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Keeping Your Family Healthy

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2021 6:00 am

Keeping Your Family Healthy

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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October 15, 2021 6:00 am

Dr. Scott James offers a three-step approach for how families can integrate biblical truth and faith with their health and well-being. He also offers some general health tips and encouragement for those struggling with fear in the face of trying circumstances.

Get Dr. James' book "God Cares for Me" for your donation of any amount: https://donate.focusonthefamily.com/don-daily-broadcast-product-2021-10-15?refcd=1156902

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Will appear. You know that routine all too well since it's late, long after everyone's bedtime but you can't sleep because your child is sitting, keep checking their temperature. The don't have a fever but the cough medicine is working and it's really hard to watch your child suffer what you do today on Focus on the Family were going to offer some encouragement to you as a mom or dad, particularly if you have younger children about navigating sickness and health in your family, your hostess focus presidents and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller you know if you're facing a challenge like that in your family.

I hope the first thing you do is pray. Sometimes I'm embarrassed to say but I didn't often do that I needed to just say Lord help us in this moment that that's the first right place to go, especially if your child is not feeling well and the sick. It's so easy for us to take her health and our families health and well-being for granted and the apprehension many of us felt during the coded pandemic is still fresh in our minds.

It's a little bit in the rearview mirror, but were still suffering the consequences of it and that's why I'm so thankful for the doctors and nurses and medical staff who have dedicated themselves to making us healthier and I love that the Lord works through their capability and their giftedness to help us do better physically and emotionally. More importantly, that we need to remind ourselves and our children that no matter what illness or health issue, we may be facing. We can trust God in those moments, and we don't know where it's going to go but we can trust him that it will go where he wants, and they had absolutely and were so pleased to have Dr. Scott James join us today. He's a pediatric infectious disease specialist and member of Focus on the Family's physician resource Council, Jim. They are great team of physicians and medical professionals who volunteer their time to advise us about medical issues that are most relevant to families and Dr. James is a professor and author of several books as well. One of those that will be hearing more about today is called God cares for me. Helping children trust God when they're sick and you can get your copy from us here at Focus on the Family are numbers 880 family or click the link in the episode notes Dr. James welcome back to Focus on the Family. Jim, thanks so much. It's really good to be with you that's good to have you here and let's start with the idea of why what prompted you to write this book. What did you see that you're trying to fill a need for I think as a pastor as a parent as a pediatrician. I'm in this world all the time we were navigating really difficult conversations with kids and so it's always been on my heart to want to be able to equip parents to have some tough conversations about some really hard things, illness, pain and suffering, death, even these are things that the kids are aware of in the world around them. They're not nave to these things and I want to be able to help parents have some gospel centered conversations about that. So that's that's always been my heart and it really does seem like the past couple of years have been some a lot going on that have brought those conversations to the forefront about that you know some of the pandemic discussion the masking and the things that people had to do many people thought about those children that were born during that time. Those one in two mins maybe three-year-old that were seeing people faceless as a physician.

What impact do you think that will have on those children. Now that they're going to be 5678. Has anybody looked into that.

I read some good studies that are beginning to look into that. I think the long-term effects are still going to be something we look at as the years go by, but there's been a lot of good work.

I think on facial recognition and importance of you have a baby even kind of bonding and connecting with caregivers over facial features and next expressions whether not kind of people in masks, sort of in the community would have a more direct effect is heavily less obvious but deathly worth worth looking into. The book is really written for the common fears and Jean and I had that with the boys, you know, we had the late-night problems. The vomiting and then your thinking okay go to a website you start looking at all the symptoms on my goodness, how could Trent been bitten by an African spider you know that anything is possible but it is kind of you become fear or gripped by fear as a parent, even a Christian parent who knows the Lord has these things in his hand.

What what are your observations about parents and how they are driven by fear for their kids. It's interesting you put the locus on parents. There is a pediatrician. I'm kind of thinking first of the kid they're afraid of what's going on there.

The ones who are sick and walking through whatever illnesses and they're scared by what's what's going sure, but his parents are absolutely right. We can be filled with as much or more fear because we we see the bigger picture. We've we've we've googled it and we know what the worst-case scenarios. I tried so where is were trying to help them walk through fearful times as they walk through illness.

