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The Relationally Intelligent Child - Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
June 19, 2021 1:45 am

The Relationally Intelligent Child - Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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June 19, 2021 1:45 am

If you’re concerned that the pain of your past might trickle down to your children, don’t miss this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson will give help for parents who want to raise relationally intelligent children. What are the five keys to helping kids connect well with others? Find out today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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Passing Relational Skills to Your Children, today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. For us to lean into our kids' life and to really say to them, okay, you know what, I see such high value in you, and boy, that can begin to totally change their life.

It's okay to let our children fail, but it's also important that we're there to assist them and to guide them and help them to pick them up as they get back up and go forward. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times bestselling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . Today as we celebrate fathers, some help for dads and moms. If you want to help your kids connect well with others, don't miss our conversation with Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson. They have teamed to write the Relationally Intelligent Child, and we're going to talk about that straight ahead.

You'll find it at our website, Dr. Chapman, you released a memoir recently where you talked about the legacy of your parents and what they spoke into your life. Do you think they helped you become relationally intelligent? Well, Chris, I'm going to find out in this program. They get all the characteristics of relationally intelligent, and then I'll tell you, but I think so. You know, we had a great relationship. Mom and dad loved each other all the way to the end, and my sister and I had a good relationship also.

So yeah, I think they did, but I'm going to find out for sure in the next hour or so here. Well, let's find out from our guests. First, Dr. John Trent, president and founder of, a ministry committed to building strong relationships. He's written, authored, co-authored more than a dozen books for both adults and children.

Love for All Seasons, The Language of Love, The Blessing, and many more. He and his wife, Cynthia, live in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have two grown daughters, and right next to him is Dr. Dewey Wilson, founder and CEO of Strong Marriages. He has contributed to focus on the family's book, The Best Advice on Parenting with Jim Daly, and he's written books and workbooks for strong marriages, including Devoted and Doing Life Together. Our featured resource today is the book that Dr. Trent and Dr. Wilson have written together titled, The Relationally Intelligent Child, Five Keys to Helping Your Kids Connect Well with Others.

Find it at Well, Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson, welcome to Building Relationships. Well, thank you. It's great to be with you guys again. Absolutely.

Thank you for having us. Well, Dr. Trent, let me start with you. What is relational intelligence, okay? And why do you think that IQ is overrated?

Okay, well, yeah, we probably ought to start with the second part of that question first. Because, you know, wait a minute, here's a bunch of people on, Chris is smarter than all of us, but then here's three of us with earned PhDs and you're thinking, okay, wait a minute, how can IQ be overrated? But here's the deal, Dr. Chapman, is I think we all know that our kids have lost so much ground in this past, you know, year and all that's gone on.

And for the average parent, what are they concerned about? Oh, you know, Jimmy can't do math as well or, you know, man, they're way behind on reading. Well, let me tell you what they're really way behind on is relational intelligence. And what we don't realize so often is the fact that, man, relationships, I mean, we are created for connection and what our kids are losing and what we get to talk about today.

Let me just, before I do that, just ask a quick question. You know, on IQ, did you know that's a capacity measurement? Dr. Chapman, you have a sister, you know, I mean, was she the smart one or I know you're super smart, but I've got a really smart twin brother that his capacity to learn his IQ parts, we're fraternal, I can brag on him, are way off the chart.

Do you see what I mean? So that's what IQ is, you know, how much can you stuff in there and then regurgitate, which is important. I'm not saying it's not important.

None of us are. But relational intelligence is a different kind of measure. It's really an applicational measure. When it says in scripture, you know, you're to apply wisdom. Well, relational intelligence, the way we define it is, man, this is how you really exercise that natural ability that God has given us to learn and understand and apply healthy relationship skills that help us successfully connect and interact with others. And I think your mom and dad probably did a pretty good job, Dr. Chapman, in terms of giving you a model for connecting with others.

I think you're right. You know, I've always been involved in people's lives and my sister as well, for that matter. So, Dr. Wilson, let me ask you, you know, with so much of the world being shut down, locked down, you know, over these past year or more now, how has that impacted relationships and relational intelligence in children? Well, Dr. Chapman, I think there's a lot of parents out there today that really don't even realize how much ground their kids are actually losing. And I think one thing that contributes to that is, you know, these kids today are such digital natives. You know, I mean, you'd have to call me a digital immigrant because, you know, when we grew up, there wasn't any such thing as a cell phone and there definitely certainly wasn't a smart device.

