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Vital Life Skills for Kids

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2022 2:00 am

Vital Life Skills for Kids

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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August 19, 2022 2:00 am

What do kids need to know for real life success? Josh and Jen Mulvihill dive into vital life skills kids shouldn't live without.

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You know, we're all toiling for something as a parent, and the question is, is it the right thing? And is it going to get us towards that end goal? But at the end of the day, if our kids don't love Christ, man, that hurts as a parent.

It really does. So that's really where our aim is with our kids, and I feel like we can weather a lot if there's a love for Christ there. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.

And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. If you could go back in time and redo your parenting, what's just one thing you would do differently?

My parenting or your parenting? Because I'd like to redo— We're not talking about me. This is you today. The first one that comes to my mind is seize the day. What do you mean? Seize moments.

I read somewhere you have 936 weeks from the time your son or daughter is born until they hit 18. I think I've been more intentional with each week. I feel like you were intentional.

You're saying consistently. Oh, I just feel— What would you say? I know you asked me, but what's yours?

I've got like 20 in my list. I wish I would have responded more to their situations instead of reacting. I think I reacted in fear often instead of responding and had more of a questioning view of what makes you say that or what makes you tempted to do that or what are you struggling with?

I wish I would have gotten into the core of who they are as young men. That's one of mine. I've had so many more I could talk about. Well, we're going to get some help today. We've got Josh and Jen Mulvihill back in the studio, and they are not only parents, but they are—in my mind, you're sort of experts on this whole parenting thing. So welcome back to Family Life Today. Thanks for having us.

It's good to be here. I say experts with a smile because you're looking at me like, yeah, you have five kids at home. And by the way, our listeners don't know this, your oldest is actually watching the kids this weekend. Oh, yeah.

So you're at that stage. And he's 15. We hope we have five when we come back home. He does great. He does fantastic. He does a great job.

He's very responsible. And I left all these checklists, you know, of things to do. When Ann would leave and I was home with the boys, she would literally make every meal for us because she knew I wouldn't even feed them. There was a time that I left them and I said, what did you guys eat today?

Dad didn't give us anything. I did too. They were exaggerating just a little bit.

Oh, that's hilarious. Yeah. But I mean, it's interesting when you talk about that because I mentioned to you earlier that our oldest son, we found out years later, would take the money we gave him. He was like 16.

He was 16. He could drive when we left them to go do a weekend to remember marriage getaway. And he was responsible, but we found out just a few years ago that we would leave, this is back in the day, so 50 bucks for food for that weekend. And we were all sitting around and the younger brother said, did you know that every time you guys would leave, soon as you would leave, CJ said, guys, get in the car. We're going to go buy a new video game with that money. And so I was like, what? And the younger one said, Mom, we had no food all weekend.

We're scrounging, scrounging through the cupboards looking for food. And the older one said, but you guys, we had fun playing video games. Opportunistic right there. Well, you can see why I said I should have been more intentional. Because I mean, I mean, in some ways we had no idea. But I mean, it was a wonderful, you know, wonderful life. But here's the thing. You know, as we talked to you earlier, you've written a book about 50 things that you want your kids to know before they leave home.

So talk about intentionality. I might have come up with three or four. You have 50. And you list them in your book. But let me ask you this. Let's start here. Do you have one thing you wish you could redo? I love that question. That's a tough one.

Is there something you wish Josh would have done? I think in the way I respond, I tend to be, I'm a type A person, so I'm tasked first. Are you reactive like me?

I think so, yeah. So I tend to get angry when kids like, I've got, you know, I've got to get this done. And if things are loud at home or things start going in a direction that, you know, that's not kind of how I envisioned it. So mine is probably, you know, Lord, give me patience, give me grace, give me kindness. And, you know, I find myself oftentimes apologizing to our kids or sometimes to Jen just on the way that I interact with them.

Me too, Josh. Yeah, I think that's my biggie. I think I would say mine would be to say yes more. You know, I think sometimes as a mom and I have my day plan and I've got things, you know, the way I think that they should be going. I think just saying yes more instead of no and being willing to go with the flow and let things play out.

And I could definitely be better at saying yes more. It's fun to see how you mellow out a little bit as you get older as a parent. It's true.

It's very true. You know, the way we raised our firstborn when they were just, you know, it's like, put them in bubble wrap. Now as they're a little older.

Yeah, things just aren't as big as they were. And, you know, the thing that we've learned is as there is relational health there and when the foundation is strong, you can weather a lot. And, you know, so much is out of our control as parents.

It really is. And there is a trust factor with your children. There is a trust factor with the Lord that comes into play. But there also is an element that these kids aren't ours. They share our name, our last name for a little time, but they're given to us on loan by the Lord. And we really want to be good stewards of what He has given us.

