Share This Episode
Family Life Today Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine Logo

Made to Last, The Parenting Edition: Bryan & Stephanie Carter

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2023 5:15 am

Made to Last, The Parenting Edition: Bryan & Stephanie Carter

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1249 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 13, 2023 5:15 am

Want quality, long-lasting relationships with your kids? Bryan Carter, author of Made to Last, and his wife Stephanie share doable ideas for feeding spiritual growth and unshakable family ties.

“How do we raise our daughter? How do we raise our children well? How are they gifted? How are they wired?” So part of us discovering this strong-willed nature was figuring out how valuable it is, how the leadership gifts were there, how this would turn out later in life. So we had to figure out, “How do we cultivate each of these personalities in such a way that they feel loved, they feel valued?”

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Bryan and Stephanie Carter and find out more about Bryan's story at or on Instagram at @mrbryanlcarter and @mrsstephcarter

Revitalize your marriage: 50% off Weekend to Remember Getaways, Sep 4-18! Strengthen bonds, create lasting memories. Learn more at

Check out the Fearless Moms podcast mentioned in this episode

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper on building resilient marriages, overcoming challenges, and faith-based relationship advice on this FamilyLife Today podcast

Find resources from this podcast at

See resources from our past podcasts.

Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife's app!

Help others find FamilyLife. Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Check out all the FamilyLife podcasts on the FamilyLife Podcast Network

Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So classic moment in parenting world for us was when our oldest son, CJ, was three years old. Was he three? Yeah, he was three. And I'm giving him a bath and he looks at me and he's a real analytical. You could tell already. And today he's an engineer in IT with sharper image. But he's three years old and he's always thinking and he's just staring at my face. I'll never forget this. And he goes, Hey, Dad, how old were you when your head started sucking your hair back in?

That's what he says. I mean, that's how I could tell he's like analyzing like what's happened to my dad's hair. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today.

I asked all the boys one time as I got a little bit older, I said, Tell me what you guys think about the most. And that son said, Oh, easy. I'm constantly thinking about how does that work?

How does that work? And that was it. That's totally who he is. It always has been. It always has been.

You know, there's a part of being a parent where you can try and change that or you can celebrate that. And the reason we're bringing that up is we have Brian and Stephanie Carter back in the studio one more time. Talking about their book, Made to Last, which is eight principles to build long lasting relationships. And we've had a blast with you guys the last two days. Thank you for having us. I hope you've had fun. It's been great.

It's been great. And if we would all apply the principles that you talked about yesterday, we would have amazing marriages. So now we want to dive into a little bit of this parenting aspect. You guys have been married 25 years. You have three kids. Pastor Church, you're on the Family Life board.

So you make sure this ministry is going in the right direction. And after listening to you the last two days, we were in good hands. I thought that same thing, Dave. Oh, I really did. I thought, wow, you know, because I'm not in a lot of those board meetings.

We've been in a few. But man, knowing that this kind of stuff you guys are talking about, thank you. It's an honor to serve. Thank you so much. And you have a really cool marriage. Oh, thank you.

You do. Now we're going to talk about kids. I bet your kids are pretty great, too. So we have three kids. We have a 21-year-old, Kaitlyn, an 18-year-old, Kennedy, and then our son Carson is 15.

Each of them are completely different. I think about Kaitlyn and I remember just her being our oldest. And then we kept feeling like, this is so easy. This is all this parenting is. She just sits here.

She reads her little book. She's just great. And you probably thought, we're the best parents ever.

You know, what's this nightmare situation that is happening? So then we had Kennedy. And I would say she is our strong will blessing. Yeah. So between zero and seven, she brought it.

Really? And they questioned yourself as a parent to the point where I'll never forget this. The little preschool that we had Kaitlyn in, the same teachers who had taught Kaitlyn had Kennedy and they kind of were like, this is going to probably be her last year. And the reason why we're letting you stay is because we just know y'all are great parents because of, you know, with Kaitlyn.

Well, it's interesting, too, when you have a strong child, our youngest was our strongest. And I can remember we're driving in the car. He's five years old and I'm driving. You know, we dropped the kids off at school and he's coming home with me.

He goes, why are you going this way, Mom? It's way longer. And I'm listening to him. Is it? Probably.

Maybe I should. I'm thinking, how do you know how to get home? You know, the other way is quicker. He just had this natural leadership gift. He's just bossing me around all day. Listen, we had to learn through having a strong willed child not to break that spirit. Yeah.

