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Intentional Parenting - Belief, Affection, and Encouragement, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
July 31, 2023 6:00 am

Intentional Parenting - Belief, Affection, and Encouragement, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 31, 2023 6:00 am

The statistics for young people leaving the Church after high school and college are grim.  In this program we explore how to help your kids walk with God and become young people of character, conviction, and compassion. 

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Are you a parent or grandparent really concerned about your kids? We want to help you help your kids walk with God, become kids of character, convictions and great compassion. And so I've invited a very special guest to join me on this program to help you be that kind of parent. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.

Living on the Edge is an international teaching and discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. And as Chip alluded to for this series, he's turning the mic over to a good friend, Doug Fields, to teach on the subject of intentional parenting. No matter how old your kids may be, every mom and dad can learn to better connect and engage with their sons and daughters. So for the next handful of programs, Doug's going to identify 10 effective ways we can do that. And to help you get the absolute most out of his teaching, download our message notes. They contain a rough outline of what Doug is going to cover, the scripture he references and more.

Get them under the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org, app listeners tap fill in notes. Okay, with all that said, let's join Doug as he kicks off this series. Hey everybody, I am so thrilled to be with you all as we talk about what kids need in carrying adults.

I want you to start by raising your hands. If you had parents, let me see you had parents. Okay, that's good. Anybody like me that when you were a kid, you actually thought your parents knew what they were doing, that they were just like experts at it, that they had thought it out. They were strategic, that they had followed some guidelines. I really thought my parents were pros at parenting until I became a parent and thought, oh, they had no idea what they were doing.

They were making this stuff up as they went. The having the kids part was easy. It's just the figuring out what to do with them. If you're not a parent, here's what parents would say about parenting.

It's difficult. If you're a single parent, you would change the word difficult to impossible. And if you are a single parent, you are one of my heroes in life.

How you do it, I don't fully get it. There are some people in here called empty nesters who are laughing at everybody else because their kids have grown up and they have moved out of the house. And then there are some of us in here that are boomerang parents. And those are kids that left the house and then came back and they now live in their house like mine.

And those of us cry ourselves to sleep at night. Now, I also realize there's a large group of you that you're not parents. You don't like kids. You don't want kids.

You just don't even think about kids. And you're actually the type of people that I like to sit next to in a restaurant. Really, when my kids were little and growing up, I remember looking, I mean, I remember one time we got seated and this lady, you know, eye rolls, the looks of condemnation, like I would never do that if I was a parent, you know, that type of thing. She actually asked the hostess to move. And I was a little hurt by that, so I asked the hostess if we could move as well.

And so we moved right next to her because that's what pastors do. They help you grow and mature and become patient and kind. And actually, here's the deal. Even if you don't have kids, this will be helpful for you unless you're a hermit. I mean, unless you're a hermit, your life is going to intersect with kids. Whether you're a parent, a grandparent, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor who has friends who have kids, this is going to be helpful for you. I'm going to contextualize in the context of some parenting illustrations, but really what I'm talking about is all relationships. I taught some of this material in Seattle and a woman came up to me afterward and said, I don't have kids, but they're really helpful in how I treated my husband.

And I kind of feel sorry for him, but now, and if you're here and you are a kid, I love it that you're here because now you can hold your parents accountable, that you can go home. Doug said, don't do that. You know, whatever. So here we go. But as we begin this, let me just start by giving you what I would call some disclaimers.

Let me give you some Doug Fields disclaimers. First of all, I'm not an expert at raising kids. I used to be an expert at raising kids until I became a parent. Okay. Then I moved from my expert status. And when my kids were teenagers, I actually became the dumbest human on the planet. Okay.

And that was real exciting. But I am, I am a veteran parent. My kids are 25, 22, 19 years old.

They're all doing very, very well in the foster care system. And so second disclaimer is what I lack in expertise as a parent, I make up as really what I am is I'm probably a youth expert. For 30 years of my life, I've worked with teenagers. I've studied youth culture.

I've written books to kids and to youth workers and to parents. Early in my marriage, working with teenagers was our primary form of birth control because I didn't wanna bring any into the world. And then when Kathy would get that look in her eyes like, we should have a kid, I would just take her on a date to a McDonald's playland. And I just see one of the psycho kids running naked holding his diaper. And I go, really? Really?

You want one of those? But I do study youth culture. Third disclaimer is that I just wanna let you know that I am not gonna take any time to bash culture.

I know a lot of people do that as kind of a scare tactic and show you pictures of Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball and say this could be your kid. That's not my goal. My goal, we all know the culture that we live in and the condition that it's in. I don't wanna give you scare tactics.

I wanna give you hope tactics. And the fourth disclaimer is I wanna let you know this. I'm not gonna be speaking to Christians or to non-Christians. Answer me like, Doug, did you not take your medication today? Do you not know where you are? No, I know exactly where I am.

