FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Blessing Your Child Through Your Words

with Ed McGlasson | June 14, 2007
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Today on the broadcast, former NFL player Ed McGlasson, now the senior pastor of Stadium Vineyard in Anaheim, CA, talks with Dennis Rainey about the rewards that come when a father chooses to bless and encourage his children with his words.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Today on the broadcast, former NFL player Ed McGlasson, now the senior pastor of Stadium Vineyard in Anaheim, CA, talks with Dennis Rainey about the rewards that come when a father chooses to bless and encourage his children with his words.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Former NFL player Ed McGlasson talks about when a father chooses to bless and encourage his children with his words.

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Blessing Your Child Through Your Words

With Ed McGlasson
June 14, 2007
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Ed: Manhood is a moment where the grace of God gives you permission to move into the next season of your life – not your performance.  Because if you're a man because you're acting right, well, then, you can lose your manhood when you're not.  And something happened in me, it was just like I got permission to be a man.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, June 14th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll talk today about how understanding what it means to be a man can have an impact on the lives of your children.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us.  You know, I was thinking about the conversation we're going to have today, and I was thinking back to an interview we did not long ago with Donald Miller who talked about the impact in his life of growing up without a father in the home.  And, really, what we're going to talk about today is the flip side of that story – the impact that a father can have in a home.

Dennis: That's right, and with us to help make that point and, actually, his life makes it very, very well, is Ed McGlasson.  Ed, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Ed: It's great to be here today.

Dennis: Ed is a former NFL football player.  He is senior pastor at Stadium Vineyard in Anaheim, California.  He and his wife, along with their five children, live there in Orange County, and so he is hammering out this thing called fatherhood in one of the toughest cultures in the country and has written a book called "The Difference a Father Makes," and, Ed, unfortunately this message was written on your heart even before you were born, because you never knew your biological father.

Ed: No, my dad was a test pilot in the Navy, and on the 29th of May, 1956, he had a decision to make as his plane was heading for the beaches of Monterey, California.  Eyewitness reports were that he took the plane in to save the lives of the people on the beach.

Dennis: It spiraled into the ocean, and you said as it spiraled into the ocean his widow was then faced with the reality of raising a child who was yet to be born, and that was you.

Ed: That's right.  That car drove up that no Navy wife ever wants to see, and a friend of my fathers, one of the admirals of the base, came by and said to Jean, my mother, that Ed had passed, and they'd lost him at sea, and he had been reading in the Bible the night before, and had looked at her with a very puzzling look, and she ran in and grabbed the Bible where he was reading, and he had circled a single word in the Book of Matthew, and it was the word "come" in the story of Jesus when Peter said, "Lord, if that's you, I want to walk out on the water, and Jesus said, 'Come.'"

 That was the last Scripture my dad read.

Dennis: I want to back you all the way up to your father's death.  As I was reading your book, I couldn't help but wonder what must go through the mind of a boy growing up whose father died a heroic death.  Did you think about that a lot as a boy as you grew up?

Ed: Well, you know, my mother never let me forget, and so I had his pictures around the house, I used to make model airplanes with my stepfather of his plane and heard the story, and it's one of the things that I want to leave as a legacy in my own life, is I want to live my life the same way.

 I've always wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to see people's lives get saved, and so my mom also never let me forget.

Dennis: You know, I like how you parallel that, though.  You don't have to die in a fighter jet.

Ed: That's right.

Dennis: To leave a great legacy.  You can leave a legacy by impacting the next generation, and that really begins, if you're a father, a mother, in your own household with your own children.

Ed: That's right.

Dennis: Now, it wasn't long before – after your father's death that your mom met another man and married, and he became your stepdad. 

Ed: Yeah, a year later, on June 5th, married Eubank McGlasson, and he was a submarine commander, and he was the opposite of a fighter jet pilot, if you ever met one.  They're quieter and they're stealthy.  They'll come up and torpedo you if your room is dirty.

Dennis: The other guy likes to drop bombs on you.

Ed: That's right.

Bob: So, in a real sense, you grew up with a stepfather who was your dad, I mean, from the time you could remember, this was dad around the house, right?

Ed: He sure was.

Bob: And yet he made sure you understood the story of your dad and reinforced that for you.  Why did he make that a priority, do you think?

Ed: Well, I think one of the reasons is that he was really honoring my mother.  And he understood that, being a Naval commander, that what an honor it is for anybody to give their life away.

Dennis: You actually took your stepfather's last name.  Did he adopt you?

Ed: No, he never adopted me.  I'm still – legally, I'm Ed Haskell Tandy McGlasson.  I added the last name to honor him because he was a wonderful father.

