I was really struggling as we walked through the aftermath. It just felt like every day was a struggle. It was hard to breathe sometimes. It was hard to just function day to day. And it was so lonely. When Kari learned of her husband's affair, she felt betrayed by God. She lost hope until she heard a Focus on the Family podcast. The reason why I listened to it over and over again is because it felt like I was sitting down with a friend who was telling me, like, I've been there and it's okay. And you can do this and I promise in the end it's going to be worth it.
And it just broke me in a good way. I'm Jim Daly. Working together we can heal more broken marriages like Kari's and give families hope. Please call 800 the letter A in the word family.
That's 800-AFAMILY. Or donate at FocusOnTheFamily.com slash hope. And your gift will be doubled. I'm John Fuller and this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Today we'll examine the important role of parenting. And Jim, I'm wondering if you have, let's call it an ideal picture of what a perfect parent can look like.
I mean the mom who, when the child comes home from school, pulls the fresh-baked cookies out of the oven. And by the way, my mom did that sometimes for me when I was growing up. That's awesome. It was.
Man, that's incredible how great that is. Come home to warm cookies. I should have done that for the boys. I think Gene did that from time to time.
I'm thinking about the dad who's standing in the yard with a mitt and a ball. Let's play catch. I did do that. Did you do some of that?
I absolutely encouraged that. I think for my last son, we played football. We played catch so much I hurt my arm for the rest of my life. I realized, man, I'm old.
What am I trying to do here? Man, it's so much fun though to engage. And we all want to be that perfect parent who never yells or gets aggravated. We want to be that perfect parent. But I'm sure many moms and dads wish the job of parenting was a lot easier. I mean, I heard someone recently say no one's ever ready to be a parent. And that's so true.
There is no formula and I really want to stress that because I think so often, especially in the Christian households, we think if we do A and B, we get C. And guess what? That's what the Lord thought too with Adam and Eve. There's something called free will and it gets in there and they have choices to make and they have little temperaments and personalities. So, you know, it doesn't always go perfectly. It is predictive. That's the good news.
You can do things that are predictive of outcomes, but there is no guarantee. So buckle up. There are some principles, like I'm saying, we're going to cover some of those principles today that will help you in your parenting journey. Yeah, we have Brandon and Annalyn Miller with us. They're back.
They have been here before. They're authors and speakers. They specialize in coaching moms and dads in what they call strength-based parenting. And they have seven children of their own, four grandchildren. And the Millers have written a book that we'll hear more about today. It's called Incredible Parent. Discover your parenting strengths and raise your kids with confidence. Contact us for your copy.
Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, or click the link in the program notes. Brandon and Annalyn, welcome back. Hi, thank you, Jim. So good to have you. Yeah, I love your laugh.
It's so good. No, it's okay. I'm a little bit free with my laughter. I like to have fun. You know what? A joyful heart is good and it's fun, especially talking about the parenting role.
Yes. I think a lot of moms and dads aren't laughing and that's not good. That's true.
That's so true. Hey, last time we were together, we discussed how to identify the strengths in your children and maximize those, which I think is great. Hey, here's a news bulletin. Not everybody is strong in everything. Not even us as parents.
Newsflash. So, you know, for us to identify those things in our children is a good help to them as well. What prompted you to write about parenting strengths in this new book? When we thought about parents and the challenge that we all have to aspire to be whatever version of the best parent we come up with, many of us, and we found this feedback coming after our first book, find ourselves comparing to other parents.
Really? And feeling like we're missing the mark. Why can't I be more like that, dad? Why don't I look like that mom? Why aren't my kids as well behaved as those kids over there? And we felt that there was an opportunity to share with parents a way to recognize their God-given strengths and to find that they do, in fact, by God, have these strengths that can help them be the best parent they can be for those kids that they've been granted.
Well, and so you've written a book. What are some of the weaknesses that you had in your parenting journey? You know, right out of the gate, I'll say every strength has its correlating weakness. And so I'm the structure, boundary, hard conversation parent between us. But that taken in excess can become harsh, authoritarian, can become too much. And so I've learned that though I have a really good pathway to help guide my kids in the tough conversations that are required in the home, I have learned the correlating weakness. If I just look at not enough strength, I definitely am not the calming influence in the house. Oh, it's got to be Annalyn.
So yes, it's me. That's actually one that we it's like, where is it on your list? I want to say it's, yeah, the bottom, the bottom of his. Did I say the bottom? So stability. And yes, that is the calming influence in the home. I don't get ruffled easily when something arises, I tend to close my mouth and think it through and kind of analyze before I move to any action.
