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Patient Parenting

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2020 1:00 am

Patient Parenting

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 14, 2020 1:00 am

In the Bible patience means "long-suffering." Dave and Ann Wilson, along with Bob Lepine, explain why this is so important for parents, and why showing gentle grace in the midst of irritation makes all the difference.

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Listen to the series "Doing Life With Adult Kids" with Jim Burns.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

Do you treat your adult children like they're still your children or like they are adults? Here's Dave Wilson. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Anne Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at Do you find there is some tension in your relationship with your adult children?

Maybe it's because you're still treating them like children and not like adults? We'll talk more about that today. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. I think what listeners are going to hear us talking about today... This is one of the top three questions I get asked by listeners when I'm out talking to people and they're looking for help. And they're desperate? They want to know, how do I have a relationship, a strong, healthy, loving relationship with my adult kids who are starting to view the world differently than I view the world? And starting going directions that I'm going, don't go there.

Don't think that. It's amazing how our kids become adults, isn't it? How they have minds of their own. Sometimes it's sad. And Bob, it was fun for Dave and I to get to do this with you to actually talk on this topic. Yeah, and I think our listeners are going to enjoy the conversation they're going to hear.

But before we take them to that, we're pretty excited. We've been sharing with our listeners over the last couple of weeks. We've had some friends of the ministry who have come to us and said, we know that this has been a hard year for ministries like Family Life today. We want to help at year end. They've agreed to match every donation we received during the month of December, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $2 million.

That's amazing. What a generous offer and gift. And it is a year where we are asking God to help us meet this matching gift. Every donation we receive this month is vital and important. And so we wanted to come to listeners and say, I don't know what you're thinking about year-end giving. I don't know where your family is financially. We know it's been hard for a lot of families this year.

But if you can make a year-end contribution, would you consider a gift to Family Life today to help us continue to provide practical, biblical help and hope for marriages and families? Yeah, you said it, Bob. It's been a hard year for everybody. And I know there's people listening.

Maybe they lost their job. And that's extremely difficult and scary. And I got to be honest, it's scary for ministries as well. I mean, who has ever gone through the kind of year 2020 was?

COVID has shut down our events. And so in many ways, and we pivoted to online and try to help people, but in many ways we are trusting God like never before for people like you and me to say, I believe in this ministry and I want to give. And let me say, I know you're going to be asked to give to a lot of different things. We are as well. And let me ask you, do you believe Family Life is making a difference?

Because you're not just given to an organization, you're given to thousands, really tens of thousands of couples, families. I mean, Ann and I are sitting here, a changed legacy because of Family Life. We don't talk about it a lot, but we would not be the Wilson's. Married? I'm not sure we'd be married. Yeah, I'm just going to say we may not have a marriage. Family Life helped save our marriage and gave us a vision for what the future could look like. And that's what Family Life does. We help. And we say this all the time, but we offer practical help and hope. And you're given to that. You're going to be changing families like the Wilson's by giving a dollar. And I hope it's tens of thousands of dollars.

What an unbelievable opportunity to be matched. And that's God using a family to say, we know this is an important ministry and we want to be a part. So I challenge you, invite you, join us, make a difference, ask God, and then do what he asks you to do. And you guys, has there ever been a time in history, in my opinion, that it's more needed? Right. I mean, as we look at what's happened this year across our globe and across our country, I feel like marriage and family is what is most needed to change our culture.

It starts in the family. And so this could be a great way for us to change the world. For where we're headed as a culture, strengthening families may be the most important thing that needs to happen. That's what we believe.

And that's what you're investing in. So if you can help with the year-end donation, go to, make an online donation or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. Your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar when you donate during the month of December. And we're grateful for your financial support. And we hope you're going to benefit from the conversation you're about to hear. Again, we had a chance to speak to a lot of couples who had come to hear conversation about how we relate and love our adult children, even when things get challenging. We're talking with parents all the time who are blindsided, I think, by the cultural divide and where their kids are landing in the cultural divide and their burden.

When we sat down with our kids on the first night of us all being together and I said, the fact that you all were looking forward to being together with one another, we would have just assumed, well, of course they'd look. They're brothers and sisters. Of course they'd want to be together. But we know friends who have family members who live in the same town. They have brothers and sisters who live in the same town who don't speak to one another in the same town. You can't take for granted that everybody's going to get along.

You can't take for granted that everybody's going to have a consistent biblical worldview or that everybody's going to be walking with the Lord. It's just the reality of the world we're living in today. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, so I remember hearing the term back then, the generation gap. Do you remember hearing about that? So Life magazine in the 60s put up a cover that was the generation gap cover.

He looked, dude, I mean, he's cool looking, right? So it's the parents and the kids and the glasses and they're divided. They can't get along. In fact, I used to sing this in the 60s. You probably did too if you were alive in the 60s. We sang, come mothers and fathers throughout the land and don't criticize what you can't understand.

Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old world is rapidly fading. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand for the times. What?

They are changing. That's what Dylan taught us to sing. So it feels today like we're back in. And by the way, I'm a little younger than Bob, maybe a lot younger, just a couple of years. So I'm a 70s guy and there was another song in the 70s. Remember? People try to put us down.

Remember that one? Talking about my generation. It was the same thing that Dylan was saying in the 60s, the who are 70s is still happening today, but it's different today. How is it different? I mean, it's similar, but there's a different vibe going on in 2020. Some of it was generational. We had the sexual revolution in the 60s that was challenging all of the norms. Well, today we're now eating the fruit of that season and things that 20 years ago we would have looked at and said that would never happen are the norm and being celebrated in the culture and our kids are being catechized by an ever present world.

How are things different? Everybody's hyper connected and so information is coming at us nonstop and it's programming how we think and how our kids think and it's leading us to this hyper divided world we live in. Well, Bob, I've heard you, even on radio for the past year, often you'll refer to Ephesians 4.

And I love that you use that so much. So walk us through that in terms of how is that a foundation that can help us navigate the terrain? So if I'm sitting down, well, I am sitting down with parents of adult kids, I would say Ephesians 4, 1 through 3 is a great place for you to just meditate, maybe memorize.

That's what I've been focusing on is just planting it in my brain. I read this passage and I thought, well, this is talking about how we should get along in the church. But here, this applies not just to church, it applies to how we get along in our families. So Ephesians 4, verse 1 says, Therefore, Paul says, I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you've been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Now, you look at that and you say, okay, what's the goal?

It's down in verse 3. The goal is maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Wouldn't you love to think that with your kids in your extended family, there was the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace?

Well, yeah, that's what we all hoped for and thought would just happen naturally. Yeah, but what if we don't have unity of the Spirit? Well, and that happens in families, right? So if there's not spiritual unity in the family, you can still be pursuing peace and some level of unity, commonality, some level of being able to find the things we have in common that are biblically undergirded.

We may not agree on some issues of doctrine or morality in the culture today, but what can we agree on? And we're going to talk more about this because not everybody's in the same place. Some of you in here are looking and going, our kids have walked away from the faith completely. Some of you are saying, well, our kids still go to church, but it's not a church we'd pick for them to go to.

There are all kinds of that thing going on. Some of you may have heard our interview with Jim Burns who wrote a life called Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Here's a quote. He said he went to speak at this conference and here's what he said. He said, most of us have adult children who have violated our values and chosen a different path than we would have chosen for them.

And when he did that, the crowd moaned in recognition. And I think that's really true. There's this heaviness, like it hasn't gone the way we had hoped. And the subtitle of his book, Keep the Welcome Mat Out and Your Mouth Shut. And there's something to that.

It's not that we never have conversations or dialogue, but the welcome part should be where we're focused rather than the I've got to fix you in the 15 minutes while you're dropped by the house, right? So you look back at this passage in Ephesians 4. It says, preserve the unity of the Spirit, maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

How do you do that? Well, you go back to verse 1. You do it by walking in a manner worthy of the calling. So our job as parents is to have a worthy walk so that our interactions with our kids would be how Jesus would interact with our kids if He was having those conversations with them. And sometimes we think that what Jesus would do is He would just blast them because that's what we feel like doing, right? He'd fix them. He'd correct them. He'd say, you're wrong here and you're wrong there. But how was Jesus with unbelievers?

How was Jesus? The people He blasted were the self-righteous Pharisees. Look at the four words that are in this verse. Humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love.

So let me walk through those. So humility. Humility means that your kids know that you believe I can learn from you just like you can learn from me. Would your kids say, I know that mom and dad listen to me and respect my opinion and they could learn stuff from me? Would they say they've demonstrated that and I know that that's how they think and what they believe? I find a lot of kids today, adult kids who would say, oh, my mom and dad just, they think they've got the corner on the truth. They're the only ones who know. They never listen.

They don't understand. There's got to be a humility that says, I want to hear from you. I want to know what you're thinking.

How did you get to that conclusion? We've got to be having those conversations. It's so hard too. Isn't it hard to do that when your kids are saying these crazy things? Yeah. Yes.

It's hard. I mean, it is interesting if you ever read Shanti's book for parents only. Yes. And it was a study of teenagers. And she found out from research, the number one complaint of teenagers about their parent is, anybody know? They don't listen.

Yeah. And then when you read that, you go, she's wrong. I listen. Then you go ask your kids and they're like, you don't listen. Like, you interrupt me, you correct me. You don't really hear me through.