And I think this is part of that. Like, all right, Lord, you've entrusted us. What more have you entrusted to us of great importance between a soul that will last for eternity? I mean, just think about this child will stand potentially in eternity next to us as a brother or sister in Christ. Well, they recognize us as mom and dad.

I'd like to think they would. But primarily as brother and sister in Christ, what a privilege to be able to have that kind of impact on people in this world. Well, we talked earlier about, you know, sort of the goal of what you're trying to raise. Just remind us, and again, I don't know if I've met more intentional parents in my life, you know, than have 50 things.

We're going to get into a few of those. But as you step back from, okay, begin with the end in mind, what was it you're trying to raise? Can you give us some words as sort of a picture of like, this is what our goal is? I look at Psalm 127, which talks about children are arrows in the hands of a warrior, which is funny. We're the warrior, kids are the arrows. It's kind of an interesting metaphor the Bible's chosen. That implies a number of things with an arrow. Arrows have a target, and that means we're kind of aiming for something with the arrows that God's given us.

And the question is, what is it that that target is? And I think the Bible speaks to that to a pretty good precision. I come back to a couple passages, some that are just bigger in view of Christianity, and our kids are a microcosm of that, some that are parenting specific. I want to read Colossians 128 and 29, which gets at the kind of the, this is what God wants for a Christian, a person in general.

And then of course, that applies to us with parenting. It says, to him we proclaim, that's Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom. Here's kind of the bullseye, the target, that we may present everyone mature in Christ, so that maturity in Christ is our priority. And then Paul says this, for this I toil, struggling with all his energy, which is an interesting way of putting it. Parenting's a struggle at times, if we're honest, but notice it's struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works in me. You know, there's this whole divine human partnership thing happening that God is working, but I love that phrase, for this I toil. And you know, we're all toiling for something as a parent, and the question is, is it the right thing?

And is it going to get us towards that end goal? And I think Paul starts to get at here, presenting everyone mature in Christ, kind of what that end goal is. Maturity, Christ-like character, is kind of what we're aiming at with our kids.

There's a passage in Psalms that I really love, it's Psalm 78, 7, which talks about how the goal in this passage of telling one generation after another generation, so that, it says in verse 7, that there may be hope in God and obedience to His ways. And so, you know, that hope is salvation, and obedience is walking with the Lord. So, you know, that's really what we're getting at with our kids, you know, when they leave, we'll encourage them to obey the Lord. I mean, man, what a marching order to walk with the Lord, and our goal is Christ-like character with our kids. And there's a lot of other supplemental things that are important, but at the end of the day, if our kids don't love Christ, man, that hurts as a parent, it really does. So that's really where our aim is with our kids, and I feel like we can weather a lot if there's a love for Christ there. You know, as I said, I think on our first day, if our daily activity, choices, and energy is going to things that are really taking us away from that, then we probably need to think about reprioritizing some things that are happening in our home so that that end goal can be accomplished. And, man, it can be educational choices, it can be sports on the calendar, it can be the way we correct a child in the home, it could be a whole host of many things that we do that really either help or hurt towards that end. Well, I'm thinking, we've shared this before, but I think our kids were elementary school and middle school, and we asked the question, what do you guys think is most important in our family?

Just off the top. Don't share that. Like, what do you think our values are? This did not go well. And so I had them go one at a time, but the consensus was, sports.

Sports are what matters the most in our home. And I said, what? They all got that from Ann. They didn't get that from her. That was all from Mom.

And they said, but Jesus is a close second. I think that's a great question to ask your kids. What do you think matters the most to me and Dad? Just ask them that. Teenagers will be brutally honest, and so will our kids.

They'll just be honest. I think that's a great question to ask, because here's what you guys are saying. The world and our culture is going to sweep our kids away. And if we aren't intentional, the culture is discipling our kids. And so we have to step in to be intentional to guide them in the things biblically that matter. One of the things you talk about is developing a biblical worldview with your kids. I'm like, yes, we have to do this. But most of us are saying, I have no idea how to do that.

How did you guys do that? I think with worldview, I think it comes down to what are the inputs and influences happening in our kids' lives. And so thinking through major influences. We're thinking about education.

We're thinking about screens. We're thinking about the peers that they have. We're thinking about parents, grandparents, even the church that they're going to. All of those combined begin to shape the heart and mind of a child. And as parents, we want to be intentional. We're not trying to isolate or get our kids into a little Christian bubble. But there's a balance between keeping out those things that are very damaging to a child.