Through prayer, through great mentors that kind of told us because we were calling anybody and everybody because we did not know what to do. I bet. And I think the best advice we got was not to break her spirit.

What's that look like? What do you mean? Well, we had to learn to give her choices. So with the first one, you can say, do this.

Yes. And she'd do it. But this one you have to say, well, either you can watch TV or you can do your homework. It had to always be choices and let them feel empowered, like it was their decision and their choice. If you focused them and made them, it was a battle of wills. And their will is pretty strong. And it's not worth that battle. It's not worth the battle. So you're constantly offering options and choices and trying to help them navigate.

You're like, why am I negotiating with a three year old? And they're good at it. And they're good at it. She was so good. She was so good. So I tell young moms now, I'm like, that little strong will blessing that you have. And I got that term from Julie Richard, who does this great ministry for moms called Fearless Moms. I would tell them, I'm like, just nurture that. Nurture that.

They're going to be the strongest leader. And she is. I was going to say, what's she like now? Well, you know, we had to read, ask a lot of questions. We had to unpack the uniqueness that God had given her.

How'd you do that? Reading, asking questions. We went to a therapist. Therapists trying to figure out, OK, how do we raise our daughter? How do we raise our children well? How are they gifted?

How are they wired? And so part of us discovering this strong will nature was figuring out how valuable that is. How the leadership gets out of there, how this would turn out later in life if we're able to cultivate that. Our son, who was kind of he's the baby, he's very, very easy going, very nonchalant. He's focused.

He knows what he wants to do, but he's very easy going. So we had to figure out how do we cultivate each of these personalities in such a way they feel love, they feel value. They're not we're not comparing them to their sims. And why don't you do it like this?

I don't have any problems with them. So we had to put all that kind of language away and say, let's learn to value them, affirm them, celebrate them, coach them based on how God has uniquely wired our children. And so that's something we had to wrestle with.

But now we watch them and it's interesting to watch them as teenagers, young adults, that we've been able to try to coach them through some of those unique seasons. But early on, it was just we were like, what is happening? It was hard.

It was really hard. And I think we had to learn just the different stages of parenting. I feel like in the beginning it's kind of like a dictatorship, like, OK, you do this, you go sit here.

OK, uh huh. And then it eventually gradually comes into kind of like a coaching season and so on. I feel like with all of our kids, we had to learn to give them responsibilities and so on as far as like, hey, you can sort clothes.

This is a color game. So at five, you can, OK, towels, whites, colors, just helping with the wash, but just giving them some type of responsibility and accountability. Our kids grew up with social media, like social media and phones and all that was introduced. And at a young age, even like working through that situation, but just being really clear with them as far as these are the expectations in our house and sticking with them. But then also not comparing your kid to somebody else's kid with having one kid that would who would do whatever they were supposed to do. And then having the other kid who would be like, yeah, no, I'm not doing that. Like I remember when I was pregnant with Carson, just a transparent moment when I found I was pregnant with him, I was like, oh, I don't know what I'm going to do. The other two, I don't even know what I'm doing with those two.

I'm going to have another one. Our last child was a complete surprise. So the first two were schoolteachers. Right. And so our our first child is born in June, June the fourth.

Schoolteachers will get out in May, June. There you go. Second child is born June 16. Come on. Right. June. Right. We get out of school. No, they had a summer together.

Yeah. We had two girls. We wanted to try again, but weren't quite sure. And then this this third one comes and it's total surprise that she's pregnant.

We don't even know this is this. And so she's kind of wrestling with depression, like what? And then our child, it's a terrible two thing happened at the same time. She was bringing it. She had separation anxiety. So when we would drop her off at school or just like at preschool, she would completely scream, completely fall out. Even if like my mom was watching, we're blessed that my mom lives like 10 minutes away from us. So even if my mom was watching her, she'd be like, what is with this crying?

I was like, this is what she does. And then you feel like people are judging you and especially that's what I was going to say at church. Yeah. And then you're the pastor. Yes. And that can be really there's that pressure.

So it was that pressure of oh, yeah, I can see I'm having all these memories come up. OK, I'll tell this one story real quick. OK, so Brian is preaching at a church in Los Angeles. We go, I'm pregnant with Carson. Kennedy has to be like two or three. And she's in rare form.

