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What to Wear | Catherine Parks

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2024 1:00 am

What to Wear | Catherine Parks

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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January 6, 2024 1:00 am

One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is how to find their true identity. On our first Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman of 2024, author Catherine Parks gives help for parents of middle-schoolers. This is a pivotal time in their spiritual development as they learn to make wise life choices. Don’t miss the helpful conversation on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.


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And these are the things that you're called to put on now that your identity is in Christ. And it was really fun to go through those one by one and to see the Lord stir in them a desire to put on what fit with their new identity.

Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Will your children learn algebra, science, how to diagram a sentence, and how to play a musical instrument, but do they know how to become more like Jesus? Today, author Catherine Parks offers help to parents of middle grade children on what to wear. Now that's actually the title of Catherine's book, the full title, What to Wear, a Kids' Bible Study on Looking Like Jesus.

You can find out more at our website, This is actually a Bible study on a really rich passage of Scripture in Colossians. So I'm glad we're going to be able to dig into it today here on our first program of the new year. But Gary, even though this is for middle schoolers, I'm seeing a lot of takeaway for you and me and parents who might be listening too.

Thank you. Exactly right, Chris. I was looking at that and thinking, wow, we're not going to teach this to our kids till we learn it.

So yeah, I want parents to stay tuned, but adults who don't even have children, I think, will also profit from what we're going to talk about today. Let's meet our guest. Her name is Catherine Parks. She's the author of several books, including two middle grade biography collections, Strong, How God Equipped Eleven Ordinary Men with Extraordinary Power, and Empowered, How God Shaped Eleven Women's Lives. She's also written Real, you're going to like this one, Gary, The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships.

She serves as an acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers. Catherine and her husband, Eric, live in Nashville in that area in Tennessee, along with their children, Sophie and Micah. You can find out more at our website,

Look for her book there, What to Wear, a Kids' Bible Study on Looking Like Jesus. Well, Catherine, welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you. It's so good to be with you. Before we get into the study, which I'm really excited about, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, how you and your husband met, basically, who is Catherine Parks? Yeah, so my husband and I have been married for almost 19 years, and we've lived in the Nashville area that whole time. We met in East Tennessee at a small Christian college, and our kids are not pastors' kids. But my husband is a filmmaker, and we just love the Middle Tennessee area and our church home. We lead a small group and just have really found beautiful community here.

Our kids are 16 and 13, so we are entering into all the wonderful teenage things and really, really loving this stage of life with our kids. Well, it sounds exciting. It also sounds like you enjoy writing. Chris was listing some of the books you've already written in addition to the one we're discussing today, and you enjoy working with writers if you're an acquisitions editor. The book you wrote on deeper relationships, what was the impetus behind that book? I am not an extrovert, and I have learned over time really through some key friendships that the Lord has given me that I have a really hard time going deep with people. It was through one key relationship that I realized a lot of my issue was that I wanted to hide my struggles and my sin, and I have a desire to appear perfect and competent in all of these ways. He did a lot of work in my heart through studying, especially Psalm 51, David's confession after his sin, and realizing that the key to deeper relationships is openness.

It's confession, and if we confess our sins to God, then we have the freedom to confess it to one another. If we know that we've been forgiven and unconditionally loved in Christ, then that should open us up to be willing to talk to other people about our weaknesses and shortcomings. As I studied several passages of scripture, I just realized this is the key to what I'm missing in my relationships is an openness and honesty with them.

The Lord was really faithful to bring me the relationships to show me that. I think when we recognize those things and then write, and our writing grows out of our own experience, it always, I think, has an element about it that touches the hearts of people because people really do appreciate someone that is open about their own struggles. That book, I'm sure, is going to be a help to a lot of people.

Well, let's talk about the new book. It's a Bible study for ages 8 through 12, approximately. Have you worked with that age group yourself, and what have you learned about them?

I wrote this book when my kids fit into that age group, but I had also spent quite a bit of time teaching second, third graders in our local public school system as a substitute teacher. These kids are inquisitive. They seek a deeper understanding, and they're wanting to know why things are the way they are on a deeper level. This sweet sense of justice that they have, if you are a teacher or a parent that age, you know that they're always tattling on each other.

It's because they want things to be right. They see right and wrong pretty clearly at that age. It really just gave me this love for them and for the growth that happens in those ages. I think that was some of the background, and then when my kids were that age and I had the opportunity to do some Bible study with them, it was just a really sweet time to meet them on their level and see how they related to the Word. Yeah. Well, as I understand it, you came up with the framework of the study during the whole COVID lockdown a couple of years ago. What drew you to this passage in Colossians that we're going to be talking about and that much of the book is based on?

Yeah. The Lord had given me the opportunity to study Colossians with a group of women on Saturday mornings. It's one of those books that I had probably read multiple times, but when you go through it verse by verse with a group of people, things just start to jump off the page. I remember one of the girls in our study time said, her translation translated the verse, your life is found in Christ as your real life is found in Christ. That just really stuck with me, this idea of the real life that we are meant for is not our former life. It's not the things that we get caught up in on a day-to-day basis. It's found in Christ.

We are in Him already if we've trusted in Him. That was kind of in my mind and Colossians 3, this put off and put on section was really something that I had been meditating on. It felt like it was a really key thing to talk to our kids about. I think they've learned the fruit of the Spirit and there's some overlap here, but this felt like a very concrete, like this is your former identity. These things were the things that you were marked by before you came to Christ.

These are the things that you're called to put on now that your identity is in Christ. It was really fun to go through those one by one and talk to the kids about them and see how they related to it, how they saw those things in their own lives, whether it was the good or the bad, and to see the Lord stern them a desire to put on what fit with their new identity. Well, it's a powerful passage and I'm looking forward to talking about it today. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times best seller "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to hear a past program, take an assessment of your love language or see our featured resource today, go to It's written by Catherine Parks and it's titled, What to Wear, a Kids Bible Study on Looking Like Jesus.

Find out more at Well, Catherine, no question about it. Identity is huge in today's world. You want to help teach children about finding their identity in Christ. You talked a little bit about that in our last segment, but why is that so important? Well, I think we see that all over culture right now, right? These questions of identity and who gets to determine our identity and kids are not immune to that. I think a lot of the battleground for identity is it's happening before kids are in high school. It's a critical age for them to understand who they are and what they're being told so much of the time is that they just get to decide that based on their feelings.

On to the fact that that's unbiblical, it's also too much weight. I can't imagine as a nine or 10 year old being told, you just get to figure out who you are based on what you're feeling. Ask any nine and 10 year old. They know that their feelings change from minute to minute, much less day to day. It's really important in letting them know you don't have to determine your identity because it was determined before you were ever born. We look at Psalm 139 and the way that the Lord knows us and lovingly formed us and created us and knew our days before we were born. That is the kind of limit that is so beautiful and it's the kind of fence that kids need so that they can just safely thrive within the parameters that the Lord has set up for them.

Unfortunately, our culture says that that's restrictive and oppressive. I think our kids just need to know this is actually beautiful. It's good and it's freedom that God has given us to live in the identity that our creator has given. Speaking of identity, Colossians chapter 3 and verse 12, which you quote in the book, says therefore God's chosen ones, holy and loved. Why is it so important for kids to believe that God values them greatly? I think these three things affect all of us, even in adulthood, but especially kids. I would say these are three of the core fears that kids have at this age, that they won't be chosen, they'll be overlooked or left out, that they're not good enough, the holiness piece of it, that they are shameful and they don't have a purpose in their lives, and then that they're unloved or unlovable, that they're unworthy of someone's love. For us to start at the beginning of this passage and say, in Christ, God, your creator has declared you chosen, holy and loved.

All those fears that you're experiencing that you won't be accepted or you aren't good enough. The Lord has already said who you are, and we can believe Him instead of the people around us or our friends whose feelings change from day to day. There's a security in that that our kids need and that we need, right? Yeah, absolutely. Catherine, can a parent help a child understand something about this, the identity in Christ, when maybe they haven't fully grasped that for themselves? Yeah, that's a great question. I think so much of the time we are battling that. It's like trying to explain the Holy Spirit to your kids.

It's very complicated for us to understand. My prayer is that my kids would grow in an understanding that is beyond mine, but I think the question of whether we can pass on something that we don't possess, I don't think we can. This is something that we as parents have to battle. It's something that we have to take to the Lord on a daily basis because I would say that we face all of these things.