We also are full of fear and I can impact the way that we interact with them and we can sometimes unwittingly kind of even spread our fear to them by sort of highlighting that fear is the driving emotion in the situation right now, I'm afraid you're afraid were all going to be afraid together that's kind of a hopeless situation. Yeah, Dr. James. I do want to pick up on that because you said it right from the beginning as a pastor as a physician. As a father you have young children.

How do we balance that when the Scripture says fear not, and you know your child's ill and again were not talking about those serious illnesses, although it certainly is part of it but were talking about just illness in general where your child has symptoms and it's difficult how harmful can it be for the parent to be transmitting this issue of fear and what are we teaching our children when were that fearful will in a sense, it comes down to what is what your foundation. What is your driving motivation and for me is apparent. The thing I want to communicate my children is that it's it's Jesus Christ, it's who I am in Christ. It's the firm foundation of God's word and his care for me and in so if fear is the primary emotion that I'm communicating to my kids right then I think I'm missing an opportunity to demonstrate God's love to them I'm missing an opportunity to show them the gospel so II want to acknowledge the fear I don't want to sugarcoat it.

I don't want to pretend that a bad situation is no big deal and tell you know little Johnny like there's nothing going on were fine know he's he's smarter than he knows that something is going on. Children are way more perceptive than we give them credit. They know that something's not right. So acknowledge that and then go from that position of your in the valley together to then who's gonna walk with us through this and asked him, we can look to Christ. Have you seen a parent because you're you know you're interacting with hundreds of patients have you seen a parent that is really caught your attention that is managed this well by God's grace. Many yeah yeah purging here and what are those adjectives that describe those parents that manage this. Well, there's a peace and contentment that transcends the reality of what's going on so we could be in a hospital room. Things are not going well. Things are falling apart to be a even more serious illness type stuff, not just you know cold symptoms at home, but like serious illness, and I I'm there is a physician trying to walk them through that and obviously help the child get better and get past this.

But in the midst of even the hard things that are going on a lot of the parents that I work with. There's just a sense of peace. There's this sense of this is not good. This is not right. I trust that God has a plan for this.

I trust that God is in control and and it's not lipservice. You can kind of hear them when they exhorted appeal to God. It's it's not just my not where I practice him in the Bible Belt. A lot of people use religious language but there's a lot of people that when were having these hard conversations give heartfelt appeals to God and his goodness and his glory and his just Providence throughout the whole thing and that that is what they're trusting in, and as a physician when I'm walking through a tough situation with the family looked like that. It bolsters me.

I find hope and encouragement, and it energizes me. Remind me why I do what I do want to bring healing here and now, so that eventually healing can come eternally way that's amazing. I mean, I don't know that we as parents are redoing our vocational thing with think that we would be able to lift the spirits of the physicians working with our children. That's a great encouragement and down some practical advice you recommend a three step approach for comforting our children when they're sick and it starts with acknowledging their pain and discomfort wise at first when important. One of the other two when you backfire from the beginning. If you don't actually validate that something is going wrong so the kid obviously knows I'm sick I don't feel well something is not right and you gonna tell Matt nothing or find what they know that's a lie like they're the ones feeling the pain of the ones with the fever. They're the ones with whatever's going on, and in so few sort of. They have legit concerns over what their feeling and if you dismiss it from the start you can lose your trust so acknowledging with them, get down in the trenches with them acknowledge that this is a hard thing where walking through this is not fun but then help them understand and they're usually perceptive enough to bring this on themselves that when were walking through hard times and things are going wrong. There's this kind of baseline feeling that this is not the way it's meant to be something something in the world is broken, something is going wrong that an innocent child in the sense would have to be suffering through cancer or through whatever illness this this is walking. That there's something deep in our guts.