Whereas he is quick to say something, you know, and start to dive into whatever it's funny. I think you you two are opposite Jean and I, she's more the kind of cop boundary person. I'm more the OK, there's relationship. It's kind of funny. So it doesn't always go with gender in that way. Absolutely. Yeah, which is really interesting.
You know, for most married couples, you do marry someone who's opposite of your skill set, typically. So that is something to tap into in your parenting. We learned how to lean on each other.
So now I reset. Now in what way? Like lean in a good way or lean on him? I guess it could be both. Let's just go with the good. Let's go with the good.
Let's stick with the good side of that. I did learn to lean on him knowing, OK, you are definitely going to be able to have this 30 minute conversation and still some policies or whatnot and stick to it. Whereas I knew that just because of I would I would agree with him.
I just wasn't as good at following through something where she picks it up is when it comes to the organization in our home, when it comes to putting together. Let's say we're going to go on a trip. Anna Lynn is prepared two weeks in advance. I am. And everyone is packed and everything is in order in the world.
And I have no interest at all. I'm packing the day before I'm rolling out the door and that became a really good understanding of, oh, that's why you prefer the house that way. That's why you organize the holidays just that way. And it really helped to counterbalance each other in that regard.
It's so good. You identified two important questions that every child's asking. What are they and why are they important? Well, number one, do you love me? And I think every parent is going to spend their lifetime trying to answer that one to their kids. Yeah, you probably never totally satisfy that answer, I would think. And it's good to repeat it all the time.
I love you because. And I think because we are that place in our child's life and, you know, with adult kids, even in that place where we're reinforcing value, we're reinforcing their their sense of self that you're OK, I see you, you can you can do this. And being that place that that we're always answering that. But the second one's fun because it is, well, you let me do anything I want to do.
Those are the two extremes. Yeah. And so when you when you think about that question from the moment we bring a child home, that question is loud and clear. They're going to want what they want when they want it. And it and it intensifies with age because we we have found with our kids, I think we said this last time we were with you, we were five for five on our kids losing their minds at 15.
OK, good. 15 is our magic. In fact, we just celebrated the 15th birthday and we're bracing ourselves. No, I'm holding hope. I'm holding hope. This will be the breaker of the string.
This is the one that's going to do it. Although I am setting myself up for reality. But that but even in that space, what they're essentially telling us is I want to be independent.
I want to do what I want to do. And as parents, if we answer the first one, yes. In in our love and kindness and compassion, then the second one has to be no with the same love and kindness and because we love you because I love you. Yeah, that's so good.
Yeah, it's it is a balance, isn't it? You love him so much. And then then you struggle between the two of you like Jean.
And I'm sure, John, you and Dina do that, too. OK, it's is it the rules, the policy, or is it going to be try harder next time? I love you. Exactly. Hey, so for those who didn't hear or see the previous program, what are the recaps that come to mind about strength based parenting and how it works? So when a parent thinks about playing to their strengths and the strengths of their kids, we're spending more time thinking about what's right with our kids than what's wrong with them. And essentially the aggregate of time is I can build on the natural momentum of my child by playing to the areas where I identify. We call it eyes shining where we can see that spark. We can see that place where that that starts to take shape and we can invest there. It doesn't mean we ignore the liabilities, the areas that need to be built up. It just means we're we're spending more of our time, space and energy there. And so strength based parenting really takes shape when we start to make that a part of our ongoing household development philosophy that when we go back to the report card scenario that we talked about in our first program, we're looking at, well, where did they shine?
Where were they stand out? Where's the excellence as opposed to just dragging them through? Why a C in math? Let's spend our time focused on the C in math.
And I don't think any of us, if we recall that, enjoyed that season. This just says, let's let's just build on the A's. We'll manage the C's.
We'll get to those. That's so funny because what those children will remember when they're adults is the discussion about the C. Oh, my dad was so hard on me. I got a C one time in algebra. Right.
That's what it goes through, not the A I got in geometry, something like that. That's so, so true and so good as a reminder. Hey, let me go let me go to the parenting strengths. You identified 12 and share a few of those and explain how we recognize those strengths. Sure. So the one we were just talking about, my number one is trainer. And so this is the teacher, the person who. And this is your gifting. Right. You're a trainer. Yeah.
This is what I do. And so seeing that come up number one for me was validating. It was encouraging. I thought, OK, well, that definitely matches up to who I am and how I function in the home.