And I think it's true when they're 30, 35. How many times have we sat down, look them in the eye and not interrupted and just say, tell me why you believe that way? I think what happens is we don't because we're so fearful. Like, I'm just fearful of what they're saying and what they're going to do with their beliefs or whatever. And so I think I'm interjecting.

I want I want I don't now, but I used to because I'm thinking, oh, don't go there because I know where this could lead for you. So it's hard for us as parents just to be quiet. Bob's right. Great listeners have to be humble.

Yeah. You can't listen well unless you're humble because your arrogance means I'm not really listening. I'm going to tell you. Humility means I really think you have something of value for me to learn.

Son, daughter. Let me try to understand. Help me. And even reading what they're reading and trying to figure it out. You know, when when they were teenagers and they would come home and they would say, oh, well, so-and-so said he's gay today and everything inside of you is like, what?

Tell me the whole thing. You freak out and we try to help folks. You have to practice with your teenagers. You're not freak out face. Oh, that's interesting.

Tell me more. You go to the other room and you freak out there. Dave and I freak out together and then we go back.

We have a freak out room in our house. It's where we go. CJ was talking about his friend who's smoking pot. Yeah. It was like I think he was in high school and he was talking about this kid that smokes pot. I said, oh, is he that bad kid? That was those were the first words out of my mouth. This is years ago. And he said, oh, the smoking pot make him a bad kid. Is he a bad kid because he smokes pot, mom?

And I don't know. But it was good for me. It was like I really was helping me to catch the things that come out of my mouth. So we had to learn how to do that when they're teenagers.

Now, when they're 30 and they come home and start saying things that you just have the same freak out. You believe that you watch that you listen to what you're you're voting that way. Right. Yes.

And you got it. Interesting. Tell me more. I mean, we've got to practice this kind of humility that says, I want to see how you got to that place. I want to know more about.

Which you just modeled the second word. Yes. I was going to ask you. So talk about gentleness. You just sort of showed us what gentleness.

But what's that look like? But gentleness means you're not harsh with your kids. You're not angry with your kids. You are kind. You're gentle.

This is interesting. I read this in a book actually coming down here where author said, Jesus, the only way he ever described his character, the only thing he ever said about his character. You know what it was? He said, Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly of heart. Humble and gentle is what he was saying. I'm humble and I'm gentle. So gentleness is this response of grace and self-control in a moment when you're freaking out. It's controlling your anger, your frustration.

It's demonstrating mercy and love and compassion and kindness instead of coming with this anger or this frustration that you feel. I remember, boy, this is 40 some years ago, hearing Gary Smalley, Sr., who is now with the Lord, talk about how to open up a closed spirit. Anybody remember this?

This was on VHS tapes. Yeah. And so he's talking about in a marriage when your spouse is closed up. You've said something. You've done something that hurts her or hurts him.

And he just used the fist like they're just closed. And he goes, You can't open that spirit. You try. You speak. And again, I might be getting this wrong.

It's been 40 years and I had hair back then. But here's the thing. I do remember him saying the only way a closed spirit comes open again is humility and gentleness. He didn't even quote Ephesians 4, but I remember he even said, you know, if you're approaching a son who is close to something you've said or done, get low. I remember him saying, just sit down on the floor. Get on their level.

Below them. Don't tower over and power up. Come in gentle, humble and give grace. And that spirit may not be quick, but it'll begin to open up. And I think it's so true with adult kids. They felt that we've been powered over our lives because, you know, we go from parent to child, to adult to adult. And that's a hard transition for parents to make. It's not as hard for the kid. They want it. They expect it. The first thing I learned when I started dating this woman and then got married is her dad from day one treated me like a man.

Adult to adult. It struck me. I had not been treated by an older man like that. He wanted my opinions. He asked my advice. And I snickered at first, like, you don't really. And he did. And I remember feeling like he respects me, even though he shouldn't.

Because I know nothing. I think by the time we were in high school, my dad would have a topic and he would look around the table and said, what do you guys think about that? And then he'd say something was going on at work and he'd say, what do you think I should do? And to me, that that demonstrates that humbleness, that willingness to still learn and to hear our ideas. And I know he's he's not going to do half the things we ever said. But the fact that he would listen to us, look us in the eye and said, ah, that's interesting. I like I like how you're thinking and I like like where you're going with that.

He may not have, but it made us feel good. Yeah. And think about this, Bob, as you're talking about Paul's writings, humility, gentleness.

Here's a big one. The next word, patience with your kids. What does patience look like? Well, you know what it means? And literally long suffering.

That's the definition of parenting right there. I mean, the word patience means you suffer, you endure, you stay under the weight of something for a long time. The word translated patient in the New Testament is a Greek word that literally means to put your anger or wrath away, to put it far away from you. The first quality of love mentioned in First Corinthians 13, love is what? The first thing.