That says that's not the way it's meant to be. So that's that sort of gospel yearning that when you acknowledge the reality of a broken world that we live in and the effects of sin in a world far and wide, which includes illness and death, then you have an avenue to then kind of put your arm around them and point them to Christ which is the second thing of putting them on a firm foundation acknowledge the reality but and let them know you as hard as it is are not alone. God is with us. He is right there with us and he gives us an open pathway to run to him to call out to him to trust in him and take all of our fears and anxieties to him because he cares for us right in that third thing we are not in this alone from a community standpoint either. So God is right there with us and we get to put them on a firm foundation in celebrating the goodness of the gospel, even in the midst of our times, but also God's given us a church family to be a part of. He's given us a community of believers, and he specifically told us there one another's burdens. Love one another. Don't do what's a selfish thing to do selfless things to encourage other people around you so we've got this community of believers who want to walk alongside us as were going through difficult times in kits just like anybody else can appreciate that fact that they got a team of people that are written for them that are praying for them there on their side and they they're bolstered by that said, fun, and that sort of kingdom mentality. We are all in this together. We are all God's there is something unique about children being a pediatrician.

I know you see this, but the kids have a vibrancy kind of a trust they're not what's the right word. They haven't been burnt by the world. They had that innocence I guess is the right way to say it, and it must be encouraging for use in adult you know you have gone to med school you live this life you're married you have children, but to see that buoyancy in children and then to see it in this context where they may be diagnosed with traumatic illness or you know which is the everyday stuff that those patients are coming in to see you there suffering through something you see that as a doctor, I mean do you see the difference.

Trina Dalton shoulder when it comes to their heart, absolutely not. And I learned so much from them every every single day every encounter. I try to just a key in on how kids are walking through it because they typically are wise beyond their years and waited don't always recognize as I see the resiliency the innocence innocence when I'm prone to see the worst in people. Children are the antidote to that they they assume the best of people when I'm prone to be cynical, they are prone to be more charitable intent to believe good things and good good motive. So I'm whether it's my own kids are my patients. I am the spirit is continually working through them to come and help give me glimmers of what God is calling me to like in this area having great children's book that you've written. God cares for me. What are some of the scriptural truths that you're getting across to the kids so yeah a lot a lot of the book is a relatively simple story, walks, yet the day in the life of a sick child who's scared of going to the doctor but the whole point of the book is to give parents some concrete handles to hold onto death begin having those conversations so a lot of it is very intentionally kind of scriptural themes that weave in, such as the name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous run into it and they are safe so we got a strong tower that we can take refuge in you. You got a God who you can cry out to you can give your cares to him because he cares for you. So parents are reminding kids of that you're scared right now. Let's take it to the Lord. Let's give our anxieties to him because he's can care for us in the mom at one point tells the child is a concept that I love so much praying God's words back to him and so she says he specifically says of the boy when I'm scared. I like to pray God's promises to me back to him. So I tell the Lord when I'm afraid I will trust in you from Psalm 56. These are scriptural truths that can bolster even the most fearful heart and as a parent.

These are things that I need to be preaching myself constantly.

So anytime I can interact with my kids in a way that ministers to them and points them to God's faithfulness, but also to be frank bolsters up my own trembling heart. I I desperately need that wonderful lessons to teach children and parents. That's great. I really appreciate what were hearing today from Dr. Scott James on Focus on the Family and as you can tell we really like this book, God cares for me and it's a great tool for any parent.

If you got grandkids maybe pass this along as well get a copy from us here, call 800 K and the word family or click the link in the episode notes Scott year a pastor I mentioned that a couple times now I have had you in a great your pastoral care.

I guess into your role as a physician I love the idea of the concept of that. I guess when I think of Dr. Luke in the Scripture. That's the kind of doctor I would envision is a role model for sure.

Yeah, I look at them both for shepherding work and so I think they overlap a lot. Most most of my work as a pastor and his doctor really just involve listening well to people and trying to find out where they are and what's going on and how how what challenges they're facing and how how I can sort of step and administer alongside them so not in a pastoral context, it's you know directly applying pastoral care and the word of God and a medical context it's it's often apply medical advice and wisdom and common grace that God has given us through treatments and therapeutics in such but I want to make sure that a large part of the medical relationship is really that patient-doctor relationship in the trust that's formed there and listening well I really do my best from it to sort of minister to them in a pastoral sense. Just in the sense that I want to sit on a listen only give them the time to really get off their chest what their fears and concerns are what's motivating water seeking care and what's going on and then again it's a dive in and see if I can help actually fix their issue medically speaking, but often times parents tell me at the end of that, even if it's something I don't have a quickfix workings of right prescription to make this thing go away will often have parents tell me that they just appreciate having been heard. If you like. They truly have been ministered to. In that sense that they were able to be pastored to and and that way so I look at him, hand-in-hand like I can imagine that moment being with the patient and his or her parents. Amidst it's an intimate situation. Let me ask you so much of modern culture in a week put so much trust in science and you note in some ways, science is also now I think with the objective thinkers and science are saying, especially with the human being.

There are elements that they don't understand that prayer somehow works you seen research and studies in this regard. In the course Christians as Christians we talk about those three components of body soul and spirit, and you must see that hat how do you integrate the spiritual component into your vocation as a scientist and the doctor does that come easily. Do you get into those discussions with the parents of your patients. How does that happen yeah absolutely I do at baseline.

It's what motivates me. So the interaction between faith and science is why I'm a doctor, it's because of my faith in Jesus Christ.

And because of what God has shown me in the natural world.

That made me curious as a scientist to go learn more and to dive into the truth that I can discover through scientific research and such I did I learn more about God in the sense the more that I study his natural word because he reveals himself through his creation tonight. Can I interrupt for second and let you continue. But in that regard. You look at some of the famous scientists of the past year, and others. Isaac Newton.

They kinda had that framework that what they were trying to do is scientist was discover God's natural law. They kinda started with that premise that we've gotten far from that now are many secular schools are teaching you basically start just with science. There is no God but what a refreshing reminder about what those early scientists were trying to do.

They were unlocking the mysteries of what God put in place right absolutely eat you look at a verse like Psalm 91 the heavens declare the glory of the Lord so the heavens creation.

In general, you can see the majesty of God, you can see some general revelation of who he is in his creation. And so if the heavens declare the glory of the Lord, if I can get a telescope and look out into the vast skies and see some form of the majesty of God.

It also stands to reason that I can do the opposite and look through microscope at a micro bar at some cellular component and it goes the reverse. And I can see the glory of the Lord in the microscopic view of creation as well, scientist, and so many historical scientific discoveries have been motivated by Christians who are just trying to know God better in his creation that that drives a lot of people in the scientific community. Yeah. And I think that's refreshing. I think that's something to remember as we look at a highly secular world.

Now that doesn't understand what we as Christians believe that the mascot you have four kids of your own and mentioned that your father of young kids, I'm wondering what are some pros and cons of having a parent who is a doctor your own children suffer. You know your web MD yourself strictly for them because I'm I'm constantly running a track in the back of my mind of all the worst-case scenarios that this could be so any any sniffle that comes along. I've got a differential diagnosis list life interact with that. Does she leave all the medical things dear to she come to you and say, have you noticed she's she's wiser than me in many many ways that that she she does. Deftly, defer to me on some of those thoughts and kinda basically a triage level of what do we need to freak out about what we now need to freak out about. It's one of those tricks where I try to balance it. I don't want to be overbearing in any way so I actually tend to kind of go to the opposite end of the spectrum.

So even though I'm running a list of worst-case scenarios in the back of my mind in practicality and up much more low-key, much more laid-back, much more, rub some dirt on it. You'll be fine. So, I, I, I tend to be more on the bill lacks some of her doctors. I you know the friends Gina had that are physicians, they tend to be that way. They are very slow what you keep an eye on like I was a red flag that I might need to pay attention to in advance is probably right. There is far more practical than I think most birds would be where some general health tips for families who want to prevent disease and and stays healthy as possible. I mean, I know these things are. We should be able to take these off, even as non-medical people, but one of the habits that we need to develop his family's love, Jim. You mention part of it is just kind of have to have a healthy balance between physical and emotional and spiritual health. We are designed to be kind of whole creatures were were not compartmentalized into different aspects and so we got a kind of take care of all of these things together so any attempt to sort of separate those things often focus in on one little aspect just eat healthy and work out a lot. You'll be fine if you're not if you're neglecting kind of the mental and emotional aspect of health and you might not be fine. So I typically recommend the parents just have a well-rounded approach to physical, mental and spiritual health. So the spiritual health obviously is that from from our perspective is is in a be leaving them in the wording, fostering a spiritual life that is connected to to God and drawing closer to him continually mental aspect is is really helping helping children process the world is going on around them.

