eric and Erikah Rivera, Susan Yates, Tim Kimmel—great lineup of folks making the point—and it’s a solid point—“Your marriage has got to be strong if you want healthy kids.”
Dennis: The point of going through the Art of Parenting with other couples is letting them rub off on you—
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: —and give you courage to make your marriage priority; to make your convictions clearer and strong; and then to do what you said you’re going to do because I think kids have a way of wearing us down / wearing us out, and we just kind of cave in.
Bob: When you go through this material from the Art of Parenting—we’re listening to Session 1 today—when you go through it with other couples, if you go through it with older couples, you have mentors there.
One of the points we make in Session 1 is that parents need mentors. In fact, we’re going to hear about that from Alistair Begg, Bryan and Korie Loritts, and Stephen Kendrick.
[Excerpt from FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting]
Alistair: Well, you know, when you are young as parents—unless you’ve been well parented yourself—you really have very little framework. I mean you can read books, but I suppose I just speak in passing to the importance of good role models and surrounding ourselves as young parents with people that we admire and who have, apparently, done a good job on it.
I see moms with one of these here and one there and another one there at the absolute limit of their emotions—tyrannized and without any mechanism in their framework of existence in order to handle the situation. The Bible answers that: “Good models of older people can help those young couples distinguish between what is helpfully punitive”—
—if you like—“and what is reformative at the same time.”
Bryan: I think one of the best things single parents can do is to try to recruit mentors and to be in social networks where you can find positive mentors who share your values. I think that way you can kind of fill in the gaps. One of my best friends in life—he grew up in a very dysfunctional home, and his biological father wasn’t around. My dad filled in those gaps. He did it for a lot of young men at our church. To see, decades later, the healthy trajectory that these individuals are on—they all say, “We saw vision of what could be.”
Korie: I was definitely more rough around the edges when I was younger—just the pain of divorce. To have a community to rally around these single parents and around these children that don’t have a mom or a dad, it is important—and to know that they are a part of something greater.
Stephen: It is so important that we look for someone who is—
—further down the road than we are and is doing it right; and we’re going to them; and we’re saying, “Tell me what you’ve learned. You’re further along than I am.” We don’t have to learn everything the hard way; you know? We might as well learn from those that are doing it right and are further along than we are.
Bob: Well, again, from Session 1 of the Art of Parenting, the priority of mentors—it’s important for moms and dads.
Dennis: Whether you’re a nuclear family, a single parent, or a blended family—all parents need mentors.
Bob: That gets addressed in this series—single parenting, blended families. Really the place we land in Session 1 is around the idea that what’s most important for you as a mom and a dad is what you model as parents. We’ll hear about that from Dave and Ann Wilson, Ron Deal, Alistair Begg, Kevin DeYoung, Bryan Loritts, and Tim Kimmel.
[Excerpt from FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting]
Ann: I think the greatest thing you can do for your kids spiritually to teach them is for us parents to walk with God.
Dave: Live it.
Ann: I think that our kids—they are not listening to us as much as watching us.
Ron: Kids really need to see us connecting faith and life. So, you may be driving down the road one day. Your kid is sitting in the car, and you just start talking out loud about a decision that you’ve been working on that last week. Maybe, it had to do with how you were going to spend your money on something.
You decided to give it to somebody else or do something with it for somebody else rather than spending it on yourself—something selfish. You’re just talking out loud around this decision that your kids have no idea has been going on in the background of their life; and you’re sharing all of that, and the point is you’re showing them how faith connects to real life.
Alistair: Those kinds of things in Scotland, we would say, is better felt than telt. There is a dimension to it. There is an ethos to it that is picked up on by the child that may take years for them to suddenly figure out—“Well, this is actually what was happening there.”
From the parental perspective, I think it’s imperative to be purposeful in that way and authentic in that way.
Kevin: If your kids learn from years and decades that they get up on Sunday morning and they go to church—Mom and Dad brought them there—that they pray before they go to bed, that they pray before meals, that they see Mom or Dad in the chair on the couch reading their Bible in the morning, and they learn how to do that. All those habits of grace are really important, and we can do it in a way that’s legalistic and unhelpful; but hopefully, people see it modeled in their parents so that they develop it themselves.
Bryan: I’m keenly aware that whatever perceptions they have of God at ages 25 / 30 / 40—whatever—I shaped that. I mean I have to own that. To me, that’s one of the biggest, joyful burdens of parenting. I am hand-delivering them their perception of who God is.
Maybe, you’re the first in your family history.
Tim: I think the thing that carries the most weight for the influence we could have for the Gospel is when they see us trust the God of the Gospel—no matter what comes our way.
Bob: Well, there you go—a quick overview of Session 1 of our new Art of Parenting video series. What’s the goal of parenting, the priority of marriage, the need for mentors, and what we model—that’s as important as anything we teach; isn’t it?
Dennis: It is. Bob, what our listeners don’t realize is you just touched the very top the iceberg here.
Dennis: There is a lot more underneath the waterline in the Art of Parenting including teaching your kids to have healthy relationships with God and with their siblings and with others who don’t believe like them. Then, a second area is character: teaching your children to be wise and not be foolish;—
—identity—sexual, emotional, spiritual identity; and finally, mission: how you can train your children to be on mission in a culture today that, if they are not on mission—if your kids don’t know where they are going—the culture is going to seduce them away—
Dennis: —from God’s mission for their lives.
Bob: It seems to me that we really need to take just a minute here and say a big thank you, not only to the contributors who are a part of the Art of Parenting video series and the online course that we put together, but a really big thank you to the people who support this ministry. It’s our friends / our donors who have made the movie this week that has been in theaters and now this new video series—they’ve made all of this possible.
The fact that we can put this Art of Parenting course online for free is because folks believe in what FamilyLife is all about, and they want to see this message out to more people.
So, those of you who are not just regular listeners but supporters of this ministry—“Thank you for making everything we’re doing with the Art of Parenting possible.”
By the way, if you are a regular listener and you’ve never made a donation or if you’re not one of our monthly Legacy Partners, the people who are really the financial backbone for all that we’re doing—during the month of May, we’re asking you to consider making a donation or becoming a Legacy Partner.
We’ve had some friends who have made funds available as a matching gift. So, as our listeners are able to respond this month, your donations are going to be matched dollar for dollar up to the total amount of the matching gift. If you become a Legacy Partner this month and you make a first donation, not only will your donation be matched this month, but every donation you make for the next 12 months is also going to be matched dollar for dollar.
We’re praying that God would raise up 300 new Legacy Partners during the month of May. Stop and think about that—that’s just six families in every state where FamilyLife Today is heard.
Would you be one of those six families in your state and become one of our new legacy partners?
In addition to having your donation matched, we’d like to say, “Thank you for becoming a Legacy Partner,” by sending you a certificate for a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway that you can use for yourself or you can give as a gift. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information; or call and say, “I’d like to become a Legacy Partner.” Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Our phone number is 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
If you’d like more information about the Art of Parenting—either the online course or FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting DVD series for churches and small groups—go to FamilyLifeToday.com. The information is available there. The kits are available, and you can sign up to start taking the online course immediately. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
With that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for joining us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. Then, I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to talk with a woman who has done thousands of hours of counseling with people about intimacy issues in their marriage. We’ll talk about the importance and the power of a healthy, intimate marriage relationship. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry.
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