That's not what we think of when we say define love. We don't think patience. But long suffering is the first thing. To be patient is to be long suffering as opposed to being hasty with anger or punishment. To endure patiently as opposed to losing faith or giving up. You don't give up because your hope is not in your child or how they're responding.

Your hope is in the redemptive power of God in everyone's life. Anytime I'm talking to parents today, I'm walking over here, talk to parents. The mom says to me, yeah, our number two son last month moved in with his girlfriend. And he was the one who said, I'll never do that to you because his older brother had moved in with his girlfriend before they got married. And my son said, yeah, I'd never do that to you, mom.

And now he has. Right? So you look at that and you feel guilt and shame and we failed and all of this. And you think, man, these bad choices, you can start to feel like there's no hope left.

And I say to parents all the time, the story is not over. And God specializes in beauty from ashes. Ashes. Ashes are as bad as it can get. There's nothing left but ashes.

And God can make that into something beautiful. We have some really good friends that have a 40 year old son. It's their oldest. He's been married, divorced. He's living in their home now. Struggled with the job. He struggled with drug addiction. And it's been a long, hard journey.

They've had to be patient and it's been really hard. And yet we were there one night. And when everyone is in bed, I heard the mom put on this praise and worship. And she walks around the house singing over their house, claiming and praying for this son that Jesus will grab a hold of her heart.

And she's praying on her knees and she's doing battle on her knees. And that's a good place to go with our adult kids especially. I think some diagnostic questions to help you figure out how am I at patience. Are you easily provoked by your adult kids? Yes.

Yes. Do you find yourself easily annoyed or angry when your adult kids don't act or think the way you think they should? Are there times when you're interacting with your kids and you start to feel your jaws clenching and your muscles tightening, right? If that's the case, then that shows that there's some lack of patience. And you've got to learn how to trust the Lord and say God's in the midst of this and find your rest in him. So humility, gentleness, patience, and then this last word is forbearance. Tolerance is what it means, which has to do with those areas in a relationship where there are habits or patterns that annoy us. This doesn't mean that you tolerate or you forbear when there's evil. It just means that when there's somebody who acts or thinks differently than you, you can show grace in those situations. Not with overt sin or evil, but with those situations where you just have to learn when things irritate you, you can have grace in another person's life. That's what forbearance looks like. Well, we've been listening to a session we had not long ago with a lot of moms and dads, parents of adult kids, talking about how we continue to build a strong, healthy relationship with our adult children, even when we don't see eye to eye on things.

Yeah, I smile because I can feel the room even now, months later. There was tension because there was real conflict with adult children. They have different opinions, different thoughts, and you have them over for dinner and there's topics you can't bring up because you're going to disagree. And they're making decisions you don't agree with.

Like you were just saying, to have forbearance and grace and mercy in those moments is godly. I'm surprised. I thought when our kids were 18 or really when they're done with college, I just kind of like, okay, we did it. We're done. We're sending them off.

We're launching them. I didn't think I would worry this much or care this much or still continue to have conversations or conflict. Oh, it keeps going and it can be even more difficult. So to have these conversations is really helpful. Yeah, we recorded a podcast a while back with our friend Jim Burns who has written a book called Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Keep Your Mouth Shut and The Welcome Mat Out is the subtitle of the book. The podcast links are available on our website at There's also a link.

You can download the entire workshop that we did together on this subject. Or you can order a copy of Jim's book. We've got that in our Family Life Today resource center. Again, the links are all up at That's If you'd like to call to order a copy of the book, our toll-free number is 800-358-6329. That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today.

If it's easier, call and you can order a copy of Jim Burns' book, Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Now, we mentioned this earlier. We are hoping and praying this month to be able to take advantage of a $2 million matching gift that has been made available to us here at Family Life, friends of the ministry who put this matching gift fund together. Every donation we receive during December is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $2 million.

We've heard from some of you. Thank you for getting in touch with us. If God has used Family Life Today in your life in any way over the last 12 months, and if you can make a generous year-end contribution, we'd love to hear from you right now. Again, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to the matching gift fund, and we'll send you as a thank you gift two items, a copy of my book Love Like You Mean It that's all about how we can apply the definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 in our marriages, and we'll send you a flash drive, a thumb drive that's got more than 100 of the best Family Life Today programs of the last 28 years, programs about marriage and parenting, relationships, programs that feature Dennis and Barbara Rainey, feature Dave and Ann Wilson, many of the guests we've had on Family Life Today. That flash drive and my book are our way of saying thank you for your generous year-end donation. You can donate online at, or you can call to donate 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number, 1-800-358-6329.

It's 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word TODAY. Now, tomorrow we're going to talk about the transition parents need to make as we raise our kids from being their caretaker to being their coach, ultimately to being a consultant. We'll talk about why it's so important to make that transition. That's coming up tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 06:00:24 / 2024-01-15 06:11:41 / 11

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