I mean, I think the smartest device my dad ever gave me was a shovel and told me to go out there and dig holes to put, you know, put the trees in. But at the end of the day, these kids are born with these smart devices in their hands. And so, you know, they're isolated. They're not in face-to-face relationships anymore. And they're isolated in their own home.

But yet they give the appearance because they're interacting on social media so well that, you know, the parents might think, okay, well, they're connecting and interacting with their friends. But the problem with that is that isolation, research is showing that that isolation is leading to extreme levels of stress and anxiety. In fact, the Center for Disease, they put out an article of research about six months ago.

And just from what they're finding, they're seeing that anxiety and depression levels in these kids are doubled what they were a year ago. And, you know, for example, there's something called mirror neurons that each one of us have. And what mirror neurons are, there are a set of neurons in the brain that fire not only when you perform an action but also when you observe someone else performing an action. And, you know, that's how when you, you know, it can be everything from riding a bike, you know, or it can be like, you know, have you ever seen somebody like trip and fall or twist their ankle or get cut and then it seems like you're experiencing the same pain that they are?

Well, that's a mirror neuron. And the problem with that is that these things occur when we're interacting in real-life situations face-to-face. And without these face-to-face conversations, then they're missing out on the tone of voice and, you know, they're masking their identity through social media.

I mean, that's just kind of a long answer to the reality is that, you know, parents today in many ways just don't have a clue of just how much ground these kids are losing. Yeah, and that's true in terms of their own, parents' own interfacing with the children, right? Absolutely. As we became on the scene and start interacting through social media, it's becoming so much comfortable with us. And so as, you know, we think that that's doing life together.

But it's not doing life together the way that God intended for us to do life together. Yeah. Well, I mean, let's just bottom line it. You know, I think in a lot of ways the relational life of kids is just getting sucked out of them on the screen.

And a big part of that is, I just read an article real interesting. It was a young lady. She's in a college, small college in the Midwest. And she goes, hey, when we first started this whole thing, I thought, oh, this is great. I can be safe, okay? I can talk to my friends, be super connected. And then she goes, I began to realize after all this time, wait a minute, I'm not safe.

I'm afraid and I'm stuck. And I feel like that now, okay, I can connect, but I don't want to go out and relate. And I'm telling you, we want our kids to be able to go walk into a group of kids and, you know, be that kid that's, you know, again, not that they have to be the chatty person, but how do they relate to their teammates on a soccer team?

How do they walk up to someone and initiate a conversation? How do they know how to relate? And that's why we think this is such an important thing to talk about is, boy, you know, relational intelligence is hugely needed for our kids right now.

And we get to talk about that today, which is awesome. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Find out more about our featured resource and our guests today by going to Dr. Dewey Wilson and Dr. John Trent have written The Relationally Intelligent Child. It's our featured resource at

Again, go to Well, we're talking about relational intelligence with children. In the book, you use the Apple Store as an example of a place where you can see relational intelligence at work. Now, what do you mean by that? Well, you know, it's interesting and I know we're giving them a plug, but bottom line is most people, when they go into an Apple Store, you have what?

You have a problem. What you don't realize is when you walk in the door, guess who that person is? Now, you're thinking, okay, that's going to be this techie person and they're going to do their magic that I don't understand.

But all of a sudden, they're relating to you. They're smiling as they solve your problem, which always makes me, anyway, feel like, oh, my gosh, that was so easy to do. So it's not that they're not super smart when it comes to being able to fix the tech part, but guess what?

I have a good friend that works at an Apple Store. He's older than I am, which is like, you know, getting up there. And guess why they hired him? He knew nothing about computers. He just asked him.

He had lost his job and wandered in there with a computer problem. And he goes, gosh, do you ever hire old people like me? And they go, yeah. And because guess why? They want you to be able to relate. And, you know, Gary, we have a daughter.

You do, too. You have a daughter that's in the medical area. We have a daughter that's a nurse practitioner, and she sees hundreds of people. So guess what they rate her on, okay? This is why this is so important, relational intelligence for our kids. Even if your kid is going in an area where there's lots of technical details, but nobody rates Laura on, oh, you did a great job of stitching up those, you know, putting in those stitches, or, oh, okay, well, you really nailed that diagnosis. They're giving you one to five stars on what?

