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A Parent’s Influence

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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July 16, 2020 2:00 am

A Parent’s Influence

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 16, 2020 2:00 am

Teen expert Jeffrey Dean knows that moms and dads each have something unique to bring to the table when it comes to raising spiritually healthy kids. According to Dean, each child is looking for authenticity. They want to know if Christianity connects to the real world. Dean tells moms and dads how they can help their kids know that God's Word is still applicable today.

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Whether you realize it or not, your teenagers are paying attention to how the two of you interact as a couple, as a mom and dad. And Jeffrey Dean says it's not just your kids who are watching. We try to be that home where the kids come to after the games, and we try to have those parties and those celebrations in the backyard where our kids want to throw those parties and they want to invite their friends.

I'm telling you, the thing we hear the most, that we love the most from our daughters' friends, is we love that you guys love to be together. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at As parents, we have a tremendous responsibility as well as a tremendous opportunity to help shape the lives and the marriages of the next generation.

We'll talk more about that today with Jeffrey Dean. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. You know, for years at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaways, we have made the statement that kids need both a mom and a dad to better understand everything about parenting, about gender, about sexuality. As they're growing up at home, the reason God gives kids a mom and a dad is so that they can get the full picture of his creation. I know there are some times when divorce or death takes a mom or a dad out of the picture and somebody feels like, boy, my kids are missing something. And God is the father to the fatherless and he's the mother to the motherless, so we need to keep that in mind.

But it's so true that both a mom and a dad are essential and essential in different ways as we raise our kids. You know, it's interesting, and you probably don't know this, Bob, but at that moment in the Weekend to Remember when we're teaching that point, you know me, I always grab a guitar. Yes. And I sing an old, old song. Oh, hang on. Hang on. We've got a guitar. Grab the guitar here. Let's see it. Let's hear it, Dave Wilson. I was not expecting that. Come on, show us your stuff. I usually do it, okay, we can do this. I don't know what year this was.

Had to be the 60s. It takes two, baby. It takes two, baby.

Me and you. Oh, that's very nice. You remember that song?

I do, yeah. I don't know who it was by, but I do make the point that Bob makes, even after singing that, because it's really just for fun. It takes two, baby, to raise kids, and it's better if you can have both, but I was raised by a single mom. So I didn't even experience that growing up, as Bob said, through divorce or death. My parents were divorced, but here's what my mom did, which was I didn't even realize it.

She would walk, speak into coaches that I had in sports, and literally ask them without me even knowing, will you parent my son through this season? Be the male influence in his life that my dad's gone. So in a sense, there still was a two-part thing. There's the female and the male. It's critical. So we've got a guest here today, don't we, Bob? We do have a guest here today. We're looking at Jeffrey.

We haven't even introduced the guy. Jeffrey Dean is joining us again on Family Life Today. Welcome back. It's a joy. You guys are fun and quite impressed with the guitar playing. Jeffrey, you've heard nothing yet.

Hey, I like my woman saying that. I have a sense that this could get off track real quickly, because you got started in ministry doing what? Playing music.

Isn't that crazy? Oh, maybe you should sing us something now. There's a little Nashville in us all. Jeffrey lives in Nashville.

He and his wife have two daughters for the last three-plus decades. You've been traveling around the country speaking to teenagers and their parents. Really, that's been your primary target audience has been teens and their parents.

Why that audience? Why do you think God singled you out for that? You know, I wish I could give you a really great answer that sounds really good, but the simple of it is I fell in love with students years ago, and just being privileged to volunteer in our local church and hang out with students and see their enthusiasm for life, but also seeing their need for truth and their hunger to want more than the world gives them. That sounds so Christian-y that I should say that, but it's so true, and God really broke my heart for this generation. And out of that, as you could imagine, being at a variety of events all over America, of course we meet people of all ages who equally are struggling and need hope and truth, but parents really driving the ship, looking to the world, working to teach them to look to God's word. At the end of the day, God has created you for this moment. We want parents to know that regardless of your situation, regardless of a failed marriage or a prodigal child, God has created you for this moment to be a parent to this child.

What a challenge, but equally, what a privilege. You know that some of the teens you were talking to in the early 90s are now the parents of the teens you're talking to in the 2020s. You've written a book called Raising Successful Teens. Are teens different today in the 2020s than they were in the 1990s and the 2000s? What's the same and what's different? Well, we know the world is different, and the accessibility is a click away to just about anything they want and don't want.