Here's what I'm gonna be talking to parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, mentors, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends. Some of you are followers of Jesus. And some of you are curious. You're questioning faith in God and Jesus and there's everyone in between. So if you are here and you are Jesus Jr. or you are here and the only time you say Jesus is when you golf, I am thrilled that you're here.

And I tell you all that because I wanna let you know this is gonna be a safe environment to bring anybody that cares about kids. Now, I have a bias. I've stolen most of my material from the Bible.

And the Bible sheds a lot of light on relationships and how to do them right. But if you look at your notes, what I wanna do is I wanna begin with the end in mind. And I want you as a parent to think about the end in mind. This is not a new concept.

Marketplace people, they do this all the time. You have a job, a business. When you enter into a business, you think, what's our exit plan? Even in the church, we have things about like what's a one-year, three-year, five-year goal? What do we hope to accomplish in the future? And I think that's an important part of parenting.

It's not a new deal. We've been told this for thousands of years. Take a look at the scriptures in Psalm 90 verse 12, it says, teach us to number our days, why? That we may gain a heart of wisdom. That we need to be wise with our days because they disappear so quickly. We have some friends who just had a baby in May and for Christmas, I gave them a jar of 936 marbles. And this jar of 936 marbles represented the number of weeks that little Taylor has until she graduates from high school. And the gift to the parents was to every week take one marble out and reflect and to think what happened last week, to thank God for this gift, and then to see kind of how many more weeks you have to go. Now, you know, my 22-year-old son said, Dad, that is so depressing. I'm sure there's a joke in there about parents losing their marbles, but the idea is that time goes by very, very quickly.

And if we don't pause to stop, reflect, and think about it, we're going to find ourselves with a lot of regrets. And I gave that to them because I didn't want them to do what so many parents do, and that's not pay attention to the time. It was just yesterday, December 15th, 1988, when I was standing in Hogue Hospital and I went from not being a parent to all of a sudden being a parent. I'll never forget, I mean, literally, it feels like it was just yesterday when the doctor held my daughter and said, do you want to hold her? And I said, no, no.

She looks slippery. Those are my words. And if you've never seen a newborn baby before, just think like Vaseline-covered weasel is kind of what it was. And I was scared. I was not ready for that. And then I said, clean her up first, and then handed it to me.

And as I held ET in my hand, I mean, I'm telling you, bam, time blew by, and now she's 25. What would it look like if parents painted a picture of the end? Kathy and I chose to do this over 25 years ago because we worked with really, really good kids and really troubled kids. And we said, what are some of the common factors in these troubled kids? What are some of the common elements of these really, really good kids? And let's just paint a picture of what we want our kids to look like. And so I share these with you, and I share these with you because not for you to copy ours, but just to kind of paint a picture for you of what I'm talking about.

Kathy and I call them the five Cs. The first is we wanted our kids to have a sense of confidence, a healthy confidence that they would actually feel good about themselves, that they would know who they are, that they would walk through life with not arrogance, but confidence, that they would know who they are because of whose they are. The second Cs, we wanted them to have character. What parent doesn't want their kids to have character? A moral compass to make decisions of integrity, of right and wrong, of values. If you're a follower of Jesus, you hope that your kids have a Christ-like character. But regardless of your faith background, you want your kids to have character. The third is that we wanted our kids to have convictions. And convictions are beliefs. Every one of us has convictions. The question becomes, what are your convictions based on? Are they based on what you feel at any given moment? Are your convictions based on what other people say?

Or are your convictions based on what might be called a biblical worldview? Because one's convictions shape one's character. You can't have true character without convictions.

You see a lot of people who do, though. Watch this. As they try to have character, mom and dad force kind of character on them. This is what's right.

This is what's wrong. But if they don't have convictions, what happens when the temptations come? The character folds up. You see this with kids all the time. They put on an act.

They wear a mask. When they're around mom and dad, they have character. But when they're on their own and all the influences of the world are around them, the character folds because there is no conviction. The fourth C is we wanted our kids to have compassion. We wanted them as they grew up to have a love and concern for those who are marginalized, for those that don't live life like they live life. We wanted them to take the focus off of themselves and to put it on other people, other people who are hurting, and to serve them in several different ways. And finally, we wanted our kids to have a sense of competence. This is the big picture idea that they would actually be able to live and function and thrive in today's world, knowing that they have God-given gifts, having developed some skills, and not just merely taking up space on this planet, but actually being a competent contributor to the world. That was, for us, that was our endgame. And by the way, we stole that from the Bible, too.