How did you relate to me? And that's really, again, what we're talking about. Jesus picks the disciples. They were all over the map in terms of personality. Do you see what I'm getting at?

But they were all able to relate well the love of God to other people. So this isn't a minor thing. I mean, what we're losing is our capacity to really, you know, connect with people in a powerful way. So that's why we're so fired up about this.

Yeah. Let me ask this, Dr. Wilson, before we go too much further in our conversation. Is there a spiritual component to this? In other words, do you help children become more receptive to God if they learn to interact well with others?

Oh, absolutely, Dr. Chapman. You know, it kind of goes back to what we were talking about a little earlier, about how God created us for relationships. And I mean, what better model for us to learn how to do relationships than Jesus himself?

And, you know, I think of the one story that pops to my mind in Scripture is the story about the men who was beaten by the thieves and was basically left for dead in the story of the Good Samaritan. And, you know, while we have the religious leaders, the priests and the Levites come by and they walk to the other side, but yet it's the Good Samaritan who has empathy and is able to be able to minister to this individual's needs. And so, you know, when we begin to realize that this is how God's created us, what we do is we begin to step outside of ourself. And this is what we see in our children as well. They begin to step outside of their self to become more empathetic. And as we were even talking with mirror neurons earlier is that as we grow and we begin to be more empathetic and want to serve other people, then obviously we're coming that much closer to God because that's how God created us. You know, in Scripture it tells us that we have been given everything that pertains to life and to godliness when we become a child of God. And so as we begin to model that for our children based on our ability through the Spirit, then I mean, who better to parent our kids than us as parents? I mean, God created us to be able to teach them and to grow them, not just in their physical stature, but also in a fear and an admonition of the Lord as well. Okay, now you guys boil down the relational intelligence to five key elements.

Dr. Rhett, tell us what these elements are and we maybe dig into them a little more later, but give us an overview of what these five elements are. Yeah, absolutely. So, because hopefully people are getting the idea, all right, there's a huge problem out there, our kids have lost ground and we have ourselves. You mentioned that earlier and that's so true.

I mean, church attendance is way down and a lot of it is as people have gotten comfortable again, well, I'm just going to watch it from, you know, from home. And yet we're not to forsake the gathering together and again, just that face to face is so important. But here's what it is, just in a nutshell, kind of these, you know, five elements really are kind of like stepping stones to a degree. So just to go through them real quickly, I mean, it starts off with that incredible need we have for attachment. And so, you know, as we really build that bridge with a child, guess what they're able to do? They're able to be then move out and explore their world. And of course, the problem is once they begin to explore their world, then they're going to fall down, right? I mean, they just we have a little eight month old precious granddaughter and everything's exploring. Everything goes in her mouth, everything.

She's just starting to crawl. And now every all bets are off, you know, and you have to move everything. But they fall down. But that's the third thing is they need to know with that secure attachment, they can go explore. But now they need to what be able to get back up if they fall down. And that begins to help them understand with that kind of cascading. I'm secure.

I can go explore. When I fall down, I can get back up, you know, and then guess what? That just teaches them resilience in and wise decision making because, boy, I made a mistake here. So I'm not reaching for that again. And then and then the last one is, man, from that point now, I've got a framework for making great decisions.

And I can we call it future focused service. So now there's this capacity to go rock their world, you know, to go change because they're not expecting life from people. And they're not so afraid of connection or exploring.

And even if they make a mistake, then they don't you know, they can move forward. So we'll get into all of these. But it's really these are kind of again, not capacity, but applicational measurements that say, hey, I can do this with my kids because guess what? God's put those abilities in our life as well. So parents listening to us today and they're thinking, first of all, about that secure attachment that you mentioned. And maybe they're not spending very much time, even time with their child. If that's the starting place, I think you said that's kind of the foundation to the whole thing. Right.

What does that mean? How does a parent build that kind of relationship, attachment? Well, Dr. Chapman, I think as we begin to think about building this foundation at a very, very early age, I mean, it's based on attachment theory. And that is when if a child reaches out or when a child has a need and he reaches toward the caregiver, the parent and parent reaches back, then that's the beginning of a connection right there.