Oh, she's a reform. Caitlin, just sitting there, obedient, whatever. So in this particular church, you had to do the offering. You had to get up and you had to walk around. So I'm like, OK, I'm thinking to myself, this is not going to go well, but I'm just going to talk and kind of reason with this child and be like, all right. Now, here's your little money that you're going to put in.

And Kennedy was having no parts of it. She literally, as we get to the altar, she throws herself down. She throws herself down like, OK, put it in there. She's like, no, no, no, no.

Don't throw this tantrum now. And the older saints are looking at me like, I mean, you better spank her. I mean, get her up to spank her. And I'm like, spanking her is just going to really energize her even more.

And then Caitlin is just looking like, and then Brian is sitting there and he's just looking at me like, I'm so sorry. And you got to get up and preach? I have to.

And we're having another one. Oh, my goodness. Nothing like parenting to keep you humble. I just think the Lord gives you kids to keep you humble because you just never know what you get. But I mean, we've been blessed. Our kids, man.

So we've got three. They got total different interests. Our oldest is a dancer. She did dance, ballet, modern much of her life. Our middle one did gymnastics and she did cheer. Cheer is kind of her thing. Right. She loves to be a cheerleader, competitive cheer.

Our son, he does basketball, so he loves basketball. You tired, right? You're tired all the time. I think at one point we had three kids, three different schools. Yeah, we had extracurricular stuff going on. It's crazy. It's just it's so demanding. So to be at this point where two are about to go to college and this third one is about to be a sophomore.

He learned how to drive right now. There's a feeling, you know, there's a freedom that's about to come over our house that's unreal. It's awesome. It's awesome.

We love it. But I just would encourage someone in that season between the time of their infants to the toddler stage, no matter what, it's hard. That potty training, it's hard. I just want you to stay encouraged because it goes so fast.

It does. I just talked to one of our daughter-in-laws. She sent some pictures of their four year old talking very close to his two year old sister. And my daughter-in-law says, Bryce, our son, is telling his sister that today's the day she needs to be potty trained. And Jen is like, I haven't even started yet. She's two.

But I'm like, I'm going to wait a while. And so she can hear him saying, now, today's the day, Autumn, you're going to go potty and whenever I go, you can go. And she's listening to him like, OK. She never had an accident the whole day. Wow. This little boy has a teaching gift. He is a teacher. And so we asked him late last night, I'm like, so how did it go?

They said, well, our four year old just potty trained the two year old. He's a magnificent teacher. Yes! He is.

He's a trainer. You guys talked yesterday about how you sit down as a family and make goals. Is that once a year that you sit down? So you must have done that with your kids, like parenting goals for your kids. Did you do that for each child? You had goals for the year?

We do. We kind of sit down like right before school starts and we just talk about goals that you might have. It's helpful for them to set their own goals, but realistic goals, not my goals. Like I had one friend, she was like, I set my goals for them.

Like, no, no, that's not you. But you did when they were little. You do when they're little. But like middle school and high school. No, my goal as a parent goal, my parent goal could be, yes, they're going to be a 4.0 student. They're going to be this. They're going to do this. But realistically, let your kids set their goal.

What's that look like? You're all sitting around the table. They're in middle school, high school. Before we have the meeting, we say, hey, you know, we're coming together to make goals. So what are going to be your goals? What could be your friendship goals? What could be your academic goals? What could be some like your social goals?

Because sometimes you might have a kid like a one time our son, he's kind of shy. And so our girls are leaders. So they're like student council.

They're this. And they're like, listen, Carson, this is what we do. We lead. We're the Carters. You need to run for something.

And so then when you're a senior, you can be the president because that's what we do. This is last year. This is six months ago. This is a conversation of his older sisters with him. I was like, hey, no pressure.

Was he looking at you, Brian, like, tell me that. OK, OK, I got it. I got it. I think the goals is designed for the kid. Sometimes we do them one on one.

Right. We may go to Panera restaurant, sit down one on one and let that child just kind of talk about kind of what are you thinking? What do you want to do?

What do you kind of see happening? Do you want to play sports? Do you want to do this club? Like where do you kind of see and just trying to help them set those goals, coach them along, because sometimes they're going to need help to get the goals accomplished.

Right. Whether it's academically or they may need some additional help, athletically or even spiritually. How do we help you? You're going to have to get involved this year. So what are you going to do with church?

I mean, that's one of the questions we try. You can pick whatever you want, but we need to do something at church. Right. This or that group or youth group.