I'm 41 years old and there are still times that I feel unwanted or I feel overwhelming shame about things or I feel unlovable. What we can do for our kids, I think, is be honest about those things, even in front of them, and then show them how we take those feelings to the Lord and ask for His help to believe what He has said about us instead of just what we're feeling in any given moment. We're talking about things we should put on or a child should put on, but in the first part here, Colossians chapter 3 verses 8 through 10, it has a list of things that we need to take off – anger, wrath, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. Can you kind of go through some of these and talk about how culture exhibits these very things today and how we can avoid those things? When I think about this list, it's easy for us as adults if we're on any kind of social media to see this or if we ever watch cable news, we see this on a daily basis, really on an hourly basis. But I was thinking about where kids see it and my son is playing basketball right now and I think you can go to almost any youth sporting event and see many of these things on display right now – anger, wrath, unkind words, and even dishonesty in order to win a game or express how upset we are with the referees or the coaches or the other players.

We've read sports news stories about parents assaulting players or coaches assaulting players and I just think this is not unusual for our kids. They're seeing it and unfortunately they're seeing it displayed by adults and their lives. To call them to something higher is really hard when they're not even seeing the responsible adults and authority around them putting off these things. But I also think the good thing about it is that they have a very clear idea of this. You're not explaining difficult concepts to them. They know what filthy language is.

They know what anger and wrath look like. They've probably been slandered or heard someone around them being slandered and the idea is they've seen enough of it that they probably know this is not something I want and I don't want to be identified by this and I understand why the world is like this, but if we're teaching them to have their identity in Christ, then hopefully they see I don't want people to say that about me. I don't want that to be the way that I live because hopefully they have a love for God that transcends those things. Yeah, and I think all of our listeners can identify with what you just said because we've all seen this, if you're out of the house at all, interfacing with others or maybe in the house just watching what's on TV and other technology. We see all these things all the time. So to say to a child, you know, here's a good example of what we don't want to be like, you know, and as you said, they probably already have a concept inside.

That's not good. That's not right, you know, so I think because we're made in God's image, there is a sense of rightness and wrongness inside every child. Well, in Colossians 3 also, we're called on to put on some things and one of those things is compassion. So how do we teach our kids to show compassion in a way that doesn't excuse wrongdoing or sin? Yeah, compassion, the definition that I came to in this study is deeply feeling the suffering of others and taking action to help. And I think, you know, there's that distinction, we can feel pity a lot of times, but that doesn't necessarily motivate us to action.

But when we look at Jesus, he was fueled by love. And that's what motivated, you know, turned that compassion into action on the behalf of people that he was feeling love for. And when we are raising our kids in this culture, where they're seeing so many things that go against God's Word, it can be hard sometimes to teach compassion without feeling like we are giving other people license to sin.

And this is something that I've walked through a lot with my kids as they've gotten older. I think some kids kind of are naturally very justice oriented, like we talked about before. And so they will see right and wrong and they will call out sin for what it is, but it might be harder for them to feel that compassion. Other kids, I think, are more naturally compassionate. They're empathetic and they are more mercy driven. And it might be a little bit harder for them to say something is right or something is wrong. And so our job as parents or adults in these kids' lives is to really commend the way that God has made them.

You know, I have one of each. I have a child who is very justice oriented, and I love that. I love the way that she sees the world. And I have another one who is more compassionate, and I love the way that he sees things. And so what I have figured out my job is, is to commend those things, but also to help them grow in the other. And really, it's compassion and conviction that go hand in hand. I think we look at Jesus, and the passage that I use in the study is when he feeds the five thousand, but what happens before that is he has just learned that John the Baptist, his friend, his cousin, has been beheaded. And his disciples have just come back from their first journey on their own. And they're all tired and weary. And Jesus said, let's go away by ourselves to rest. And he wants to spend some time just with his disciples. And I'm sure there's so much sorrow that he's experiencing.

But when they go away by themselves, they get there, and this huge crowd is already there waiting for them. And the passage says that Jesus looked on them, and he had compassion for them because he saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. And so what I think we see Jesus doing here is he's looking, and he's accurately diagnosing these people's needs. They're sheep who need a shepherd, and he has compassion because he sees their need. And then he meets it both with his teaching and with, you know, physically feeding them.