Okay? I mean, if you look in 1 Timothy, you'll see that the Apostle Paul paints a picture for young Timothy to become these areas. Now, with these, what it does is that when you have an endgame in mind, what happens is you parent in intentional ways rather than reactive ways. When you have an endgame in mind, you parent with intentional ways rather than reactive ways. It doesn't mean you're not gonna have regrets. I have regrets.

I did not parent my kids as they were growing up perfectly. But what you're doing is you're enhancing the odds. We're enhancing the odds. I'm not guaranteeing results because as intentional as you want to be, there is still this element of mystery that surrounds parenting, that I have observed that some really good kids have come from some really bad parents and vice versa as well. So what we're talking about is enhancing the odds. Us, as parents, doing the possible with faith that God will do the impossible, that all kids are different. There is no one parenting formula. They each have their own unique brand of free will. But there are some biblical relational principles given to us from God that if we can align ourselves with those, we are going to enhance our odds.

I'm gonna give you 10. First one is this, what I call 10 actions kids need from caring adults. The first is strong belief, strong belief. And I don't mean this is you believing in your kids like, oh, you're a terrific singer, dear. I love the way you throw.

Oh, what a fastball. No, I'm not talking about that. I'm actually talking about strong belief in your role as a parent, that there is actually a high value in you being a parent. And as I talk about parents, let me throw in grandparents because the culture that we live in today, grandparents, you are so important in the raising of today's kids. My mother-in-law, so my kid's grandma, is probably one of the most influential people in my kid's life. And I've said this several times that I think my kids will be more sad when grandma dies than when I die.

And it bothers me that nobody in my family disagrees with that. But, you know, so grandparents, you are so, so important. You've got to believe, parents, that you play a hugely significant role in how your kids come out to embrace these five Cs. And I start here because, parents, you are the biggest influence in your kid's life.

And if you don't believe that, you actually have trouble coming your way. If you don't believe that you are the biggest influence in their life, you will become nothing more than a shift manager at your own bed and breakfast. See, I talk to parents a lot, and parents are worried about the culture and the Internet and MTV and the dangers of, you know, Honey Boo Boo. But what they've got to realize, your kids, more than anyone else, are shaped by parents. Parents' beliefs, parents' values, parents' actions, that parents are the primary influencer in a kid's lives.

The only time that influence shifts to culture or media or friends is when a parent either physically or emotionally withdraws from the scene. See, parents, as hard as it is for you to believe, your kids want you to be their hero. Your kids want you to be the type of person that they look up to. That's God's design. See, God is really big on kids. Jesus actually said this in Mark chapter 9. Jesus took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him, the child, in his arms, he said to them, whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.

And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me. And when you welcome a child, you welcome God. I mean, that is that's a high calling. That puts a parent's life in perspective. Your calling is so important.

Folks, it is part of your destiny. You being a parent is your life purpose. It's your calling from God and it is worth your very best effort that raising your children, it actually may be the most spiritual thing you will ever do in your life. Your children are God's gift to you. That's how they're referred to in the scriptures. Look at Psalms 127. Children are a gift from the Lord.

They are a reward from him. And I realize some of you are not feeling like your kids are a reward right now, but how joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them. Now what's a quiver?

A quiver is what archers, you know, archery, what they would wear a quiver on their back and would hold all their arrows. And he's saying is how happy is the man? Joyful is the person whose quiver is full of kids.

And some of you are going, no. Okay. I feel like shooting my kid into another community.

And I understand. I mean, there were seasons in my parenting. Well, I remember listening to this guy one time say your kids are like a cocoon that you have to nurture and protect the cocoon because inside the cocoon a butterfly will emerge. And at that point in my parenting, I wanted to stomp the cocoon, okay, that for fear that there wasn't a butterfly.

There was a there was a bat or a buzzard within. And I did not want to see that emerge. But if they are a gift from God, doesn't that change everything? I mean, if God says I'm in, I'm stewarding you a gift that you would value it. Now, it may not be what you, you know, ordered at babies are us, but nonetheless, it's your gift from God to value it. It's a big deal.

If you're a parent, raise your right hand, repeat after me. I am a big deal. You are. That's it. You're a big deal.

And what do you think if we would begin to value the idea of parenting as a bigger deal than our paycheck or our hobbies or our social situations? So what if the next time somebody says to you about what do you do for a living? You don't mention your career. You actually refer to your high calling.

What do I do? Funny you ask. I'm in charge of raising three homo sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order that God prescribed. And what do you do for a living?

You're just a lawyer. See, because if you don't believe in the value in your role as a parent, if you don't believe that that is a high value, the consequences of your unbelief will sabotage your effort and actually wound your children. This season of parenting is a huge spiritual challenge and it's worthy of our very best effort. And that's why I put it as number one.