That it really serves as the foundation for this attachment. And I mean, how many times have you have you seen a child a little toddler that's in the floor that may be crawling? And it kind of goes into the exploring their world, if you will, as well.

But as they're crawling along, they stop and then they sit back up and then they look around to see, you know, where that caregiver, where mom and dad are. And research shows over the years that when the little child is able to look back and see that face, that loving face that reaches out to them, and it's almost like with "The 5 Love Languages" , you have this physical touch and be able to speak to them in a loving way with words of affirmation, even as a child. Then what you're seeing is that building of that foundation of that secure attachment.

And here again, you know, I was in the framing business and construction business for years and years. And, you know, the one thing that really they spend a lot of time on, but it really doesn't get that much attention in regard to what the house looks like is the foundation. But yet, you know, the foundation is going to, how strong that foundation is, is going to determine the true strength of everything that follows and gets built on that foundation.

So in the same way, that's what secure attachment is. And so it just sets the tone for how every of these other four elements are built on top of that. You know, we talk a lot about the blessing, as you know.

You know, it's like Dewey was a framer, but, you know, it's like if you're a hammer, everything's a nail. So I talk a lot about the blessing because that's a big part of it. But the attachment science is really science catching up with the Bible, because when we bless our kids with that touch and spoken words, those kinds of things that are a part of "The 5 Love Languages" a lot as well. But here's an amazing study.

Virginia Tech, I have actually, I have not been on the campus, but at Virginia Tech, I guess there's a really, really high hill. Okay. And what they would do is, is students would be walking across, you know, between classes and they'd grab a kid by himself and then they'd grab two kids, two students.

Okay. Now, the two students, it could be a boyfriend, girlfriend. It could be roommates, you know. But somebody that you could tell and they'd give them a quick assessment and, okay, you're really attached to this person, you know, good friend, dating, you know, or you're by yourself. And then they'd have them stand.

It was a visual perception study. And so picture this. They would say, okay, see this high hill? Now put on this backpack. And it was a 45 pound. Now a ranger pack, if you're an army ranger, is about 65 to 80 pounds. So it's not that heavy, but 45 pounds is a heavy, you know, that's a good lift, right? So you put on this heavy backpack and now you look up at the high hill and you say, all right, you have to climb it. How high is that hill and how hard is it to climb it?

And every time, guess what, Chris and Gary, bottom line is that they would overshoot. It was higher than it really was and it would be harder to do all by themselves. But now they had the person that had somebody with them and they'd have that person that's with them put their hand on their shoulder and look up and guess what?

The mountains shrunk. And I think that's, it was replicated in England where it was just the memory of someone. And I think that's why knowing, you know, Jesus says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Man, when you realize God's hand is on our shoulder, I mean, that's attachment, that's the blessing. But the bottom line is that person, we need people too in our life that can shrink those hills that our kids are going to face.

So let me ask this question. Mom and dad are both working full time. They have this child, they have two children. And this is, we know, rather common in our culture. How does this interface with the parents' time and involvement with the child in those early years?

You know, Dewey mentioned, you know, younger kids, but even as they, like as in toddlers, but even as they get older, it's amazing. But kids just desperately need, I can remember my mom was a rheumatoid arthritic, okay. And two artificial ankles, two artificial knees, two artificial elbows. So she was a mess. So she would take us in Arizona as kids to the pool.

And it was a local, we didn't have a pool, it was a local pool. And she'd sit on that concrete, hot concrete, this is Arizona, this is before Cool Deck. And I never really realized this until later, but you know what she'd do? She'd take these quarters.

And so here we are, five, six, seven, eight, and we'd jump in and she'd throw us a quarter and we'd go down and get the quarter and come up and our hand would pop up out of the pool. And I'm telling you, every time I'm looking at this person, it was like I just came up with the Olympic gold medal. And hey, look at this mom. Now, I didn't have a, my dad didn't, I never knew my dad. So, but it's that ability for us to lean into our kids' life and to really say to them, okay, you know what?

I see such high value in you. And boy, that can begin to totally change their life. Yeah. Making the most of the time we do have with the children, because I think when both parents are working, obviously there's a good bit of the time they're going to be apart.

Of course, when they're in the school, if they're in the children's school and the parents are working, I mean, they're going to be apart anyway. But it's making the most of the time that we have, right? Yeah, absolutely.