My second one was inspiration. And this is this is the coach in me. This is the motivator. This is the person that I enjoy getting people moving in a positive direction. And when I think about everything we do with our seven kids or every experience we've had extracurricular, whether our years being youth pastors, our years, you know, coaching sports, whatever it was, that inspiration parent is such a cool strength to watch.
A third one I'll mention, and this is fun, it's zest and zest. If you just think of that joyful parent that loves adventure, loves to play, turns everything into some sort of game. Annalyn and I both share this in our top strengths. Well, that's good. So you don't frustrate one another with that. That can be frustrating to the other parents. No, not at all.
I can definitely relate to zest. I think it's fun. And that's good. That's really it's to us. Parenting is the grand adventure. We're just saying that you get the first kid and you don't know what you're doing and you think you get it figured out. And then the second one comes, you go, you just broke my thing.
Like everything that worked doesn't work on you. And so it's zest is that space of, but I can't wait to try again tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. We watch this with our daughter in law. Our son and daughter in law have three boys under five. Oh, and it's so fun watching Christine with her three boys. And the and the third one, she just was telling us the other day, he's so different than the first two. How he how he rests and how he engages. And she's like, and he's the first one that said mama first. So I think I like him the best. But just that enjoyment, that looking forward to that life giving flow. So those are three of the strengths that we can cover.
There's 12 total. Annalyn, do you have different strengths? I do. So as Brandon mentioned, organizer tends to be a top one for me. And I was just going to read something out of the book and it says organizer parents thrive in effective systems and excel at managing highly efficient households.
And so for Brandon and I, what's so funny? I'm laughing at highly efficient house. I would think this works well together, though, because you like process and rules and you like organization that actually compliments. So you got the big idea on how to keep the family moving in the right direction.
You're going to come up with the steps. Yeah. Yeah. It makes me happy. Oh, it's such a beautiful compliment because Annalyn will plan a party every month for every holiday that you didn't know existed.
And so it's National Hot Dog Day, whatever it is. I mean, you should see I can see our you know, most people have a shed in their backyard filled with garden tools and such. I have one filled with house decor for all of the holidays that we celebrate. Good for you, because we don't mess around because Annalyn organizes so well.
And I've just learned how to appreciate and step away. How did you get it out of the garage? That's my question. Well, because we had to get storage overflowed from the garage. That's what I need to know.
Get it out of the garage fast. Anyway, that was the deal we made. Tell us about a time. And these are all good. Maybe we could post these at the Web site.
Go take it and self identify. But these can clash. How have your strengths clash between the two of you? Who's going to go first here? Yes, we have clashed. So I will say this.
Brandon's trainer strength being top of this list. He is definitely one that wants to have the deep conversations. And when I say deep, he could talk for an hour with a kid, you know, and I'm always the one looking, going, is he done? And then there's part of me that goes, should I save my kid? And so sometimes I'll walk in and go, hey, hey, honey, are you thirsty?
You want something to eat? You need a break. That's usually the clue that I've exceeded the time. And so it's his clue. Like, maybe we've exhausted the conversation. Let's give him a break. I used to get frustrated.
I used to think he's only eight. He can only, you know, retain so much right now. And I, you know, so I would get frustrated. He would explain to me what the conversation was about. And I think, oh, my goodness, that's wonderful, you know. And so when we learned about that, about each other, I became, I don't know, would you say?
Now I actually defer to you in conversations. No, that's good. And it's maturing as a couple. So it's not irritating. Correct.
Yeah, that's a big development, I think. We actually found that of our, of our, so there's 12 strengths. And when you look at the list, the six up top are the ones that seem to be the ones that are most dominant. You lean into those most.
You seem to just naturally pick those up. Of our six, four of them are the same. And so we actually have more similarities than differences. The differences we do have, it was literally we solved some long standing challenges between us. Yes, 20 year old arguments resolved when we took this assessment. Oh, do tell.
What did that look like? Do tell. Well, I think, I think going back to what she was just saying about being the organizer and my appreciation now for why her structure in the household setting is so important to her. Where at times, just as she was saying about my trainer, I would say, hey, relax.
Yeah, I would get the relax a lot. We can plan for the vacation a weekend ahead of time. We don't need to do it a month. But to her, that was her system of order. And when you think of seven children, it was chaos. I didn't like hurrying at the last minute. So I had this little plan.