And there are. We could think about what they are in our culture right now and putting some protective measures there. But also allowing them to be exposed to the right kinds of people. The Bible talks a lot about, especially Proverbs, a book written for young people about the kinds of relationships and influences that they have. And we are wise as parents to, especially in the early years, be very intentional about those kinds of influences. And then as they get older, they can interact with the world from a position of strength, not a position of weakness. And so as our kids have gotten older, they are engaged with the world on big issues that are happening, that we're seeing in our culture and politically. They're the issues of our day. And we have the opportunity then as parents just to talk through those in our home and to help them to navigate that from a scriptural perspective.

Jen, you're a homeschool mom. So you're probably having those conversations all the time. We're having those conversations all day long. In fact, I was in the car with our nine-year-old. And our nine-year-old said to me, he's the sweet, sweet, tender boy. He said, Mom, we had been watching the Olympics.

And he said, Mom, what does it mean to be trans versus to be gay? And so we're having those conversations even from a very young age because they're seeing it. The world is front and center in front of our kids.

And so we need to be teaching them the truth. And so, yeah, all day long, we're having conversations about what does the Bible say about the things we're interacting with. And also just the act of reading the Bible out loud to your family, to your children, you know, invites conversation. It invites us to apply those words to what's going on around us. That's something you guys do because I think so many parents when they hear, I want to raise a son or daughter who has a biblical worldview, who loves God, who loves others.

You said it earlier, even Psalm 127, Psalm 78. So they're like, that's my vision. That's our goal.

Here's how we do it. Get them to church. Get them in the youth group. Get them around Christian kids. Get them in a Christian school.

And again, all those are great, but it sounds like you're talking even bigger than that. And you were a pastor for 20 years, so I know you're pro church and you want your family as part of the church, but you're talking about a different model. You're talking about parents being involved and living that out, right? What's that look like in your home? That's David Ann Wilson with Josh and Jen Mulvihill on Family Life Today.

We'll hear their response in just a minute. If you've been listening to Family Life Today, you know how important it is to be a family on a mission. We believe that God calls us into community and to serve each other with the abundance of resources that he's blessed us with. Right now, there are two ways you can partner with Family Life to impact lives for his kingdom. First, you can lead a small group study in your home or your church.

Right now, you can get a discount on all leader materials with the code 25OFF. That's 250FF at FamilyLifeToday.com. And second, you can partner with us financially to equip families to move from isolation toward oneness.

You can donate securely online at FamilyLifeToday.com. And as our thanks, when you give today, we'll send you a copy of Jenny Allen's book, Find Your People. All right, now, you want your kids to have a biblical worldview to love God and to love others. But what does it look like to cultivate that in the home?

Here's Jen Mulvihill. So in our home, it looks like our family worshiping together at different times in the day. So in the mornings, we start together and I read the Bible out loud to our kids. And I'm not giving a sermon, you know, I'm not asking them to like, you know, look up the Greek or the Hebrew.

It looks like me sitting everyone down and we're very cozy and I just read out loud. What do you read? Any certain scripture? Like right now, we're reading through the book of Proverbs. We read through 1 Kings, 1 and 2 Kings this fall. And I tell you what, the Bible is exciting.

It's exciting. And so once your children actually realize that the Bible is not just some, you know, thick book that sits on the shelf. Or a boring book. It's not boring, right? I usually say if your kids think your Bible is boring.

They probably haven't read it. Yeah. Or you're teaching it in a boring way. And I'm guessing other times where one kid's crawling on top of the other. I mean, is it just this perfect little family thing? No, it's not always perfect.

Yeah. So I read in the mornings and then in the evenings, usually at dinnertime, Josh will read to our family. We also use a book called The First Book of Questions and Answers. It's a little book. It's very easy and approachable that just asks questions of your children about the Bible. And it has scripture that follows up with it.

Super easy. Questions like, who made you? And then the answer would be, God made you.

Genesis 1, 1. And so we do use tools like that to encourage our family to be in the Word together. And it's practical discipleship.

And so we sing, we get creative with how we are learning hymns and are we singing prayers? It varies throughout the year and the season. But yeah, so usually I'll read in the mornings and Josh will read in the evenings. I aim for three times a week, by the way. Three times a week. Three times a week, what? That we're reading at night. Yeah, okay.

I'll feel like a rock star dad if I hit three. Yeah. But the combination and the consistency. I don't want anybody to beat themselves up about frequency. But I do think what matters is that our kids are seeing us in the Bible and they're getting this. What it communicates to them is, this is important for our home. My mom and dad read it and it shapes our home and it saturates our lives. And that in and of itself will carry great weight with our kids that mom and dad prioritize this. And they made it a part of our regular family life.

And hopefully that value and elevation of God's word translates into a value for our kids in that area. Have you seen other families do this? I mean, it's a wonderful picture. I just don't know how many families do this. Do you see this happening?