Dennis: In what way was he a wonderful father?  Give us some specifics as you were a boy, I mean, here you were, you'd lost your dad, you never knew him, and now God grafts in a stepfather.  How was he a great father to you as a young lad growing up?

Ed: Well, he cared about what I cared about, and that was, you know, football.  I mean, he didn't miss an event, and he did something that was real significant for me – I mean, he had his issues as a dad.  He wasn't a purposeful dad in how he did everything.  Sometimes he fell into a – like much of us do – but what I remember when I was 11 years old, he came into my room and asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I said, "I want to be a pro football player."

 He smiled at me, and the very next morning without me knowing it had bought a Sears airhorn, five-pound ankle weights, wakes me up at 5 a.m., puts these new Keds shoes on me, and –

Dennis: With the Sears airhorn, and he says "Today is a new day, son.  It's time to build a ladder to your dream."  He said, "If you're going to be a great football player in the NFL, you have to be a great runner."  And so he took me four miles from my house, dropped me off, and said "I'll make you any breakfast that you want."  And, of course, I ordered everything I could think of at the time.

 And he did that for my entire young life all the way through high school when he was not traveling.  He built a structure around me, and what it did for me, it gave me tremendous confidence as an athlete because I knew that I was one practice ahead of every one of my friends that was playing on the football field with me.

Bob: You didn't go, "Okay, Dad, I was just kidding, I really don't want to be in the NFL.  Take me back home and let me sleep in?"

Ed: No, actually, the second day I was so sore that I was thinking if I could hitchhike, you know, then I'd throw water on myself.  I was a kid, you know?  But he turned around and kind of figured I would try to do that, and he caught me trying to hitchhike, and he goes, "I'm watching you."  So, to this day, I don't hitchhike.

Dennis: Now, tell me the truth, when he traveled …

Ed: Yes.

Dennis: Did you still get up?

Ed: Yeah, I did.  I ran on the beach.  It became, you know, everything in athletics starts out with discipline, but then there's a season where it turns into a delight where you love the routine.  But if you don't have a structure that someone checks up on you, you'll do it.

 Now, there were days that I missed.  I mean, I wasn't perfect, but my dad always checked in on me.  He goes, "How was your run today?"  That was his first comment.  "Well, Dad" – "Son, we made a deal."  And so he was there to support me.

Bob: I'm guessing your sophomore year in high school you were competitive with the juniors and the seniors, weren't you?

Ed: I was.  I was the fastest lineman in the school, and in the National Football League, I was one of the faster offensive linemen in the whole league.

Dennis: There was another defining moment when you turned 14.  You stood on a dock with your mom as you watched your dad leave port.

Ed: Yeah, he was going for the Med, and back then the Med was war games.  We were in Key West, Florida, and submarines pulling out of its berth.  They used to put in this green dye into the diesel fuel so that it would produce this green smoke, and it's pulling out, the band is playing, but he'd made a mistake.  The keys to the car were in his pocket – that he had driven.  The second mistake was he drove the Volkswagen bug.  And for those who are listening, it's a car that used to have a clutch that we used to us. 

 My mother was a Southern woman, and she would say that that car was beneath her; that a true lady would never use both legs in driving a car.


 And so he grabs a bullhorn, and he yells over the crowd, "Ed, today you are a man.  Drive your mother home," and throws the keys to me.  I remember catching them in my left hand and …

Bob: You're only 14, right?

Ed: I'm 14, and I'd never driven before.  I remember looking at my mother, and I said, "Jean, get in the car."


 That didn't go over well.

Dennis: No, not at all, especially since she knew you hadn't driven, either.

Ed: I went over to the car, and I had watched my dad drive, but I had never practiced.  And he had upgraded the knob to – Sears had a walnut knob you could put on, but the set screw was wrong, so the directions were sideways.

Bob: You're talking about on the stick shift.

Ed: Right, and I ended up – I don't know how I got it home, but I whiplashed my mother all the way home.

Dennis: No, no, no, no, you started it, and you immediately ran into …

Ed: … the bushes because the car was in gear.  I didn't know that.  I just turned it over, but I didn't push the clutch in because I was still trying to negotiate, "How do you drive this car?"  But made it home, and …

Dennis: I know it was a defining for you, as a man, because your dad declared you to be a man, but it had to be a defining moment for your mother who knew you had never driven, to be able to trust you at that point.  Now, seriously, think about it.

Ed: That's right.  I mean, that was a lot of trust.

Bob: Now, we think of that as kind of a humorous anecdote from your past, but you look back on that and say that wasn't just a fun story that I tell, that was a turning point, right?