Right. But at the end of the day, kids are still kids, and I'm asked that question a lot, whether it be a student who lives in another nation or is privileged to be in the greatest nation on the planet here in America. Are kids different? At the end of the day, kids are looking for help and hope and have questions and want answers, and what a privilege it is to either stand on a stage in front of thousands or shake a hand of a kid in a public school or a detention center and remind them that they were made for more and that you've been created in the image of God. That word image, of course, means reflection that you're created to reflect Him.

The ability to be able to reflect Him in the way He desires is understanding that He has a plan and a purpose for your life, and through salvation in the Son Jesus Christ, you can be everything He's desiring you to be and that He's created you for. I am so honored to have been able to share the gospel with kids and to see life change happen. And yet we hear that so many people are leaving the church. Teens are leaving the church in droves is what we hear.

Do you still see that hunger? Because the message is still the same of what you've been sharing all these years. What are kids looking for today?

Is it any different? I think they just want authenticity is what we hear from students. We work with a lot of college-age students and do a lot of work on college campuses and meet students who, yes, many grew up in the church, love the Lord, want to live for Him, but find themselves lost in all that of trying to figure out does this really connect in the real world?

And is my religion just my parents or is it truly something that I have embraced and want to be? And there's a challenge there, but I think as we strive to remind parents that you can't get your kids to believe everything that you want them to believe necessarily just by taking them to church. But living that example in the home, I believe, is something that's going to stick even if they take that prodigal journey for a while, that truth that is embedded in them. So parents have a huge responsibility really to step back and to take a landscape view of, okay, how are we helping our kids understand that God's Word is apocryphal and that it's real and that it's tangible and that it can be something you embrace, even in your moments of challenge and question.

I think it's important to give our kids permission to question their faith and to wrestle with that and to let them know that we're in the wrestle with them and that we may not have all the answers, but we sure want to help them get to the answers. We talked about how important it is for kids to have both a mom and a dad in the home. You talk in your book Raising Successful Teens about the fact that there's a unique role a dad can play that is maybe different than what a mom can play in raising the next generation. So as you look at it, what can dads uniquely bring to the party? What can moms uniquely bring to the parenting journey?

How can they work together and use each other's strengths and gifts? First of all, for that single parent, as you just mentioned that's listening today, you carry that double load. We high-five you from the studio today and know that even though your situation might be different than those listening today who are in a two-parent family, I mean, God's, He's still in it with you.

He's called you to this moment, so stay the course. I write these two chapters, obviously, specifically from the approach of really thinking about my mom and dad and the uniqueness they brought to our family growing up. I'm one of three brothers, actually four, one passed away at birth, but my mom and dad brought unique gifts, and I break this down in the book really thinking about my mom, Sherry, and my dad, Jerry. And my dad was that spiritual leader in the home, though not that leader of really being a vocal leader, but he sure was that spiritual leader of prayer. And of course, yes, moms listening today, you can be that prayer warrior as well. I can remember my dad's journeys at night spiritually in the Word when the house would be quiet and us boys would be in bed, and I can see myself walking down the steps in our home just a few miles from here where I grew up and seeing my dad in his black leather chair and the Bible open and hearing my dad pray out loud, even as I'm thinking now in the studio. And my mom, a very quiet prayer, but with her unique gifts, my mom wrote, and she wrote letters, and my dad would never pen a letter probably to me as his son, but my mama brought that uniqueness of putting pen to paper and writing what was on her heart and how the Lord was leading her to lead her sons.

And to this day still, I have a box in my office in Nashville, stacks of letters that my mama has sent me that to this day still speak to me. And so I, a little off course here, but I sure would challenge every parent listening today. Find in your own way, I share unique stories in the book of what really connected me of my mom and my dad, but find your uniqueness as a parent and really use that in a way that helps you have that heart connection with your kid and whatever that looks like. I would challenge you, whether you're driving or at work or working out right now as you're listening to think, okay, how has God uniquely gifted me as a dad, as a mom, and how can I use my uniquenesses in a way to connect with my kid that can really help us blossom our relationship? Because every parent listening today, you have a unique gift the Lord has given to you.

Find that, use that, and every day exercise that muscle in your relationship with your children. I love one of the quotes in your book, which you're sort of hitting on right now, but you just said it this way. The thing your son or daughter is saying to dad, here's how you wrote it.

I'm sure you remember this. Dad, I believe four words capture the heart's desire of nearly every teen. I want my father.

And when I read that, I just thought that is so true. They may not show it, they may not ask for it, but deep down, that's what they're longing for, right? The father's heart. They want their father.