So but it gives them the space for them to be able to talk about how they see their lives being, how they see God working, those kind of things. And so that's that's kind of what that looks like. And so when they get to college, they do the same thing. This is what I'm thinking about. I want to get this. I want to do this next summer.

I want to do this. So we're trying to help them to think before. And they didn't roll their eyes or like these dumb goals. No, I think our son initially was kind of like, oh, what's this about? But I think seeing his older sisters do it. And I think the example is you have to model. So as parents, we have to model. We have to model prayer. They have to see us praying.

And so sometimes we can be doing so many other things that they see us doing. But if we don't model how to pray, if we don't model how to forgive, if we don't model these things for our kids, if we don't model how to communicate and talk to people when we have a conflict, like they're going to have problems. They're not going to know how to do these things. If we're not showing them, who else is going to show them? Just giving them those realistic expectations.

And that's the key. Realistic expectations. I like how you said, like, hey, what are you thinking? It's not like, hey, what are your goals? It's more of a conversation. What were your wins last year or what were your wins this past nine weeks?

What would you like to see moving forward and so on? So for each kid, it is different. With my son, his sisters are about to be in college and so on. Well, I said, OK, Carson, so he's a sophomore. So what are your what are your schools that you're thinking about? So now his dad is like, oh, I want him to do this. I want him to do this type of major. However, my son loves marine biology.

They don't get paid very well. And so I had to tell him, I said, Brian, you have to let him. I'm going to let him. But I'm also going to expose him to math, some engineering experiences, because sometimes if we don't know it exists, then we don't know to even choose to see what else might be considered. So I'm going to send him to a marine biology camp. But then next summer, I'm going to send him to a couple of engineering camps so he can at least learn. There's a world out there because he's gifted in math and science.

How about the spiritual area? You know, how do you guys as parents develop? I mean, every parent probably listening is like, man, one of my top goals is that they're walking with God when they're men and women. And, you know, we've just we've done several programs recently with the epidemic of our kids walking away. It's an epidemic.

It's never been seen at these numbers in history. So parents are afraid. They're like, what's our role to help see that happen? What do you guys do? I think spiritually we try to get them cultivated in church. We try to get them connected to church. We pray with them at home. We pray before we leave for the day and we drop them off. One of the things I miss when they start driving is we miss those times in the car where you can talk about your faith, talk about those things.

So I miss that. One of the things we often do, we try to put them in spaces. So we often see them in the Christian camp each summer, which really gives them a good foundation. And then we also try to figure out what are your gifts and how can you use those gifts in the life of the church?

Our girls, they've both been on leadership councils. That's allowed them to use their leadership gifts in the context of the local church so they can see that connection. If it's mission trips that happen, we try to get them connected there. And then also at the home, our talk time is also count our family devotional time. So that Sunday night is also the time we may talk about prayer. We may ask them to pray.

We may ask them their prayer needs so that they get a connection there. The other thing I've longed to do but I haven't done is I've loved to do a personal Bible study with my kids. It's something I've wanted to do over time.

I haven't been able to do it like I would have liked to have. I've got a sabbatical break, so I've got margin to do it, to do a Bible study with them. And I'm super excited. As a matter of fact, one of our kids, she decided to be a counselor at a Christian camp that she had gone to for a number of years. Which was shocking enough that she would want to be this counselor for six weeks here. So she left college at that last summer. And I told her, I said, man, we're so proud of you, man.

I mean, there's a lot of places you could have spent the summer, but you went there and you invested in those young girls as hard as it was, as challenging as it was. So then when she got back to campus, her friends said they wanted to start a Bible study. And she said, they've asked me to start the Bible study. I said, I'm so proud of you. She said, Dad, this is not what I do.

I don't know how to do this. Then it clicked for her. I said, I'll give you all the stuff if you need help, I'll give you a Bible study. She says, then it clicked for her. She said, you know what I can teach him? The same material I taught last summer for six weeks.

I said, that's a great idea. You already have the workbook. She pulled a workbook out. And so she was able to be able to leave that Bible study for the first time. So I think part of what we've learned is, as she mentioned, modeling it, helping expose it to them, teach it to them, encouraging them as they have wins in their spiritual life. In a church space, PKs, preacher's kids, they sometimes have to deal with so much. And so being a listening ear to them, but still encouraging them to be in there and learn and grow, but not feel that pressure. Praying for God to send spiritual mentors in their lives. Because sometimes our voices are not heard. But if there's somebody that loves the Lord and loves them, we've had coaches at school step in and be those voices.