They're not all ranked in order of importance, but I want it to start here. Strong belief. You've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher, Doug Field's message, belief, affection, and encouragement from his series Intentional Parenting. He and Chip will join us here in studio with some additional thoughts about today's program in just a minute. Well, like a well-constructed building, good parenting requires hard work and a well thought out plan. In this series, Doug shares 10 ways moms and dads can better engage their kids in areas where parents have traditionally struggled. Learn more about a parent's sacred responsibility to care for, love, and direct their sons and daughters. For more information about this series or our resources, visit livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003.

That's 888-333-6003 or livingontheedge.org. Well, our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram is with me now. And Chip, a lot of parents today have regrettably checked out and resorted to being, as Doug said in his message, shift managers at their own bed and breakfast. Why do you think so many moms and dads have bought into this idea of quick fix parenting? I think the reason is that we as parents have bought a lie. And the lie is that peer and media and everything and everyone else really is determining what happens in the lives of our kids. And by the way, the way they roll their eyes at times and the way they seem to disconnect, it just reinforces to us emotionally that, wow, you know, it just seems like, you know, they're not connecting with us anymore. What you need to understand is that the teaching that Doug is giving us isn't just some good teaching that he came up with. A friend of mine did a two-year research project on why 70% of evangelical youth are leaving the church and abandoning God.

None of us can predict what our kids are going to do, but there were certain kinds of homes with certain kinds of characteristics that causes kids to embrace their faith, have their own faith, have convictions, and be men and women who walk with God in the years to come. And so one of those things is parents who believed I have the greatest influence. They can roll their eyes. They can act like they don't want to sit around the table at dinner.

They can think that, oh, wow, do we have to, you know, talk and read the Bible and go to church together? Yes, you still have the greatest influence, but it takes courage. So let me encourage you to stay with us and then ask yourself, how could I be an intentional parent? Great setup, Chip. Well, I hope you'll join us for every part of this series. And because of how practical Doug's teaching is for moms and dads today, let me encourage you to invite a few couples to listen with you, either through the Chip Ingram app or at livingontheedge.org. Well, with that, here again is Chip. Well, I'm joined today by our guest teacher, Doug Fields, and really excited to have you with us today, Doug. And for our listeners to hear, yes, you are really funny and you're practical, but you're sharing some things that are always important.

But I got to tell you, I can't think of a time where parents need more help than right now. You know, you called us to the five C's. I'm wondering if you could maybe just quickly review those points and maybe give us some tips of how can parents put those into practice right now? Absolutely.

I'm honored to be with you, Chip, and share with your wonderful audience. But before I get to the five C's, let me just set up a context for just a second. The big idea behind our intentional parenting material is to encourage parents to aim at something with their parenting efforts rather than simply reacting to everything. And I realize in the midst of parenting, most parents are just trying to hold things together with super glue and duct tape until the child leaves the house. But intentional parenting is a call to pause and to start thinking about parenting with the end in mind. So as parents, we have a pretty good idea of the finish line, right? Like after a child is born, it's only 936 weeks or 216 months from the time the child is born until he or she graduates. And every day counts, which is why I think the Psalmist said, teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.

And I've actually numbered the days from birth to 18 years, and it's about 6,570 days. So what does that have to do with the five C's that I talked about? Well, you could say that the five C's were the parenting graduation present that we wanted to give ourselves.

It's what Kathy and I as parents, what we aim for with our parenting efforts. And here are the C's. The first C is confidence. We wanted our kids to have a healthy confidence of who they are so they wouldn't be victims or insecure followers of others.

The second C is character. That's the moral foundation of right or wrong. It's essentially what every parent wants for their child because character influences decision-making. The third C is conviction, which is basically a set of beliefs based on the teaching of God's word.

It's faith in the person and teachings of Jesus. And the fourth C is compassion. We wanted to make sure our kids understood that our world is filled with pain and suffering and our faith requires us to actually care for others.

And the fifth and final C is competence. We wanted our kids to have a set of skills that they could contribute to our culture and do something meaningful with their lives rather than just being a consumer. So intentional parents, they articulate an end game and then they emphasize those values.

So that's what we mean by being intentional. Painting a picture of 18 years old and visualizing independence in a move away to college. And what do you want your kid to look like? And once you have that picture in your mind, you attach some words to it and then you parent to fulfill those words.

It's as simple and as complex as that. Great word, Doug. Thanks. And before we go, I want to quickly tell you about a resource we've developed alongside Doug's teaching called Intentional Parenting Cards. Through this tool, you'll dive deeper into the 10 areas he'll unpack for us in this series. And right now, when you buy these cards, we'll also give you a set of our Discuss This cards absolutely free. Both of these resources will help you build meaningful relationships with your kids. So to get your hands on our Intentional Parenting and Discuss This cards, visit livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Atlas Nurse Taps special offers. We'll listen next time as our guest teacher, Doug Fields, continues his series, Intentional Parenting. Until then, this is Dave Drouy saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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