Let's make a plan. And so I think that that allowed us both to to step back and respect the process that each of us brought. And then showing our children how mom and dad could support each other's differences and build up in that way.
That was huge. And I think the older you get, hopefully it's true, the older you get, the longer you're married, the more you understand one another and can kind of exhale a little bit. You don't have to straighten each other out. Just go with it.
As long as it's not harmful. Obviously, we're just talking about styles. You encourage moms and dads to think about their parenting brand. And I'm thinking, oh, that's an interesting. What would be your parenting brand?
Yeah. And, you know, most of us want a positive brand. I guess I would say it that way. How do we apply parenting brand to parenting? What is it? What do you what are your adjectives?
Probably the right way to ask. So most of us, when we think of our brand, it's the values that we convey most often and we think of the 80 20 rule. So our values can be something that we 80 percent is actualized. We can live up to 80 percent of that. And 20 percent is aspirational.
We're aiming for that. So in our home, the things that we repeat most often do give insights into what we value the most. What we've tried to do is to make that clear in our message and clear when we're living up to it and clear when we're not. Because a quote that we like is that your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.
Right. And so it's how your children remember you. And when we wrote our first book, we had to we had to send it to our older kids because they were adults and they had to sign off on anything.
They literally had to sign a waiver. Every story had to be written, you know, signed off. And it was so good to have them tell us, OK, especially our oldest son, because he's a jokester. He's like, all right, I see that you kind of did it.
I'll sign off like that. You guys actually did that because he was remembering when we weren't strength based parents. He was remembering when Grace was. And he was the first one. Oh, well, being the oldest son, he got he got the lumps, right?
Yeah, he took the lumps. So for him to be able to look back and go, you did live up to that. So when we think about our values that connect with with our strengths, you know, one of our values is take responsibility or ownership for your actions or what you say or what you do.
And so we seek to live up to that. So when we're not communicating in a way that we have said this is how we want that, we're comfortable or compelled to go back and acknowledge that to say that wasn't how I want to convey my sentiment to you. Because as you know, going back to the trainer, I can at times elevate my voice. I can at times express myself in a way that I don't prefer to in retrospect.
Well, my brand would tell me, well, I just violated my own value. So now I get to go back and acknowledge this and try to move forward in a right standing. I like the way you said that elevate my voice.
I think a lot of us would call that yelling. That was the nice way to phrase the Christian way. Yeah, that's funny.
Hey, I love this. You describe how parents can get into the grind zone. I think I know what the grind zone is, but what is the definition of the grind zone? Doing the dishes, changing diapers. I think just doing that schedule. Pulling weeds, you know, just the things that you have to do.
Yeah, I just picked the general ones. But the grind can be for you that which does not feed your strength. So grind can be for our friends draining. Yeah, our friend Ryan. Ryan is a number 12 organizer and he would say, if you asked Ryan to get his kids to school on time five out of five days in a week, he might hit two. Maybe because for Ryan, getting things on time and out the door and structured is just not who he is.
Very high with stability and sensitivity is the most amazing, caring, in tune father is great guy. But that and he would tell you grinds him. So what he's learned to do is learn how to bring in reinforcements. Help him help him out of that grind, especially weeding day.
I would definitely bring the army. I just had a dad tell me we were talking about Father's Day. He said the best Father's Day gift I get as I organize all of my kids. I have a list of chores. His kids are all adults.
Oh, wow. And they come over and they help me do yard work. And they know that that's the day that dad gets to recruit all his troops. I thought that was called forced labor. Apparently, when they're adults, not anymore. Amazing.
If they do it by choice, come to my house and pick my weeds. I'm going to try that. I was so impressed when I heard it. Brilliant. In your book, you also say that these strengths can be misused. Share a couple of those examples where you misuse a strength.
Is that really where you're you're being a little deceptive or manipulative? How do you misuse a strength? You know, one. OK, so this is a great analogy. When you think of a superhero, there's always a villain. That villain has strengths, too. They just don't use it for the good of others.
Right. And so when we say, you know, you're using it out of, you know, your your strength zone and it's actually working against you. It's when you get into that place where you're not thinking about others, you're not being considerate. It is not something you're doing that's building somebody up.
Oh, that's interesting. More self-focused. More self-focused.
What do you think of when you look at an example? So we're both very high in the strength of fortitude. So we're business owners. We're very gritty.
We're hard workers. And there are times where we look at our children and we're we're pushing them beyond where they're willing to go on their own. Right. And we have found that that that push pull or that lead versus, you know, manipulates not a bad word because there's times. Yeah. If we're being clear that we want it more than they do.