I mean, it's, we do live in a busy world where there's just, you know, we're moving at such a fast pace. And, you know, so you've got, so you've got 10 minutes, so you've got 15 minutes, you know. Being intentional to invest in that child, to enter into their world and begin to, you know, ask the, you know, the five or 10 questions that, you know, oftentimes, I mean, a lot of us have over teenagers, so I mean, they're very used to, you know, those one-word answers. But if we can just set our children down and enter into their world, and guys, sometimes that means that we just have to, as parents, we just need to step back and realize that, yeah, we're tired and we have dinner to make or we have, you know, we've still got homework to do and it's already nine o'clock. But to your point, Dr. Chapman, even if it's that 15 minutes a day that we can just devote our 100% attention to our child and enter into their world, then, man, that is a wonderful way of building a secure attachment. Yeah. Hey, and I'll jump in real quick, too. I mean, we had three kids, my mom had three kids under three when my dad bailed out.

So how do you get that? Well, I have a twin brother and then my older brother. She's working full time, so time was at a premium. But one of the things my mom did with each kid is, and I didn't even realize this till later, but, you know, my older brother, she would sit with him at the kitchen table and they'd have these long tops. He'd have, my brother would have hot chocolate, she'd have coffee, you know. Well, with me, she'd go do something with me because I had to be moving. But Jeff is the, Jeff, my twin brother's the brainiac, you know, and she'd take, she'd sit there.

Well, now, back then it was Lincoln Logs. Today, it's, you know, it's, you know, they would put together something with Legos or something complicated, right? And so you look at who your kid is and you build attachment through that understanding of, well, Lord, who did you create them to be? Train up a child in the way they should go, you know, according to their bent, who they are.

And so, again, it starts with this foundation that, man, bright eyes, it says, makes the heart glad, whether they just picked a quarter up off the floor or they've come home and they're facing a high hill. And you can put your hand on their shoulder literally or figuratively and say, well, hey, I know you're going to get through this. You know, God's, you know, with you, I'm with you, and we help them become really self-directed, not just dependent, but self-directed.

And that's what attachment can do to free them then to go on to the next thing, which is to explore. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . We're talking about how parents can help their children and our featured resource is written by our guests, Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson. The title of the book is The Relationally Intelligent Child, Five Keys to Helping Your Kids Connect Well with Others.

Just go to So, Dr. Wilson, the second element we talk about in relational intelligence is the child's fearless exploration. Talk about that.

What does it look like? Well, fearless exploration, and I think let me give you an example. I mean, there's a TED Talk that is done out there about something called explore or exploit. Now, those of us that are up in years, I mean, think about going to a restaurant where you want to go eat. Now, us old guys, we've pretty much locked in, you know, our four or five favorite restaurants. And so there's not much exploration taking place at that point. I mean, I can tell you that Lynn and I, I mean, we look at each other and go, where do you want to go eat tonight?

Well, it's going to fit into those two or three restaurants that we consider to be our favorite. But then there's something else called explore, and that's what children, I mean, that's what they do just naturally. Here again, I mean, what's the first thing that most little toddlers do when they pick up a foreign object? What's usually the first thing they do? Put it in their mouth. Don't they put it in their mouth?

Yeah. And what they're doing is they do that. It's not that they want to figure out what it tastes like. In many ways, they're exploring to find out what is this object. And so naturally, they begin to enter into this, you know, strategic exploration at that point where they want to find out everything that's in their world. And, you know, I can remember my, we have two daughters like John and Cindy, and our oldest daughter is also a doctor of nursing practice. So she's the, you know, she's the one who has always been that academic child.

But yet our younger child, it's not that she's not smart, but what she is is she is what we would call an otter golden retriever, but she loves to get out and explore. And so what we used to do when she was growing up is she was very good at sports. And, you know, so she'd go out there and she'd try that and then she'd say, you know what, Dad, that's all fun, but she goes, I want to try this dancing thing. And so she went and we said, OK, and we realized that she's a pretty good dancer. But even watching her grow up from the, you know, the ages of two and three all the way into the point to where she decided that she also wanted to sing and she's really gifted in singing, and that began God's plan for her to go to college because she got a scholarship at a university in worship.