So I think spiritually, it's a whole experience, right? That you're trying to use everything that you can to try. And the other voice that's been helpful is their grandmother. Their grandmother, her mom, who lives 10 minutes from us, picks them up, drops them.

This is an extra set of hands. But she would always say to our kids, have you prayed about it? When we as mom and dad would forget to, you know, sometimes she would be this... Just like she said to you over there, Stephanie.

She did. She's been a voice in their lives spiritually. Texting them prayers, texting them verses. The other thing we did was try to make our house that house, right?

So for sleepovers, for birthday parties, end of year parties. Spiritually, right? Well, they just can see us and know us. The last thing we do spiritually, I started a father-son camp about four to five years ago. At your church? Really, among some friends.

Among some friends in our church. So it started because my son has about four young men that were all born around the same time. So they were all turning 13, and we're all getting ready for the talk, right?

They may have been 12 at the time. So I called the guys and I said, listen, why don't we do it together? Let's do the talk together. They said, you know what?

Let's do it together. So we got our sons together, we spent the weekend together, and we did the talk together. It started as we were talking about purity then, and it's just every year we have these conversations, we go fishing, we hang out, play games.

It is the best. I'll never forget, we were sitting there and they were asking all these, at 10, 11 when they first started, they're asking questions that I don't know. You know what I mean?

Why does this happen? What is this? But it was the best. But again, other fathers, other men available, speaking into each other's lives. So I just say it's a whole community.

Just throw it in all you can. It would be really cool if you're doing that in 10 years with the same guys. Wouldn't that be cool? They're married men now.

They still would want it. We're going to hear more from Ann here in just a second. But first, you know, I love this. Again, trusted community to engage in important, ongoing conversations about complicated things. We often don't think this way, but it can make it so much less of a weird thing if our kids were hearing this alongside their friends and their parents, all walking with Jesus in the context of community.

Unique, but so, so cool. I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Brian and Stephanie Carter on Family Life Today. You know, Brian has written a book called Made to Last. Eight principles to build long lasting relationships. You can pick up a copy at or you could give us a call at 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. You know, marriages take work. Let's be honest. Ask your parents, ask your pastor, ask any couple you know. Great marriages don't just happen. And at Family Life's Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway, you and your spouse really get the time to intentionally grow with one another. Now, you may have already heard that Weekend to Remember is now 50% off through September 18th. I've mentioned that before on this program. But did you also know that our Weekend to Remember gift cards are 50% off too? Yes.

It can sometimes be hard to choose where we want to go right now. So, a gift card can allow you to buy now and then register for your location later on. And these gift cards really do make great gifts too. So, all of that is half off now through September 18th. You can head over to to grab your gift card now.

Again, that's And here's Ann to tell us more about how important community can be as we walk with Christ alongside one another. It's interesting. One of our sons became friends with the grief. They were in a small group from our church. And a guy that was in his 20s started leading their group. And now these guys are 37 to 40 and they still meet. Really? They don't live around each other, but they meet for vacation with their leader, who's a lawyer, but they're still friends.

They still stay in touch with one another. That is so cool. You guys, this has been so rich.

Yeah, this is rich. Brian, I'm just sitting there thinking I got stuck on the part when your daughter came home and she's saying, they asked me to lead this Bible study. And your enthusiasm, like when you say, yes, you should. I thought, if I had a father that was just cheering me on and a mother who was saying, you can do this, our kids are needing that. They don't need our critique at that age. They don't need us to tell them what they're doing wrong.

They already feel the pressure of the culture of the world. But for us as parents to pray for them, to cheer for them, to ask them, hey, what are you thinking right now? What are your goals?

Go for it. You guys are impressive. Oh, bless you. Thank you. I wish you would have raised me.

No. Oh, my goodness. Thank you guys for having us. Thank you so much for having us. It's been a real honor to spend some time with you guys. So fun. I love the work you guys are doing. An incredible job.

Thank you. Now, if you've ever dealt with addiction, you know that it has those spiritual consequences and physiological disturbances. Well, coming up tomorrow, Dave and Ann Wilson are joined by Bob and Dana Gresh to talk about how those consequences and disturbances of addiction can deeply impact your marriage and how we can still find hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's coming up tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-27 14:46:11 / 2023-10-27 14:58:22 / 12

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime