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Nurturing Your Child's Heart and Mind

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
August 31, 2021 6:00 am

Nurturing Your Child's Heart and Mind

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 31, 2021 6:00 am

In a discussion based on her book "Awaking Wonder," Sally Clarkson explains how parents can effectively nurture a love for learning in their kids while also guiding their spiritual and moral development.

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Focus on the Family
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Find fun for your kids. Just a click away seeing the adventures in Odyssey club 8 to 12-year-old find trusted faith building entertainment in a safe online club features almost every episode ever by special monthly club only episodes and content and of Focus on the Family clubhouse magazine subscription. Sign up today. Just go to a I/O they feel free to make mistakes and tell you about that. I think if you are like rules and formulas in this pressure. Pressure never motivated vets Sally Clarkson and she's our guest today on Focus on the Family more from her about helping your kids develop a love for learning and for God's truth is carry on through life.

I'm John Fuller.

Thanks for joining us. Our host is focused president and author Jim Dale John we all want our children develop an authentic faith and live lives of integrity in and do the right thing. The light in a dark world. That's the goal that many parents struggle to pass on their values away and you know to be honest, that's true for me to.

I'm always looking for that opportunity. It does is translate the maybe you're feeling you're fighting a losing battle. And that's going to be.

I think a greater challenge when you feel like you're underwater and passing on those values to your kids. We know your pain and we want to connect with you at that point of pain and hopefully give you some great ideas on doing things a little differently to help train your kids and give them that great foundation of faith and learning in our guest today is going to provide some great insights to do that and Sally Clarkson is a mom of four adult kids and cofounder of whole heart ministries, a best-selling author and her book that would be talking about today is awaking.

Wonder opening your child's heart to the beauty of learning Sally welcome back to focus this wonderful to be with you all so much for having so good to have you let start with the feeling that many parents have that they're not equipped to teach the kids. I've I was not trained as a teacher I don't have that skill set that ability what you say to that parent, but I felt the same way I had never change the diaper. I wasn't one of those girls.

He babysat all the time and I didn't have my first child was almost 31 and so I went into it very idealistically that I think that what I would like to say just when in regards to teaching or whatever. We are all teachers. We all have opinions about how to live life and what's the best food and what color we want to know and so I would say if appearance, especially young parents if they could know that they are equipped. They are fully they have agency to be able to do what they need to do with their children and I think it's a really hard time. I think they are equipped and just kind of know that you have many years to learn. One of the things that startles me is the survey data that we see you keep our eye on most of the family data, social science, etc. obviously, given what we do but a parent still hold that seat of the most influential people not only childlike but a teenager's life and as we grow weary.

His parents thinking everything else but us has influence there. But these are the surveys where there asking the teens themselves write the most influential person in your life night and a majority of kids will cite my parents. And so we don't want to give up hope in that regard, they still are connected and that's that's important when you had your first child, you didn't feel that equipped you know you have all the fears described that to connect with those moms that are listening that are going I don't know if I could do that.

Well it took me a while but I have to go back to my life as a highschooler I questioned everything I'd ever been taught. I had been raised in the church, but I thought if somebody really knew God, he threw the stars in place. He created the universe.

Wouldn't they be more intelligent, more loving, more giving, or whatever. So I came into parent and thinking to do this differently. I want my children to be exposed to kind of an organic authentic sort of life. I mean I'm an idealist, off the chart. Just don't make me wash dishes, and so when I held that little baby in my hands.

I know what I was doing but I had a sense that I was holding eternity in my hand. It was as though it whispered in a might literally I was sitting there thinking and in course my first baby had to go into intensive care. And even if we weren't allowed to have her bed like this impression while God created parents. He trusted us with these little human beings whose lives will have an impact on their world and he said what will you do to teach them about my life. So when are teenagers that believe that I left him driving. I just had these you know many thoughts and so I just would say you are exactly the person that your child needs to love them and they want you to be there. Here they want you to believe in them and yeah that's that's you have grace and that not only that I think is a couple things work there think the Lord allows it this way so that we can better understand our relationship with him to.

So basically a father of a teenager that you have teenagers so that idea of grace and love, commitment, and all those great qualities that hopefully we as Christians are growing, believers are the same kind of things. Obviously he's trying to teach us as we try to deter children in the course they grew up and hopefully they get married and have babies and right have the whole thing happen to them so want to yeah exactly 1 of the concepts in your great book awaking wonder you mentioned this idea, mentor, and a mentoring relationship just touched on it.

I think that's where I have tried to emphasize my parenting is you know the goal is to launch them and so the mentoring relationship is really critical and you know some parents we look at it more like a formulaic approach. If I do a the and CL get the right login ID Sally tell me how did the boy that set you up for disappointment. I think that we have to look at people's real nature and every single one of us longs to be loved, affirmed, in spite of here we are in.

I mean I That's what really brought me to the Lord. I thought anybody ever love me just as I am instead of her having to perform in life and so I'm I really want to say to parents and mentor.

What educational system where you choose the matter will she do that foundation for beginning to influence children is unconditional love. And that's a great goal again and again in awaking wonder you make a point about enhancing or enticing a child's curiosity given that sense of wonder which is so good you did that. I think at least on a particular night through stargazing. What is it effective well it was very effective. Actually, all he could still talk about it but I really believe in doing whatever you need to do to garner heart and so food was always a part of it.

Family feel like people like things that we call the feasting unit made it sound important. Even if serious that I made this great these chocolate brownies and in fried chicken and all their favorite foods and I said we celebrate tonight and we lived up in the mountains 7500 feet high and it was you know I thought this would be really fun is easier than camping in it in a going Farley right as God's call. The couch is and so but this is kind of our regular life. We had put away vestiges of what people expect of you. And I thought I would have an adventure with my children. I want to enjoy life. I wanted no dance, so to speak their life put on some Celtic music ate our little hearts content and it provided an environment for us all enjoy one another, and so we were just out under the stars and I saw all the different personalities even there, you know, one of them says I'm to write a poem about this and the other one says I I'm in a note that they all had different things that distract the couches want to come you know and but it did.

It created that moment when we were absolutely awestruck. I mean it was one of those. Thank you God.

Nights when you know there was a shooting star and in email we could see the Milky Way wheeled way out so it was easy to see the stars that we tried to create real life. I think that most of learning happens when you're washing dishes when you're sleeping outside when you're driving in the car to Sam's and so I think if you develop this mindset of how can I love them. How can I train them how can I teach them how can I affirm them all the time.

Wherever you are you looking for places inside their hearts.

Yeah, sometimes I can be difficult when you're frustrated and that all that horridly is when the ugly side of parenting shifts because I told you so, because nothing good happens after midnight every night. Got all the clichés in my head when you refrain from that to make sure that you're in the groove of affirming unconditional love. I think we love the idea of unconditional love. I just don't know that we can always deliver week and I think a part of you modeling Christ to your children is to apologize. One of my came up to me one time and said no mom I think it would be really great if you could catch yourself before you pop I would if you know I would increases and then all of a sudden I would get to the point where they are saying to each other, Ron, and she said because I always make feel guilty and of course it did and then I would say I am human to you and you are human, and if you pop I'm starting to love you if you let me in.

I mean you have to be authentic, and then they you admit your mistakes, then they feel free to make mistakes and tell you about it, but I think if you are, you know, like you said, if you have these rules and formulas in this pressure. Pressure never motivated anyone and it never captured their heart and I really believe that guilt is a poison if if you're always passing on guilt, your children, you never do this you can do that. I think it poisons them and them so he knows I had to learn along the way there some things if you think you're going to get angry, come outside, go to the coffee shop got parked somewhere else I would throw all my children the car and we would go for long drive in the mountains and I would put some funding on the tape and and I would get it good little drink for myself and then we would cool down or out go to Parker and I would but I what I always knew to plan ahead of time for moments when I thought this is been too much. That's good. That's why we created adventures in Odyssey success of the let me ask you about this. You homeschool your kids and that's great and right now there's a surgeon who prescribed because of the pandemic, etc. but the key there is you cultivated this love of reading in your children. I guess is a two-part question my mind only having boys in my case, you know, reading never been something that just naturally gravitated toward thankfully one of my boys is a good reader and the other one likes manuals rise right a chemical right, but how did you get your children to enjoy reading and to love learning. You have to read the book. For one thing, because I what happened is Wheatley Rota 380 page manual. Many, many years ago and then people started following our children's arenas because they're all writers seen as a people farm some people right and so they said, would you please write what did you do because I see they are all passionate about life and they they love learning none imperfect don't always pick up their socks or their coffee cups, but I think I grew up not wanting to conform and kind of a dreamer adventurer. I talk too much and I was got in trouble for it in school so I wanted to provide an environment where my children could kind of flourish, and so we didn't do a lot of ritualistic things that every morning whether they were eating Cheerios or popcorn or drying or doing whatever I would say I've got the best story for you today and then we would enter into these stories.

It was the first thing we deiced to the first thing first, before everybody has time to get exhausted and so we started out when they were really little saying I think there's a hero inside your heart. Listen to this hero today, you won't believe what he to and so we based most of our education on reading, thinking, talking, we I had the split, life-giving tableware every night anything was okay to talk about and we would bring up crazy subs, especially in their teen years and that we ply them with food and so we did a lot of reading, talking and eating. And I know that sounds funny, but we also and many people are going to panic. From this, but you have to read the book. We never tested them or gave them grades we did state testing them. He had to unite.

At first we lived in states where we had to that after they started flourishing, experimenting, creating things building a million Lego houses, you know, doing all these fun things they thought that education was math because they had to work harder to to do math.

But I do think that all of us kind of have this desire to be set free to live into a little bit bigger life, a transcendent God enjoying life celebrating life enjoying relationships I you know we did a broadcast with you and your son Nathan about some of the difficulties Ms. Nathan had some difficulties yes he is out of the as is different the story the out-of-the-box kid yeah all right for that parent that maybe you know encountering that same challenge yeah what happened. What was Nathan's issue. How did you overcome it together yet. I think that I would just tell silly parents don't worry so much, because Nathan could never 2+2 is never for no matter what you know and so I thought.

Will he ever be able to have a job leave or be able to take anything to list eventually became for when you needed money comes out of that. Yeah, but I think that kids develop at different times and he he was ADHD and ODD OCD hello bit of dyslexia and so I just learned that I if I read hero tells the time you seven. He wanted to be Superman. He couldn't sit still and read that I would do Odyssey I would do these fun stories online and I would read to him all these different things. I would scratch his back.

If I scratched his back in.

Every child is different.

But while I said to do math today. Tell me what 2+2 is you know he really responded to time, which appears something like 75 and one time even said to meet moment when you spend time with me. I feel like I want to obey you. Do you me to do that if you neglect to spend time with me and talk to me do whatever I have to do to get a Titan Sally nurturing your child in my mind is probably the most critical to have that nurturing heart toward your child because that's that's kind of the key right right I need to feel love the need to create an identity hopefully in Christ pave the way for the show them the way your daughter. I think joy went through some really difficult times. There are about 12 years old what was going on and how did that challenger's apparent say that most children when they go to their teenage years shift and their shifting from being a child to eventually owning their own muscle, but it's a process you know they don't become a tour right away their hormonal, their emotional and really it is up that joy was actually one of the easier ones that my boys both went through different things, but I think if parents can know that that's the time teenage years middle years. They know their they want to be liked and in the end they're moving from daddy and mommy to an adult world, and I would say I didn't see any else everybody your children are going into an R-rated world. It is not a G rated world. It is a difficult world. It is much more important to care about who they are there faith preparing them to stand strong, then it is about their SAT scores and so I feel like what I learns in his teenage years was when they didn't want to be in a group anymore. They wanted individual attention so like with Nathan Nathan because he was the guy and he was OCD and all these other things he would get. I would say okay let's go out for breakfast buddy in and he would go from 0 to 75 and two seconds and I'm holding on with all my life.

Where is Joe. I wanted to go to a coffee shop downtown and have brunch deeply and said I feel like it's almost like you have to earn the right to speak what you want to tell them, but never never never give up because they may look at you with me and they swirl their eyes. They may throw things or slam doors and that's an expression of what they're feeling, with their feeling inside because the world is kind of frustrating and usually are our ideals and our morals are higher than most people is might as Joyce has recently she said mom it seemed like the bar is really low and so when we set the bar higher and when we say I just really want the best for you. We have to know that working to get this back let me ask you about the core message that we talked about at the beginning, which is how do we help our children develop character, virtue, what are some most practical ways. I mean I think you're expressing it in physical talkshow time together. What are some other ways that are practical get them on that character, virtue Highway we did it, we we wrote a 25 anyways about that to helping arch, we had vocabulary with our children of what it was like to live in a in a godly way but I think for us. We began to realize that you talk about loving people and then when you're at the grocery store and you have a chance to be gracious you choose to be gracious and funny your children or EC somebody who's homeless and you say they want a McDonald's hamburger and so would take our children ever.

They bought the hamburger gave it to the guy and they went felt good to help him and so unfortunately or fortunately as it is, it requires a lot of time and thought and thought and creativity to shape those things we would host people in our house. We would say, which ask a question because I think they would like for you to be interested in them or you know we went we went on projects where the kids would work with us and so I think that character is both learned through training and and teaching, but it's also learned in the way that you treat people the way that you tell the truth in the way that you work hard and I feel like having children helped me grow up peanut because I wasn't as mature as I am now because they required that I grow to be mature there so he let me ask you this, I think, like marriage, we have the same kind of expectations of parenting right and what I mean in terms of that analogy is we have an expectation of marriage. What will be like. And before you know couple years go by. Maybe that expectation is that husband is not putting his dirty clothes and whatever might be a whole host of things you begin to, you know, role with that corrected whatever you're going to do to try to get that relationship where you want it in the parenting realm at similar process and what you hold this little one on and you take out a new 10,000 20,000 pictures and Google are just telling Troy the other day how used to give third day I would listen to and I would dance around the house with him in my arms and that he would laugh and try that now that maybe a little more difficult. But the point of it is parental expectations good – right and they come in all forms. If you are an athlete. Your boys didn't clack ports on a be academically they're not where you want to be. Whatever might be socially whatever how do you as a parent right those expectations or crate healthier relationship.

Were you trust God, yeah, you don't have expectations and that way and you trust God to carry her child forward.

I think that's a I wish I could tell every parent number one, relax. It's a long journey and they're going to be there are going to grow and I get all such letters and people with 5211-year-olds and they're not gonna speak Greek at that age I feel like I am a 30 that I think God sees us as toddlers definitely and he's not surprised that were immature and he's not surprised that we scream once in a while and I'm so I would say first of all, just relax year apparent that your child needs. The second thing I would say is don't listen to the voices. There is so much advice and there's so much on the Internet that says your child should be in a doing this by five and your child should be doing this by two and II think know they shouldn't every child has unique fingerprints, unique DNA just roll with it and I think that the more you can decide to enjoy an intimate look at your site life and say this is my pencil. I am perfectly capable putting the pieces together for my family and it doesn't have to look like yours and my children are not here to perform for me or make me feel good and once I fell in love with him and just decide. I kind of blew off all the false expectations I'd had and I thought you know I really believe that God says is good it is will is good and except one perfect. I believe this is a good and acceptable and perfect place for me to be able to thrive and I'm I'm determining to learn how to enjoy it.

Yeah let me in the wrap up your let me just say business books Christian business books talk about the act of worship in your vocation and it's something we all agree.

I love that what we don't hear very often what you expressed in your book is the idea that parenting is also an act of worship.

And may I say probably a higher act than what you do vocationally. It's kind of the job and I like that because the fasting on a phase from one generation to the other units in your parenting is an act of worship just puts it in a different place. While I realized. And at this it held my marriage to that I wasn't supposed to love and serve and honor and be friends with Clay because of him because he deserved it. I had told God okay God I am here I'm your girl. I'm in a serve you and love you and he said well then will you love him and then he said what you love your children because how you treat your children is how your accepting the gifts that I've given you for little human beings whose lives will last for eternity. And so I it helped me to say it's not whether they deserve it or not it's does God deserve my heart of love does God deserve my heart lower ship might drop know it's really good Sally. This is been awesome in your wonderful book awaking.

Wonder what a tool filled with practical advice to help parents use their heart and encourage them to be intentional about passing on their face, which I don't know Christian parent that doesn't want that to be job number one. I would relax on the behavioral modification yeah yeah just I think Tom loving parents. Create calm loving children and there is a formula to that but thank you so much for being with us. Thanks again for having me. I so enjoy being with you. Appreciate and again the book that Sally is written awaking.

Wonder opening your child's heart to the beauty of learning great resource. Get a copy from us here at Focus on the Family are numbers 880 family, work, click the link in the episode notes. John, as we often do, if you can partner with us in ministry send a gift of any amount and will send you the book as our website. Thank you. It's funded to do this. Let's save some marriages. Let's save some parents some pain in their parenting and do it all in the name of Christ stand with us.

Have fun being a part of the ministry that's impacting literally hundreds of thousands of people because of God's grace. Can you do that and in doing that again will send you the book as our website.

Thank donating your copy of awaking. Wonder when you get in touch and also I might mention we have 37 traits of effective parenting assessment takes a few minutes for you to fill out and it'll give you some insights into some strengths in your parenting approach and maybe some ways you as a mom or dad can grow that free resource that preassessment is online, what the link that Sally's book into opportunities for you to donate as well. It's all at the link in the episode notes on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Hey this is John Fuller and Focus on the Family is looking for talented writers and editors to help reduce our audio programs and podcasts go to

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