Ed: It was a turning point in my life.  See, there's a Scripture in the Bible that is hidden and has great power, and it's Paul when he says, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I acted as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things."  Right in there is kind of what I truly believe, is that manhood is a moment where the grace of God gives you permission to move into the next season of your life, not your performance. 

 Because if you're a man because you're acting right, well, then, you can lose your manhood when you're not.  And something happened in me.  It was just, like, I got permission to be a man, and the words of my father who didn't know the Lord at the time, had a prophetic-like proclamation over me that gave me permission to say, "I'm a man now." 

 And from that moment on, I started to lead my mother, and it was hard for her, at first, because most moms see their boys as little boys until they earn the right to be a man, but I do remember that.

Dennis: You know, as I read that story in your book, I couldn't help but think how, in a very real sense, your father on that bullhorn tossing those keys to you typifies what a lot of dads do today with their sons.  They give them a man's responsibility without giving them the instructions and the details and the blueprints of how you are a man and what it means to be a man.

Ed: That's right.

Dennis: You had to have a little bit of a season of discovery of what it meant to be a man.  Where did you get the definition, where did you find out what it means to be a real man?

Ed: Well, my first understanding came a lot from my mother.  My mother was an incredible motivator, and she spoke a lot of life into me.  But alternately, the definition of what a man came into my life didn't happen until Jesus changed my life.

Dennis: You were how old?

Ed: Well, I was in college.  I was in my second year of playing football and had a potential career-ending injury, and I wasn't a church kid.  I had never really been to church, and been chased around by all the different groups on the campus, you know, and they were always weird, and they had Birkenstocks on, and we had Fred the Christian.  He was one guy who was always after me on the campus.  He had this jean jacket with a patch on his back, and it said, "If you don't receive Jesus as your personal Savior, you will sizzle like a Jimmy Dean pork sausage."  So we had that guy.  He was one of our witnesses there.

Bob: There's a great evangelistic message.

Ed: He was so weird that no one would ever listen to him, and so the injury sent me to the hospital, and they told me I would never play football again.

Bob: This was a knee injury.

Ed: A knee injury to my left knee, and they took me back, sent me back to the dorm, and a man came in and said, "Ed, I've watched you.  I've watched your career.  You're really talented, but you lack one thing."  I said, "What's that, Bill?"  He said "Jesus Christ."

 And I looked at him, and I said, "What is He going to do for me here?" and then he read a Scripture to me – John 3:16.  I'd never heard this verse before, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son."  And when he began to speak the word of God, I knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

 You know that moment when the Word comes alive inside of your heart – only God can do that.  Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father unless I draw him," and "For God so loved the world He gave His only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not have to die in their sin but could have eternal life."

 And it was like when he read that, it hit my heart, and he said, "Would you like to receive Him?"  And I wasn't a church kid, I went "Why not?"  And I prayed and received Christ, and then he was getting ready to leave, it was later in the evening.  He said, "Can I pray for your knee?"  And he put his hand on my ice bag and said, "Lord, I just pray you would heal Ed's knee in Jesus' name."  He took his hand off and said, "I'll give you a call tomorrow," and he left.

 The next morning they woke me up and took me to the hospital and shaved my leg, which is really weird, you know, and put that dress on that doesn't tie in the back on a normal sized man and …

Bob: They were going to do surgery on your knee?

Ed: They were going to do surgery the next day, and the doctor comes out and does another set of tests, because back then they didn't have a scope.  It was pull out the chain saw, just open it up and see what you can fix.  And he comes out of after the second set of x-rays, and he says, "I don't understand this."  And I said, "What?"  He said, "Somehow all of your ligaments have been re-attached and you have been healed."

 I couldn't believe the words.  I jumped off the gurney to test my leg, and just started – I figure I need to say something, so I started going, "Hallelujah, hallelujah."  Well, I'm not a church kid, I don't know that the J is silent.  You know, I'd just seen it spelled, and I was just celebrating the Lord there and realized, just in a moment, that Jesus Christ is – it came to a broken-down football player that really lost his career, and He repaired my entire life in a moment.

Dennis: You write in your book that, really, no man can become the man God intended them to become until they meet the Father who came to be a father to the fatherless.

Ed: That's exactly right.

Dennis: We all are fatherless.

Ed: We are.  It started in the Garden of Eden.  You know, when Adam and Eve made that choice, and there's, you know, who did it first?  Okay, where the Bible says that Eve started – it didn't really matter.  They both ate, their eyes were opened, but ultimately what they lost there was the Father.  He is removed.  There is no more God walking around the Garden.  The sun is removed from Creation, and the two curses are very interesting.