And so when it comes to our kids, we have this opportunity to help them see the world around them and accurately diagnose what's going on, to say, you know, these are people who are lost. They are sheep without a shepherd. The Bible says they're dead in their trespasses and sins and that they are enslaved to sin. So we shouldn't be surprised when we see them doing the things that they're doing. But don't we feel sad that they don't have the loving shepherd that we do?

And how can we help them to meet that shepherd? And so it's this way of just kind of opening that dialogue with our kids that isn't, oh, we're going to adamantly judge these people, but we're also not going to say that what they're doing is okay. The most loving thing we can teach our kids to do is to recognize the people around them as people who need Jesus, and then to be the ones to go out there and bring the light of the gospel to them.

Yeah, in doing that, we're preparing them for a life of ministry and recognizing the great need that is in the lives of the people who are living like that. You know, we talked earlier about the media and technology and the influence it has on children today. For this age group, do you suggest parents control the use of technology for children?

Absolutely. This is an ongoing conversation in our home because I have a 16-year-old who has a phone and I have a 13-year-old who doesn't. In some ways, we've talked about, and there are a lot of studies that talk about how this is sort of the guinea pig generation because they've grown up with technology. And it's interesting talking to my high schooler because she has this nostalgia for me going to high school in the late 90s and early 2000s and feeling like that was the golden age before all of this technology existed. I think that there is this longing that kids have in some ways for that simplicity, for an adult to be the one to say, hey, this isn't good for you.

Let's put some restrictions in place. Again, it's that fence that we are called to put in place for our kids so that they have the freedom to just enjoy things that are age-appropriate instead of having to deal with all of this heavy weight that the world will put on them. A lot of that, unfortunately, comes through the use of technology. I think parents struggle with this in knowing what to do, what are some guidelines in terms of technology with the children. Do you have any thoughts on particular guidelines that might be helpful for this age? Yeah, I think some of it depends on the child and their needs. We're fortunate to be in a school that doesn't use technology, but I know when my kids were in a public school, that was a battle because they were asked to bring a phone or a device to school to do schoolwork on.

And so some of that depends on the situation. But even within that, I would say we have just simple rules like no technology after a certain time, none of it in your room, we're always going to be checking on things. I really love Andy Crouch's book, The TechWise Family, and his daughter wrote a follow-up that we had our daughter read before she got a phone because it really gives them a better understanding of why they should embrace these rules in their lives. It doesn't mean that they're going to thank you when they're a teenager, but I do firmly believe that one day they are going to come back and say, thank you for not letting me have a phone when I was 10.

I really wanted it and you probably got really tired of me begging and pleading for it, but I see now that it was the right thing. And that's our calling as parents to protect our kids, to be the adults in the room, to spare them a lot of the pain that they'll face. Yeah, I think that's an issue that a lot of parents are struggling with, for sure. Well, let's talk about one of the other characteristics, gentleness, we're told to put on gentleness. What is true gentleness and how do we raise kids who are gentle without being pushovers?

Well, I think this is probably one of the ones that I need to grow in the most, so this is one of those where we can know what it is, but that doesn't mean that we're great at doing it. But the definition that I came to for gentleness was using our strength and power to lovingly help others. And I think a lot of the concept around gentleness is really just helping our kids to understand what it means because we say be gentle and they probably hear like, hold the baby gently or touch that gently.

It's more of a tactile thing or speak in a soft voice, but when we see that Jesus describes himself as gentle and lowly, we need to kind of grapple with what does that mean. And I think what it means is that he had all the power that he could have put people down like the Pharisees, the religious leaders did, but instead he used his power to lovingly lift people up to help them, to serve them. And so for our kids, I think we see opportunities for them to do this in their relationships. Are they the people that are looking for the person who is left out? If they are really gifted at something, are they looking for ways to help others and to support and encourage them?

If they have certain means, are they using that to help others who don't? It's really helping our kids to have an eye for the needs around them and then a willingness to use what they have to help others. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . We're talking with Katherine Parks today and her book is our featured resource. It's titled What to Wear, a Kids Bible Study on Looking Like Jesus.