And now she leads worship in one of the local churches here. And so I can take that all the way back to that very point in time where we said, you know what, this child is, she just likes expanding her world. And it's not that our oldest daughter didn't because she's more set in what, she knows what she wants and she always has. But it's just so fun to watch them explore the world. Yeah, you know, we had one of each as well.

Yeah. Our daughter at the age of eight said, I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up. And she never wavered, you know.

And our son who was four years younger, he said, you know, Shelly is so focused. She's missing out on a lot of life, you know. That is so true. That is so true. We still have a picture of our oldest daughter when she was maybe five or six and she's got her lab coat on and her glasses and her stethoscope around her hanging over her neck. And so like your daughter, she just, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

Yeah. You know, here's the reality, Gen Xers and boy, guess what, they're the ones now with younger parents, you know, and millennials, but really Gen Xers too. The reality is that their kids are the most unparented generation ever. I mean, they've got a screen to keep them busy.

They've got all these kinds of things. And here's what I'm getting at. They're the most protected generation, these kids growing up, but they're the least connected. And the more connected you are, then the less you're going to, you know, have to hyper connect. They already think about the world.

God bless these kids. We have a thing, you know, in our brain, just the way that God's wired us, you know, in our limbic system. I'm walking to the dogs the other night.

Let me give you an example. I'm walking the dogs another night here in Arizona, and it's springtime, which means it's just under 100, you know, and it's just getting dark. And I see over there a snake, okay, as I'm walking the dogs. And it's about a three-foot wavy and dark.

And then I'm looking at it and going, oh, wait a minute, it's not really moving. And then I realize, okay, it's really a tree branch, okay. But do you see what I, and that's the way God, well, all year, guess what's been happening to our kids? Oh, here's a threat. Here's a threat. Here's a threat. We're all going to, you know, die.

This is going to be, and I understand this has been horrific and hard and difficult, but guess who's really more concerned in all the studies now? The older people, you'd think, well, they're closer to, if they got COVID, they'd be, you know, they're the ones that would really be in trouble. The younger kids are actually, younger people are the ones that are even more fearful than the older people. So this whole explore thing, again, goes back to, we need to help our kids realize, you know, now that doesn't mean just push them out the door and say, you know, like we used to, come back when the lights are on, you know. But I do think we really need to realize, man, build that attachment, but then with that, give them the opportunity to explore. And maybe they'll become like Dewey's daughter, not just a singer, but a worship leader or whatever it is God has for them. Yeah. Well, it's exciting even to think about, you know, how God uses those early years to form a child and lead them in a direction eventually that, where they can use the talents God's given them. Yeah.

But it does take parents who are willing to encourage that exploration, right? Yep. Yeah.

All right. How about the third element in relational intelligence? And that is unwavering resilience. Well, you know, Dr. Chapman, there was a study done in 2019 at Ohio State, and what they ask is they wanted to find out just how resilient do we think we are. And 83% of the Americans that took the survey believed that actually they possessed high levels of emotional and mental resilience. At the end of this research, what they found was, is that it revealed that only 57% actually scored as resilient. And so we had this misperception, if you will, or this self-graded ability to think that we're resilient, but in all actuality, we're not.

You know, I think of resilience growing up that with me, I had a dad that was a, I mean, thankfully, I mean, both my parents were Christians, and I was raised in a godly home, but my dad was a man's man. And, you know, he didn't, if you failed or if you fall down and you, you know, you skint your knee up, you know, one thing that I can still remember him used to say is that, you know what, I've had worse than that on the tip of my tongue and still could whistle a good song. And, you know, because he, yeah, and what he basically, the message that he was sending me is that, you know, it's not going to kill you.

It's too far from your heart to kill you. That's another one of the things that he used to say all the time. And while, you know, here I am thinking, man, you don't even care, dad, but what dad was teaching me about is that, you know what, it's not about what happens when you fall. It's more about what you do to get up and keep persevering because life is going to throw, as we all know, it throws us many things and many curveballs that we just take a swipe at and miss it completely. But at the end of the day, God created us to be able to get back up.