Right. And there's times as fortitude parents who have to realize, oh, we're pushing too hard. We've had to step back. We're pushing too hard on something that this child is not ready for. We have an 18 year old right now at home.
He just pushed me back and said, whoa, Annalyn. Yeah, we have an 18 year old at home and she's evaluating life choices now. Right. She's looking at college. She's looking at career. And what we've had to realize is fortitude parents is we need to let her sort this out. We can offer choices.
We can give sound advice. But now she's at a stage where she gets to pick. And that can be hard for fortitude parents because we want to map the course. We want it.
We want to move her where we want her. And this particularly hard is a fortitude sounds a bit like control. It can be in in in excess. OK, good. Absolutely. In excess in weakness. Yeah.
And it's right measure. I'm I'm long suffering. I'm with you. I'm willing to to go long and hard to help you get where you're going because, you know, our commitment to the kid is we'll not give up on you. Whatever you choose, we're going to support you. We'll be here and and we'll move through the challenges that life are going to present. And here you go. Make your play. That's good. So parents strong in the fortitude strength are hardworking, resilient, gritty, strong willed, goal driven, persevering, dependable, always looking to challenge themselves and others and are involved.
People who make a difference and they're strong finishers. So we both tend to really gravitate towards that. However, like I said, it can also be something to where we have to allow people, our children, to create the path and then allow them to let us into their lives to help in that path. Right. It's a different situation when they become adults. Yeah. Where they're making the decision.
Yeah. And may or may not ask for your advice and may or may not. And so in our book, we also talk about with that strength, how you parent your children, your teens, your young adults. And so it gets real age appropriate responses because it's going to be different with every state.
This is flown by right at the end. So I'll save this question. But in John 15, Jesus describes how he's the vine and we're the branches. How do you how do you apply that to parenting? I think a parent that is a Christian parent recognizes that I cannot do this outside of my connection to the vine. That I am leading these kids as a steward because ultimately father is is their parent. And I'm and I'm doing that. Well, which one of us can pull that off? And so that connection we've just learned and I can touch this on fortitude is there's times where we're pressing, it's because we're moving at our own will and stepping back and saying, OK, father, we can't see your will be done. We can't see the field. We usually wait to say that at the end, you know, when we're frustrated, out of control, Lord, your will be done because I've been trying mine.
It's not working right at the beginning. And it's exactly it's a it's a fresh lesson we've both been learning about about striving versus sitting, learning how to learning how to rest in the Lord, learning how to receive and then operate out of that versus just engaging. And that's been a good, good growth journey for both of us.
Yeah. And being connected, we realized that, you know, all of our strengths come from him and he created us all uniquely. We all have giftings right in the body. Why don't we take this and use it in our own families? You know, the body of our family.
Let's all appropriately bring the giftings we have, the strengths that we have to build each other up. Yeah. Brandon and Annalyn, you've done a really good job. I mean, keeping it simple, like you said, thank you for that with the process guy next to you.
I'm like, no, instead of 460 pages, it's a simple 100 page. Right. So it's really good and incredible parent. Discover your parenting strengths and raise your kids with confidence.
Who doesn't want to do that? And I would hope that folks will be inquisitive about this and say, OK, I think I know my strengths. We'll again, post those at the website, but order the book. Just get in touch with us. If you can make a gift of any amount, it'd be wonderful if you could do that on a monthly basis. But a one time gift is good to just give us a call. Get in touch with us and we'll send you the book for a gift of any amount. As our way of saying thank you.
Yeah. Get in touch. Donate as you can and request your copy of the book, Incredible Parent.
Discover your parenting strengths and raise your kids with confidence. We have copies of that here at the ministry and a free audio download of today's broadcast as well. When you call 800 the letter A in the word family or stop by the program notes for all the details. Brandon, Annalyn, again, thank you so much for being with us. This has been great. Thank you for having us.
Thank you. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. Plan to join us next time as we reflect on the incredible sacrifice of America's veterans and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Just like a warm fireplace when it's cold outside, the joy the Christmas season gives comfort and draws us closer to loved ones. I'm John Fuller and Focus on the Family is excited to let you know about our Christmas Stories podcast. Each episode brings heartwarming conversations to bring your family closer together and remind you of the hope we have in Jesus. You can enjoy that podcast at Focus on the Family dot com slash Christmas stories. That's Focus on the Family dot com slash Christmas stories.
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