I mean, I know you probably have a vision for this happening. Yeah, you're probably teaching it at your church. We do, yeah. I wouldn't train families. So this isn't that unusual.

This is something that can be commonplace if you choose to. Yeah, I had a family that came up to me. We'd train them on family worship, family devotions at home. And a mom came up on us as a pastor and she had her phone and was waving it at me. And look, Pastor Josh, our family sat around and read the Bible together for the first time. And she showed me this picture.

They're all on their couch with a big bowl of popcorn in the middle. And she was so excited as a mom. And I just want to say this, if this isn't the norm in your home, don't beat yourself up.

It doesn't mean anything bad about you as a parent. But I will encourage you that the Bible is this life-giving, there's nothing like it that can bring some health to our home and some hope to our kids. And God knows what our kids need to hear. It feels like our world's gone crazy today.

There's nothing new that we're experiencing that's surprising to Him. And as we read through the Bible, God knows what our kids need to hear. And so we come across the subject matters that speak to the kinds of things we're navigating today, either relationally or culturally, and the Bible is so, so relevant. And so as we read that, for us it's just in little snippets.

You know, we're talking five to ten minutes, sometimes maybe a little bit longer. Sometimes it's like, as you said, it's like, did anything land? And you wonder, other times it's like, well, that actually generated some good conversations.

I didn't anticipate it would go that direction, but it's amazing to me what our kids are thinking. So we were talking about dating the other day with our 12 and 15-year-old sons, and my 12-year-old just started firing questions. So we were reading through the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 5, this was on marriage. And he was asking questions like, can you date two girls at once? And I'm like, what, Don Juan? You're like, no, you can't date two girls. And how old should I be when I start dating?

And how do I know it's the right one? And our 12-year-olds, our kids are thinking these things, and just as we were starting to read through Scripture, it gave them the freedom to start asking the things they're thinking about it. And our kids are going to go and look for the answers. And if it's not us as parents, it's going to be Google.

It's going to be somebody else. And so we want to create an open and inviting attitude and environment. Ask if you have questions. And this just invites some of that in just having the freedom there. And I think it really starts with us. As you said, like, now that our kids are older, so often now as men, they've come and said, man, your Bible's always out. You always had your Bible with you. Your Bible was all marked up. And I would have told you, my kids have never noticed that, ever, because they never said much of anything. Although I'd be reading my Bible in the morning and they'd come and climb in bed with me and I'm underlining, so they want a piece of paper to underline too. But that's where it starts, because when I'm learning something in the Word, and God's Word is amazing.

So when I learn something new, what's my next step? I can't wait to tell them about it. Like, you guys, listen to what I read today. What do you think?

She does this all the time. What do you guys think of this? And to have those discussions around the table or at bedtime or at breakfast, that's our spiritual duty as parents. And it's not something we have to do. It's something we get to do. And when we walk with God in the power of the Holy Spirit, we then exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And so our homes are filled with love and joy and peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That's different from the world. Yeah, and what I'm hearing you say is if we have a goal that our children will one day be men and women who love God and love others, and we're not?

Yeah. It's like, how do we expect that to happen if they don't see it? And again, we can't do it perfectly, but what I hear you saying is, this is an overflow. Because I don't think you guys are talking about, we're reading the Bible with our kids because we're supposed to, and we wrote a book about it, and it's a good thing.

No, it's an overflow. And if anybody can sniff that out, our kids, they know if it's real or if mom and dad are doing a process they were told to do, but when it's real. So I think for some of us listening today, it's like, you know where I got to start? Right here in the mirror. It's like, I got to start with me. It's like, wow, is the word of God alive in my life? Do I cherish it and love it?

Is Jesus alive in my life, and if he isn't, how do I expect that to be passed down to the next generation if they don't see it in me? So I got to start with me. I think the thing I love about you guys, too, is that you've given us the tools. Because maybe some of us aren't as diligent in writing out the plan, but you've done it for us. And so this gives us a way to think, what are those things that I need to leave with my kids and train them in?

So thanks for doing that. You've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Josh and Jen Mulvihill on Family Life Today. Their book is called 50 Things Every Child Needs to Know Before Leaving Home. You can order a copy at familylifetoday.com. And if you're looking for studies for your group that help you feel connected and known and help you love and know God more, check out our small group studies at familylifetoday.com.

You can use the code 25OFF, that's 250FF, to save on all leader materials. You know, a lot of us experience the tragedy of not having a father in our lives. Next week, Dave and Anne will be joined by Blair and Shai Lin to talk about God's providence in this same situation. We hope you can join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-12 13:26:15 / 2023-01-12 13:37:34 / 11

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