 The first is that Man shall really work by the sweat of his brow.  Well, you know, when I saw that, it's just like the Lord showed me that that's why men name themselves by what they do.  You meet a guy, "Well, who are you?"  "Well, I'm a plumber."  "You're a plumber?  You mean when you were born a wrench dropped out of your mom?  God fashioned you like he fashioned Jeremiah in his mind that your life was going to be about plumbing or is there something more?  Is it what you do for a living?"

 And to the women, you know, the curse that's in a woman is that her desire shall be to be over her husband, but she'll be underneath him, and how many girls that I meet today, without being named by their dad is beautiful.  They'll try to turn every boy they meet into the daddy they didn't have.

 And I meet so many who live, you know, who say, "Gosh," in doing funerals, as a pastor, I heard this all the time – "You know, Dad loved you.  He just didn't know how to tell you."  And without that word, without that blessing, you live as a young person, but why didn't dad tell me, why didn't he call me out?

 You know, we've all seen the images over and over again of Tiger Woods' daddy meeting him as the only black champion at the Masters running off the 18th green at 22 years old, hugging his father and saying, "Daddy, we did it, we did it."  And, I mean, everybody cried.  If you have a heart, you cried, and I meet guys who say, "Man, I'd do anything to have a son like that," and I look at them and go, "You do.  The only difference between your son and Tiger is that his daddy told him since he's been a little boy that he would have more affect on the world than Mahatma Ghandi.  He would be the greatest golfer who ever played."  And Tiger Woods believed because his dad blessed him with that.

Dennis: I know there are men listening right now and, for that matter, women who recognize what you're pointing out in your book – that dads can make a difference.

Ed: Yes.

Dennis: And I think the thing that I want to encourage both men and women is that no matter what the past has held, no matter how great the failure, no matter how deep the mistakes that a man has made, with Jesus Christ at the center of his manhood and with Him, with Jesus Christ defining his life, that man can make a difference, and I want to encourage the wives and the women who are listening – do not underestimate your power in helping a man become a real man.  You can point him to the Savior through your life.  In fact, Peter points that out in his epistle in 1 Peter, chapter 3.  He talks about wives winning their husbands without a word.

 I just want to give encouragement to the women who are listening – you have a profound influence in pointing your man to the God who makes real men out of – well, I hate to say "boys," Bob, but God has always been in the business of transforming people and making them into who he designed them to be.

Bob: Well, and then, in the same way that a wife influences her husband, and God uses that in a transforming way in his life, it works the other way as well.  Husbands have a transforming, sanctifying influence on their wives, and then both of them together shape and mold the character of their children, and a dad plays a significant role in that, and that's what's at the heart of the book that Ed has written that we have in our FamilyLife Resource Center.

 If any of our listeners are interested in getting a copy of this book, let me encourage them – go online at and click the red button that you see in the middle of the screen that says "Go," and that will take you to an area of the website where you'll find out more about Ed's book, which is called "The Difference a Father Makes."

 Again, we have it in our FamilyLife Resource Center.  You can get more information or order online at or call 1-800-FLTODAY.  That's 1-800-358-6329.  This is a great book for dads that really reminds us of how critical our role is as fathers and the fact that Ed played for a number of years in the NFL gives you an opportunity to pass this book along to someone who may not even be a Christian but is a football fan and just say, "Hey, I came across a great book about being a Dad written by a former NFL player I thought I could share with you."

 And if you're interested, again, in getting a copy, go online at or give us a call at 1-800-358-6329.  That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.

 Let me also encourage you, when you get in touch with us keep in mind that FamilyLife Today is listener-supported.  About two-thirds of the revenue that we receive in order to operate the ministry of FamilyLife Today comes from folks like you who listen to FamilyLife Today or who attend our events or go to our website or use our resources and who contact us to help support the ministry with a donation of any amount.

 This week we'd like to send you a thank you gift for your donation.  It's a DVD that features a message from our host, Dennis Rainey, for dads on our critical role as being the family minister, the family model, and the family manager.  This message was first given at a recent Weekend to Remember conference, and we would love to make the DVD available to you as our way of saying thank you for your support of the ministry.

 You can make your donation online at, and if you do that, and you'd like a copy of the DVD, when you come to the keycode box, just type the word "dads" in there, d-a-d-s, and we'll send you a copy of the DVD.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY to make your donation over the phone, and just mention that you'd like a copy of the DVD with Dennis Rainey or the DVD for dads.  Again, we're happy to send it to you as our way of saying thanks for your financial support of the ministry.  We appreciate your partnership with us.

 Well, tomorrow we want to talk about some of the specific ways a dad can affirm his children and build into their lives.  I hope you can be back with us for that.  Ed McGlasson is going to be back with us.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Kenny Farris, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today. 

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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