Just go to to find out more. Gary, Katherine, let me jump in here because I want to read those verses in case there's somebody listening who said, what's Colossians and what are these verses? In chapter three, verses 12 to 14, I just want to read these and let this kind of wash over the rest of the conversation. Therefore as God's chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And I had to tell you a story about this, Katherine.

When I was a late teenager, I went on a mission trip to Germany and I stayed with a family from Canada who spoke nothing but German in the house, which was a real stretch for me. And the pastor, the dad of the family was going to speak on this passage and he didn't really ask my opinion, but I said, hey, what if you did this? What if you use the metaphor of clothing and putting on clothing?

And that's what he did. And I felt so good about it and so affirmed that he used my idea, but he had three or four shirts on and a couple of coats that were anger and malice, and then he took those off and then put on love and compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, as a real metaphor of what Paul was talking about here. And I've always thought about that, you know, this is decades ago that it happened, but I still remember that message of you got to take this off in order to put this on. What do you think about that?

I love that. You should have written a study, clearly. But what I'm thinking of as you're saying that is, you know, we kind of have in the study there's an opportunity for kids to draw pictures of, you know, ugly clothing. And then when they go through each week of one of these put on qualities, they have the opportunity to add a new piece of clothing to this drawing. But I'm thinking as you're talking, what a beautiful way for parents and families to incorporate this would be to have them do something like that, you know, and either the parents put on clothes or have the kids do it. Just the way that it stayed with you for so long, that's the kind of thing we want for our kids to do something that helps them to remember this passage.

So that's a great idea. Well, let's talk about another one of those traits. Forbearance, or bearing with one another, and forgiveness. There's no better place to practice this than in the home. So talk about that concept.

Well, anyone that has, you know, more than one kid is experiencing this on a daily basis. This idea of talking with our kids about bearing with one another in love. And I think it's easy for us to read, especially the New Testament, and to feel like it's a very individualized book, or collection of books, and that these messages are for me as an individual. But what Paul is doing here in this letter to the church at Colossae is he's writing it to a group of people. And he's telling them to take off the things that hurt each other and to put on the things that will help them to live in community and in union with each other. And it's important for us to remember that, even as we're teaching our kids, it might be easier for you to go out and show compassion to someone in your class or in your neighborhood than it is to bear with your little sibling in your home. And yet that's what God has called us to do, is to love one another in that way that we can overlook things and we can forgive even when it happens over and over and over again. And of course, the key way to teach them that is to point them to Jesus, who forgives us over and over and over again.

And we look at the story of the king who forgave the servants, and then the servant goes out and a much smaller debt he holds against someone and throws them in prison for it. And so having the opportunity to really talk through these things with our kids is important, but I like the idea of studying it so that then you have the opportunity to refer back to, hey, remember when we talked about this? Remember when you were called to put on forbearance and forgiveness?

This is the chance for you to ask the Lord to help you to do that right here. How about parents asking forgiveness, apologizing, asking forgiveness of their children when the parent has made a mistake? This is something that I am so thankful my parents did so well. They demonstrated the humility of confession and repentance in our home on a daily basis, and it's something that has stuck with me for years and years, and that we've tried to model to our own kids.

And I think it kind of goes back to that gentleness idea that this is someone with authority and power, and yet they're using that to lovingly help someone. And that's what my parents did every time they took the opportunity to say, hey, I was too harsh here, or I was impatient, and that was sin, and I'm really sorry, will you forgive me? And that spoke such huge volumes to me, because it said to me, my parents know that they aren't perfect, they're willing to admit their mistakes, and they're showing me that they're dependent on the grace of God just like I am, and there's something so beautiful about that.

And I think it's a huge opportunity for us to grow in our relationships with our children and to demonstrate the way that we want them to live their lives, even when they get out of our home. Yeah, I've heard some parents say, if I apologize to my children, they're going to lose respect for me. And I've often said, no, no, no, they're going to gain respect for you.