The story you're referring to there is the story from the Princess Bride movie, Amiga Mentoya, and well, that's a longer story than our time here today, but the six-fingered man who had killed Amiga Mentoya's father, and so he wants to avenge his father's death, and he finally has that opportunity, and the six-fingered man is offering him anything he wants. He says, I just want my daddy back. The heart's cry for all of us listening, that we long to have that father in our lives. Everyone listening now who has a daddy in life with you, you smile, and those right now who your daddy may have gone on and passed away, it may bring a tear to your eye. That emotions connect with us differently, but we're born because of that relationship that we have embedded within us to have that tangible relationship with our father in heaven. We also long for that in our relationship with our father here on the planet.

Wow, that's really powerful, and I think about those words, and I remember writing it thinking about my daddy and his impact in my life as I wrote that. You're a parent of two teenage daughters. You and your wife bring different things to the equation. When you think about what a dad can bring that a mom can't bring, is there anything that jumps out at you to say, you know, this is just a unique area where a dad can bring affirmation or encouragement that it's not going to work as well for a mom to try to do it?

Well, I can't say that I know it's not going to work as well because I'm not a mama, but I can say this. From countless conversations with boys and men of all ages and knowing my struggle as a man, I think about, when we write about this a lot in the book, the challenge that our boys are facing today with lust. And I know from a man's perspective, I get that. Every man listening today, there are really two types of men in the room.

Those that admit that they struggle with lust and those that lie about that struggle. And so a father can bring that unique perspective for both a son and a daughter of helping their kids understand the power of the enemy and that Satan hates us and he wants to destroy your kid and in the lives of so many children, he is working through that lust struggle. And so as a father, I know I bring a unique perspective, though I don't have sons in my home, I really can help my daughters understand the struggle a man faces and the struggle that their future spouse potentially will face in his life even after marriage. And so Amy and I have worked hard for many years to help our daughters understand love and the power of intimacy and understanding how things can go south really quickly in their dating lives. And so I would challenge every man listening, listen, you have a powerful voice in the room when it comes to the struggle of lust, whether you have a son or a daughter under your lead.

And so use that. One of our foundational principles, we talked about three of them, number five is you've got to be willing to go there. You've got to be approachable. You have to be unshockable. And so as a man, you bring that unique perspective to the table specifically when it comes to that struggle of lust of helping your kids understand how to walk through that.

How have you done that? How do you talk to your daughters about a man's struggle with lust? We in our home have an open policy that nothing is off limits. I remember when my oldest daughter was 10, she said, dad, I need to ask you a really important question. She came into my office.

It's in the book. This is a great story. She closes the door and I'm thinking we're going to talk about her day or a new friend she's met. And she gets right up in my face and anyone listening who knows my oldest daughter, she'll call it like she sees it. And she gets right in my face and says, dad, I have to ask you a very serious question. I just need you to be honest with me.

I said, tell me the question. And she said, no, I just need you to make sure you're going to be honest with me. And I'm thinking, okay, where are we going with this? And so the question is this, she said, daddy, is it true that every 17 seconds guys think about sex?

And of course in my mind, I'm thinking it's probably more like 10 seconds, but I wasn't going to tell her that, you know? And so I think, where did you hear this? Well, she had researched a paper online and an MSN ad popped up and there it was, every 17 seconds guys think about sex and a challenging moment, but a wonderful moment.

And I'm thinking this is what we've been waiting for. These are the moments, not so much the question about how often is daddy thinking about sex, but I want my daughters to know that you can come to me about anything. Hopefully every parent listening would say they desire for the same, but have you clearly articulated that to your kids? That mom and dad are here. We want to be the number one source of truth.

We may not have the answer, but we sure are going to go look for it. And we want you to see us as approachable, as unshockable. And so that open door policy is so important and for every parent listening today, it is never too late to open that door of conversation. It just begins with authenticity and it may be awkward and you may sweat a little and you may want to go in the bedroom, close the door and scream into the pillow, but your kids, listen, if you aren't willing to go there, they're going to go somewhere. And if they can't look to you, who are they going to look to?

And so we've got to be that open door to say, you can come to me about anything. Mary Ann and I were driving somewhere last night and I was telling her about something I'd seen online where guys were interacting on this subject of lust and sex. And I described to her what I'd seen and she just looked at me and like, you guys are so weird. Guys talk like that, they think like that, they say things like that.