Having good, healthy sounding boards available to them.

So I got a couple teenagers now and so the conversations are just expanding in scope at an exponential rate. Welcome to the club yet so so it's it's it really is kind of you from a mental aspect just trying to foster good healthy habits in thinking and and just what the prospects a healthy way to process the world around them and just having good conversation partners and that's not a cure-all, but it can help on a right footing to interact with the people around them.

From a physical standpoint, I really do kind of just advocate some of the basics of good healthy diet, good balance between kind of physical outdoor activity, and you know everyone needs to Some rest and relaxation and read a good book as well. So don't be too overboard on one end of the spectrum of the other good rest.

I think sleep is often overlooked part of the healthy environment and so a lot of the complaints that I get in my clinics.

If you cannot tease it out. It really comes down to the teenager that's you know, sleeping four hours a night with his phone on the bedstand every five seconds check. I was going the other way. The teenager sleeping 12 hours and I know it well Into but we we have a lot to just end up staying up all night. It is not good when they're trying to nap during the day and they come into clinic and say was always tired during the day.

In that regard as a delicious tease out some of those perspectives you might have a child whose liens and activity really easily and another child that doesn't. And you know were all created very uniquely. How does a parent manage those differing dynamics how do you motivate a child who isn't that active physically restricted because your you're not can have a one-size-fits-all approach to this. I have four kids and they're all for pretty drastically different in regard to how they interact in that way. So a lot of it is is trying to avoid cookie-cutter approaches, but also having kind of a a well-rounded family approach is a part of our deal is if you're part of the family to be on board with certain things, even if it's not your favorite thing is, other times were to be doing something that is your favorite thing in your sister is going to be the one making a sacrifice. There's a family component where we can kind spur children along to do some activities or some some things that we would consider to be good and beneficial in healthy things that can help them develop well and stay healthy. Even if it's not their cup of tea per se there gonna go along with it because the family does that tell you it really is this kind of individualized approach where I've got to do the hard work of actually getting to know each and every one of my kids and finding out what makes them tick. And, how to help guide them. That is so true. That's what makes parenting. I think somewhat enjoyable actually because it isn't cookie-cutter. You gotta treat each child in a unique way I like it and Dr. Scott James written a great little children's book here. God cares for me. In the subtitle.

This really tells us what it's all about helping children trust God when they're sick. And we as parents not falling into the fear category chasing down every little symptom and you know exploding that into the catastrophe and you see it every day and I so appreciate that reminder. As parents, how we need to provide our children stability emotionally, spiritually and physically to the best of our ability and your again your book here does a wonderful job with the whole family. So thank you thanks for being with us and thanks for creating this resource thank you thanks have now yeah and let me remind you that if you can I would love for you to join us in ministry to help people and if you can make a gift of any amount, particularly a monthly gift that really helps us even out the budget will send you a copy of Dr. James's book as our way of saying thank you if you can afford it will get it in your hands. We get that and will trust others will cover the cost of that but we want to have this we don't want you to be that fearful parent and really contributing to your children's fear when it comes to their physical well-being. Let's be fearless in the Lord in every way including our physical status. Yeah, this is some great stuff, and certainly thanks to all who paid forward through your generosity in your prayers, making it possible for others to receive this book by Dr. James R number is 800 K and the word family 800-232-6459 or you can donate and find help. We got all the links in the episode notes will have a great weekend with your family and your church family as well and then coming up on Monday will hear from Robert Lewis describes how to prepare your son for man those responsibility so hard to take everything you got. So you gotta live courageously and the thing that keeps you steady in those difficult times is you've got to believe on the back in God will reward 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 again.

You and your family thrive. Christmas memories of making sharing stories with your family that's depicted in the play for Focus on the Family titled family traditions this story and painted by artist Morgan was a lively family kitchen scene will find a special place in your home and find out how to get a signed version of the special edition print@focusonthefamily.com/family traditions.

That's focusonthefamily.com/family traditions


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