They already know that what you did was wrong. Yeah, 100 percent, yes. So the study, it seems to me, can open up a deeper communication, a deeper relational channel between parent and child. Is that part of your intention too? You know, because I did this with my own kids first, that really is what it came out of, was this desire to spend some of the time we had during lockdown doing something that hopefully brought them closer to Christ and brought them closer to me and to each other as a family. And you know, the study is written so that a kid can go through it on their own, especially 10, 11, 12 year old. But I love the idea of families using it even for family devotions. And instead of writing in the blanks, just having the opportunity to talk through these things together in community, they're short little lessons that they can use to really get to know each other. I think anything that helps us to get to know the hearts of our children is really beautiful, and it's an opportunity to then point them back to Jesus constantly. But it also gives them the chance to see us more clearly and to hear us talk about our own struggles, which again, like we just talked about, that's actually going to build their respect for us and also their love for Christ. So I like the idea of really suggesting that parents use this book with their children rather than just having the children work through it by themselves.

I mean, either one, of course, would be helpful, but yeah, I really like that idea because it does build a deeper relationship between the parent and the child. Well, let's talk about kindness. Put on kindness. Does our culture get this kindness thing or do you see that anywhere in our culture? Yeah, I think, you know, again, the definition that I came to for kindness, and this was another one that it just feels a little bit squishy because you hear in culture people saying be kind, be kind, and that can mean all sorts of things.

It can mean you have to affirm whatever I say. That's the only kind thing that you can do or, you know, don't ever say anything negative about anybody because that's not kind. And I've heard myself saying to my kids constantly, be kind, be kind, but wondering, do they actually know what that means? And so kindness means speaking and acting with goodness that meets other people's needs. And I think that keyword there is goodness, and we don't get to determine what is good.

The Lord has already done that for us. His word affirms what is good and what is bad. And so we have this opportunity to bring that goodness to bear in our relationships and in the way that we speak to people. And sometimes the kindest thing we can do is to tell people the truth in love, and that love is really important there too. But I think, you know, having this fundamental understanding of, again, the life that God calls us to, the beauty of having our identity found in Christ, and then wanting other people to be part of that. And that means that the kindest thing we can do is model those things and invite other people into them. And lovingly telling them when what they're doing is actually harming them or harming others.

Yeah. You know, this brings back a memory. Many years ago, there was a gentleman that I observed, and his whole life, from my perspective, was just showing kindness to people, doing all kinds of things to help people. And I asked him one day, how did you develop this in your life? And he said, well, among other things, every day when I get ready to go out of the house, I imagine putting on an overcoat of kindness. And I walk with that concept throughout the day. And I thought, wow, it's pretty powerful. But that's exactly what this book is about.

The clue that we're going back to that metaphor of taking off and putting on, you know, but yeah. That's beautiful. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. And thanks for telling a friend about the program.

Maybe you know someone who would benefit from this conversation. You can find a link to the podcast at Plus see the resource, What to Wear, a kid's Bible study on looking like Jesus. It's by our guest, Katherine Parks.

Just go to Well, Katherine, let's talk about humility, which is another one of the things that we're challenged to put on. So how can we develop this and how can we help our children develop this? Well, I think it's pretty clear that Jesus is the greatest example of humility we have, right? And we can look at Philippians 2 and see all the things that he put off, you know, his rights to lovingly save us, to take our sin upon himself. And so this is the perfect example to us, but it's also an opportunity for us to see, you know, we don't measure up and humility is really hard.

How many of us would do even, you know, a fraction of what Christ did? And so when we look at humility as not thinking of self as being better or higher than others, there are so many opportunities for us to put that on on a daily basis. And a lot of it just comes down to our thoughts and asking the Lord to renew our minds.

And that's an opportunity for us with our kids. You know, how am I as a mom speaking about other people? How do they hear me talking about people, whether people that I have a relationship with or maybe it's a political figure or, you know, someone in the media? Are they hearing me talk about them in a way that makes it seem like I feel like I'm better than that person, or I think of myself as being higher than that person? And I've been guilty of this too many times to count.

And it's really sad to me. I'm thankful for the Lord's grace and for his ability to cover over those things for my kids. But it's an opportunity when we do catch ourselves saying things that are unkind or prideful towards other people.

It's an opportunity to point that out to our kids. And again, it's that power of confession to say, hey, what I just said there, that was really prideful. And I know that God has called us to put on humility, and so I'm sorry that I didn't do that there.

Will you forgive me? And will you pray for me to be more humble in the way that I talk about other people? And that's another beautiful thing that I think we get to do with our kids. As our kids follow Christ, they become, you know, part of the family of God with us. And so we can ask for their help to pray for us to fight sin in our lives. And that is such a joy.