She goes, that's just so weird. Well, you know what? As a dad, we have the opportunity to enlighten our daughters. Even if it's weird.

Yeah. To the fact that I know this seems unusual and you may think dad's weird, but trust me, I represent half the species. The guys at your school are thinking this way and you go, no, not that, yes, they are, right? Well, guys, what do you do when I'm thinking of many women that have come up to me and asked me, I want my husband to talk to my kids about these things. I want there to be this open discussion, but my husband will say, yeah, yeah, why don't you go talk to your mom about that? He's saying that to his sons and daughters. Coach us as women when our husbands don't want to be involved.

My encouragement would be, okay, take what you have and work with it. And so I remember my mom and my dad, as I've mentioned already in our conversation today and in our previous one, that my dad was a man of few words. I remember the sex talk we had. My older brother was there. We knew the talk was coming because Kent, my older brother, heard my parents the previous night saying it was coming. I hardly slept that night.

I'm knowing it's coming. So the next morning, Cocoa Puffs were in the kitchen. Dad walks in, bless his heart, you'd have thought he'd have seen a ghost because he knew the conversation he had to have and he sat down and my older brother's there and I'm there and here goes the sex talk and my dad's not doing so well. Was it just awkward? It was just awkward.

So he punts. But there is mama and she takes over and it's the team. And mom to this day says she didn't do this, but oh, she did do this.

One woman of few words. Rather than talking, she took out a piece of paper and a pencil and started drawing what I thought were very awkward pictures I had never seen before. I wish we still had that drawing. We could show her every Christmas. But I've never forgotten it. And even though the conversation didn't go well and they would have both said we failed miserably, I've never forgotten that mom and dad love me so much. They're in it with me so much that even in the midst of awkward and weird-looking pictures that I really never want to see again from them, I have never forgotten the conversation and the power of that conversation that even though they weren't perfect at it, because again, success isn't about perfection, it's the pursuit. Mom and dad loved us so much they were willing to have the conversation with us. That's so powerful. And let me ask you, what were the things that as a mom you thought, no, Dave needs to do that.

That's really in his job description. And what were the things that you thought, now that's on me. You were raising three boys. Were there certain subjects that you looked at and said, I think really that's a dad's responsibility and I'm going to encourage Dave and motivate him in that area, but then I'll own up to the stuff that ought to be my area? Yeah, I'm pretty much an open book and I'm very open.

And now my kids have told me that I was a little too open because I want to talk about everything and they're like, mom, this is just weird with you. But yeah, I think when it came to physical sexual intimacy, I wanted Dave to give a man's perspective on that. When it came to porn, I wanted Dave to talk to them about that and Dave and I would talk about it. I feel like Dave, you really watched my dad, which I don't think my dad really talked about any of that with my brothers, maybe Dennis Rainey or some of your male role models had a big impact on you of knowing like that's what you should do. But when it came to those issues that like, this would be so good from a man, I would probably walk into it. But I think, yeah, those are the ones that they just need a man to talk to them.

Lust and porn and sexuality. And what about the areas that you felt like as a mom, these are the things I need to make sure? I told the boys, if there's anything you hear at school, if there's anything that happens, I'm always here for you. You can ask me anything. And they would come home and say, this is a word that I heard.

I don't know what it is. And I would happily explain that. And the more embarrassed we are as parents, the more awkward it can feel. But I think it's really important just to have that open conversation about everything because I said, your friends are gonna talk about this and they probably won't have the right answer and they'll make up half of it. But dad and I will always tell you the truth. And I think that's important.

That's huge. The world is teaching our kids about sex and love and dating and intimacy and pornography. Many of the messages that are given is a lie.

So you're right. You've hit it right on the head. The world is teaching them. So we've got to step into that classroom and realize every day our kids are coming to class.

Is the teacher showing up? So important to that conversation. And as you said earlier, they really do want to hear from us. They may not say it, but they really do want to know what's mom think about this?

What's dad think about this? And Bob, to answer your question from my side, I do think, and Jeffrey, you put this in your book, one of the things that I think Ann wanted me to teach our boys, and this would be true for daughters in a different way, but for sons, and you put this here, one of the roles of dad is to teach them to respect women. Now, Ann definitely jumped in there and said, here's what it looks like from a woman's perspective.

But as a man, I felt this weight. Like, it is my job not only to teach it but to model it with their mom first, but to make sure as they especially become 13, 14, 15-year-old young men, this is what it looks like to respect women. You put that in the book. We live in a time where that is huge in our culture. So talk about what would that look like? So teaching our sons and our daughters what should I respect, that I should expect respect, and how does that look?