I mean, how many times in Scripture do you see where he enabled or allowed somebody to go through a difficult time only to once again be strengthened on the other side? It's been said that there's three ways that we change. And the first one is that when we know enough that we want to, when we have enough that we're able to, or when we hurt enough that we're forced to. And, you know, I think as Dr. Trent pointed out earlier is that, you know, there's so many parents today that are just living in this fear that, man, I can't allow my child to fail because I'd rather wrap them up in a bubble wrap and that nothing can penetrate that. And we've seen the helicopter parents of yesterday become the snowplow parents of today. And, you know, we have to teach our children that failing, yeah, I mean, we have to be conscientious about the effort that they put into it, whatever they do, like one is commitment. But at the end of the day, it's okay to let our children fail. But it's also important that we're there to assist them and to guide them and help them to pick them up as they get back up and go forward.

You know, Dr. Chapman, you've got people listening that are really all over the map. Some are grandparents, some are, so they've got grandkids and they're thinking about how can I help them be relationally intelligent. Others have teenagers or toddlers, wherever you're at on the map. But there are some of us that have gone through a season with a kid where, you know, they've gone through kind of a prodigal thing. And, man, let me tell you, I know with our, I get the great awesome privilege of working with our older daughter, Carrie.

But I'm telling you, when she was in college, right, we're actually in graduate school, for about four years we just lost her. And one of the things that's so important about, I think, this whole concept of relational intelligence and, you know, just exploring but also helping kids just, you know, be resilient and get back up was, you know, when Carrie was going through this difficult, horrible time and if you've ever had a prodigal at some point, then, man, let me tell you, it's the old, you know, you're about as happy as your saddest kid, you know what I mean? But it was the ability, I think, part of it as she looks back is, you know, she says, well, Dad, you know, I always felt like that I knew there was that attachment there, in essence, that blessing. I knew you still valued me. I knew that, you know, that if I did, you know, I could come back. And, boy, it was amazing when she did, there was this sense of just kind of rediscovering how do you relate well and build resilience because sometimes trauma, which is what she was going through, we didn't really know all that she was going through, it just sucks the life out of them. They just, you know, lay down.

They don't really move forward. So this relational intelligence can help them all over the map, you know, not just when they're young and not just if they're, you know, doing great but also just how to move forward in life. We hope today's program is encouraging you.

Our guests on this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman are Dr. Dewey Wilson and Dr. John Trent. They've written our featured resource, The Relationally Intelligent Child, 5 Keys to Helping Your Kids Connect Well with Others. Find out more at

Again, go to All right. Well, today we're talking about relational intelligence with Dr. Trent and Dr. Wilson. So let me ask you, Dr. Trent, the fourth element in that is wise decision-making. How do we help our children learn that skill? Well, you know, it is so easy to, you know, just think our kids are going to always make right decisions.

But they're like us and they're not going to. And boy, that's why we need a savior. That's why we need to have the kind of love that, you know, that really helps kids realize, you know, it's not a bargain, you know, meaning, you know, well, you do this and I'll do that. It's a bond, you know. Hey, you've got this bond of attachment.

You can go explore your world. If you do fall down, you can get back up. And, you know, again, that helps them make those wise decisions.

And we go into detail a little bit in the book on, well, then, you know, you can help your kids by helping them process that and deal with that. But wise decisions, can you see how they kind of all build off of each other? Now they're kind of ready when they do fall down and they realize they can get back up. And then doing that leads to the next one, you know, which is then all of a sudden at that point, now they're not only making good decisions, so that's like Carrie coming back and walking close with the Lord and back with us and now she's ready to go change the world, which is the last one, right?

Absolutely, Jon. Yeah, because, you know, God created every one of us with a purpose. He's given us all gifts.

He's given us all talents to be able to fulfill that purpose in our life. And, I mean, what better way to do that when you know that you've got a secure attachment with a caregiver, with a parent that's enabled us and allowed us to be able to explore our world and our world becomes big. But as we fall down, we learn to be able to get back up and then make those wise decisions. And going back to what Jon was even saying there, it's a physiological aspect that the part of our brain that takes risk, I mean, that's established early on as a child.

But did you know that the part of the brain that determines and processes through consequences, that part of our brain doesn't even develop until we're in our mid-twenties and sometimes even into our thirties. And so, but once we've got a caregiver that's walking along with us in all these four aspects, then guess what? You've got the ability now to look at your world and to know that God has created you for something bigger than this. And what that is is to learn to serve each other and serve them well.

When we don't have the stress of the other four, then guess what? You've got the ability to do that in a God-honoring way. And that's really what we call future-focused service. I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, to give you a future and a hope. And again, relational intelligence is then the payoff is, man, go change the world for Christ.

And Gary, did you ever think when you got on a bus and headed to Moody Bible, you'd be doing what you're doing today? I mean, it's just, but so much of it is just God opens those doors as we walk with him. Absolutely. And he does that for our children, you know. I'm reminded of 3 John 4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. That's the payoff for parents, right?

Absolutely. Well, as we come to the end of our session here, I want to talk about a little bit about this personality assessment that you all have in the book, which is built specifically to help parents and their children understand who they are and how they relate. Share a word about that assessment.

Yes, thank you, Dr. Chapman. Yeah, the personality assessment that we encourage parents to use, also take for themselves and their children is called the Connect Assessment. And the reason why we put this together is one, is that so that we could identify what our individual strengths are as parents, but also what are the strengths and the tendencies of our children? You know, oftentimes we want to discipline and we want to serve other people or to grow our children based on our strengths. And what that ends up with, it ends up in many ways just a total disconnect.

You know, once again, you know, my oldest daughter is, I mean, she is what we want to call that golden retriever beaver. And what that means is she's slower paced and that she needs more time to make a decision. But when she's given the time to make those decisions, man, most of the time they're spot on. But my personality is completely different than that.

And so I have a tendency to be more fast paced and to lose patience, you know, when things are not moving along the way that I think they need to be moving along. And so if I'm parenting based on what I perceive as to be important, then we've got a disconnect between our children. And so what this personality assessment does, we have actually have one here again for the adults, but we also have one for the children that are, you know, for the ages, say, you know, two to three all the way up to six. What we do is we actually, we want parents to be able to take that for their children based on what they see in their children in these tendencies. And then we have another one from seven, if your child is from seven to 12, then what we encourage parents to do is to take that with their kids but have an interact with them and have a conversation with them about what the options for these 24 questions are. And at the end of it, what we're going to do is we're going to provide for them a graph of what is their personality tendencies using the four animals that Dr. John created, which was the lion, the otter, the golden retriever, and the beaver.

And we explain this in the book and we give them more details about what each one of these animals represent. And it's just a great way for parents to begin to celebrate the strengths of their children. Well, I think our listeners will find that assessment to be really, really helpful in putting into practice some of the things we're talking about.

I want to end with one question. If we don't push, I'm talking about we, if we, by which I mean the Christian community and our culture, if we don't push back on the disconnection that we're seeing with our next generation, what's going to be the results? Well, I think we're already seeing a lot of the challenges that people are facing is do we, you know, started off mentioning anxiety is rampant, loneliness is epidemic. And I think Satan's just looking at that and going, this is awesome.

And so we need to, I think, say as a church, boy, we need the courage to really step forward and say, boy, we do need to be that person that lives out. What does, you know, loving like Jesus look like? And I think it's relational. He's a relational God. We're created for connection. And again, man, we can help change the world and help our kids, but it's going to be through a relational map, I think, is how we get them there. Not just, you know, an academic one. Yeah, absolutely.

Can I add something real quick? And I know it may be a short time, but, you know, I think also that what this is going to lead to is a more compartmentalization of our children. And what I mean by that is, I mean, we're hearing a term tribalism today, and that's the things that we get compartmentalized in and we stand firm on what we choose to believe. And, you know, and if we don't connect with our children and go through these five elements, then those gaps are going to, then compartments are just going to become more and more prevalent.

But yet God created us to live in a holistic culture. And, you know, in celebrating each other's strengths and definitely being able to train our children up in a way that God would have them to go. Well, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Trent, this has been a fascinating discussion, and this book, I think, will help parents greatly overcome the disconnect that we're seeing in so many places in our culture. So thanks for being with us today, and thanks for your investment in writing this book. Hey, thank you. Great being with you. Thank you very much. Such encouragement from Dr. John Trent and Dr. Dewey Wilson today. If you go to, you'll see their book, The Relationally Intelligent Child, Five Keys to Helping Your Kids Connect Well with Others.

Again, just go to And next week, How to Have Tough Conversations by Speaking the Truth in Love. Military Chaplain Charles Causey joins us in one week. Our thanks to our production crew, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. 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 / 2023-08-21 11:47:23 / 2023-08-21 12:07:26 / 20

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