Yeah. Well, let's not leave our time today without talking about patience. I don't observe sometimes a lot of patience in children. How do we help build that into their lives? Well, Gary, I should probably ask you this question because this is one that I am really struggling with.

Our family has been on a home search for about a year and a half, and we're a little bit nomadic right now. And so this has been an opportunity for us to practice patience, and we have not always done that well. But I think, you know, the definition of patience is enduring difficult circumstances. And a lot of the time when we see ourselves or our kids being impatient, it's because there's something that we want that we don't have or that we don't want that we do have. It's something that we want to change. And ultimately, we get to point our kids and ourselves back to our sovereign God, whose plan for us is good.

And having the opportunity to say to them, you know, yeah, we would really like a house right now to be our own home to live in. But that's not what he has for us. And so we can trust that he's good, and that he's using all things for our good. And I can look back with so much joy over the past year and a half and see the ways that he has grown us as a family and the way that he has grown my children as individuals, and the way that he has deepened our dependence on him. And I can say that's a good thing.

It doesn't mean that being, you know, without a house is a good thing. But he's using it for our good. And so anytime we have the opportunity to point our kids to that truth, maybe it's just looking back and saying, hey, remember when this happened, and you were really, really impatient, but God used it in this way, and then pointing them to where they are right now and saying, you know, he's going to do the same thing in this circumstance. And we see that in the Old Testament, right, all these times that God reminds his people of what he's done for them.

And we have that opportunity to do that for our kids, to remind them of how he's been faithful in the past, and he promises to be faithful in the future. Well, perhaps the word love is the summary of many of these traits. How would you define love, and how important is this in the lives of our children? Well, I mean, you know, we look at the Scripture, it just talks about God is love. And so in many ways, everything about love is wrapped up in his character and his nature. And I think, you know, when we look at his character, we know that he is always acting in ways that are loving toward us, toward his people. And so what we hope for and pray for in our families and in our kids is that they would seek to live in a way that shows goodness to others, that they seek the good of the people around them, and that by doing that, they are showing his love to the world around them. And when we look at Jesus, you know, the Bible says that in this is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and that he sent his Son for us. And so we can't really talk about biblical love without talking about sacrifice. And that's one of the hardest things, I think, for me, as a parent. It's one of the hardest things for kids to learn that to really love someone, we have to be willing to give up our rights and our desires and the things that we think we're justified in demanding. And we have to trust that God is going to provide what we need, and we can act in love toward the people around us. Well, Katherine, as we come to the end of our discussion, what encouragement would you give parents who are really uncomfortable talking about spiritual things with their children?

What would you say to them? You know, there are times that I am uncomfortable, and I've written a Bible study for kids. And so sometimes it's easier to write something than it is to have that conversation with our children, because it feels awkward, or it feels like we're kind of manufacturing something that is unnatural.

And you know, I think it's like so many other areas of life where we just have to be willing to take that step of obedience and trust that the Lord is going to meet us there with what we need. And our kids are probably going to respond much better than we think they will. But even if they roll their eyes at us and say, Oh, Mom, this is so weird.

That is something that we should not be afraid of. Because I think underneath the surface, they are really thankful that we're diving into these conversations. And we're modeling for them how to do that as they get older.

And so I would just say, you know, take that step. If you want to do a Bible study like this, make it really fun for your kids. Maybe bake their favorite treat or create some, you know, environment that really is beneficial and enjoyable for them. Don't call them to put down their video game and come do the Bible study, because that's probably not going to have the right response, but make it something that is really a highlight of their day.

Yeah. Well, I think this book will be a tool that will actually help parents who may, in their own mind, struggle with, well, how do I bring up different topics with my children? So I want to thank you for being with us today. And also thank you for the book, because I think it is going to help a lot of parents. Thank you so much.

It's been such a joy. What a great resource for your middle schoolers as we begin 2024. Catherine Parks has been our guest. Not only good for middle schoolers, but for the parents who need patience and humility and compassion. If you go to the website,, you'll see what to wear, a kid's Bible study on looking like Jesus. Just go to And next week, what are the lies that young boys believe? Aaron and Jason Davis will join us in one week. Well, before we go, a big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-06 02:55:14 / 2024-01-06 03:12:45 / 18

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