I mean, how can we put hands and feet to that? It may be as simple as just opening the door for a girl. It may be as more intense as if I'm a son and I'm taking a girl out on a date that I'm never going to put her in an environment that could be compromising to either of us. One thing I tell teen boys all over America, you want to melt the heart of a girl and you want to teach respect from moment one. The next time you go out on a date with a girl, before you ever leave the driveway, reach over.

And at this moment, I've got a couple thousand kids in an audience sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear the boys want to know what they need to say and the girls want to hear what the boys should say. And so before you ever leave the driveway, reach over, grab that girl's hand, and say a prayer with her. And the moment in the room gets quiet, but I've just sent the message to a boy that, listen, praying with a girl may seem odd, it may seem weird, but I tell you, it's really hard to go there physically with her when you've just lifted the date up to the Lord. And in that moment, you have sent the message to her without even saying it, that whatever happens from this moment forward, I desire to respect you. I'll just say one thing to the men.

If that son or daughter never sees you do that with his mom, I mean, you have an opportunity to show your kids what that looks like by grabbing your wife's hand in the kitchen and praying. Again, you're not doing that for them. This is an overflow of your own walk. But, man, have the courage. And there's some dads listening that have never once prayed with their wife. And I'm saying, today's your day.

I'm not kidding. Today's your day. Be a man, step up, pray with your wife. Maybe make it a regular thing and your son or daughter is watching and they may just model it on their next date because they are copying what they saw in their own home. And I want to encourage women as wives, if your husband's not doing the job you would hope that he's doing with your kids, talking to your kids, praying with your kids, leading your kids, having these deep discussions, can I just tell you from one mom to another, don't belittle your husband in front of your kids because the disrespect that goes on there, your kids feel it and they see it.

I think I did that for years today. But if you can encourage your husband and tell him the things he's doing right, that will motivate him. And go to God and pray for your husband, pray for your kids, and pray that God will just lead and guide you and protect those kids. And keep the goal in mind, you want to raise successful teens. And by successful we mean teens who understand who God is, understand who they are, are in a right relationship with him and are living that out in their lives.

And if that's happening, that's what we care most about. That's what's at the heart of the book, Raising Successful Teens. And it's a book we're making available this week to Family Life Today listeners. Any of you who would like a copy of this book, you can request it from us online at or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. With your donation, we're happy to send you a copy of Jeffrey's book. Again, the title is Raising Successful Teens. And you can make a donation online at or you can call to donate at 1-800-358-6329. We think this book will give you a game plan, a strategy for how you can be most effective as you take your kids through the teen years.

So get your copy when you donate online at or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. Now here at Family Life, we've been hearing from a lot of you about the challenges you have been facing in your marriage and family relationships over the last several months. It's been a challenging season for many of us. And when we're under stress, when life is not as predictable as it has normally been, our relationships get strained. So we've put together a resource we think is going to help a lot of couples.

We're calling it Taking Your Marriage From Good to Great. This resource gives you access to a couple of online mini courses, one on how to resolve conflict when it occurs in marriage, another course called Lightbulb Moments in Marriage, those times when the lightbulb goes off and you go, oh, I understand better. We've got messages available for you from Paul David Tripp, from Gary Chapman, Vody Baucom, Julie Slattery, all of these messages designed to help strengthen your marriage relationship. And we've got downloadables and printables, conversation starters, questions to help take your relationship to the next level, a quiz you can take on being a good listener. All of this is available free when you go to and register for the Taking Your Marriage From Good to Great resource.

And as an additional bonus for registering for this content, you are also automatically going to be entered into a giveaway. We're going to be inviting one couple who downloads this content to join us at Family Life for a Family Life Today recording session and then dinner that night with Dave and Ann Wilson. So if you'd like to come sit in on one of our recording sessions and have dinner with Dave and Ann, go to and register for the Taking Your Marriage From Good to Great resource.

There's no purchase necessary. All contest rules are available online at We hope you enjoy the content and we look forward to meeting at least one couple here at a future Family Life Today recording session. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to talk about how to get teenagers to talk a little better, you know, so that they're not just saying, it was fine, it's okay, no.

You know, the kind of one-word answers we often get from teens. Jeffrey Dean is going to be here tomorrow to talk about how we can break through that logjam with our kids. Hope you can tune in for that as well. 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 / 2024-03-03 13:23:08 / 2024-03-03 13:36:39 / 14

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