Guy Doud, recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award, recounts his childhood school experiences and how they helped shape his teaching career and passion for reaching kids. (Part 1 of 2)
Jessica Smartt: But anyone can do it. You can start right this very second today. If you want to say, “I wanna make a new story. I want our family to be different.” The generation that comes can be different from the generation that’s before you.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Jessica Smart joins us today on Focus On The Family. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: Uh, John, here we are, the day before Thanksgiving. I can almost smell what that turkey is gonna be like tomorrow. (Laughs) Man, I’m looking forward to it.
John: It’s always a great time.
Jim: Isn’t it a great time of year? It’s exciting to remember, uh, what we’re grateful for, what ushers in this season of advent and it’s right here, right in front of us. For some, uh, probably most moms, you may be feeling overwhelmed and panicked by the holiday season, not just Christmas, but Thanksgiving. On top of, uh, shopping and cooking and all the other things that you’re laying expectations for, you’re supposed to enjoy the season and make memories with your family. So we want to encourage you today to do just that. And we have a wonderful guest who’s gonna help us.
John: She’s gonna help take some of the edge and stress out of the process of making memories. Uh, Jessica Smart is a former English teacher and is now a homeschooling mom of three. She’s married to Todd and she writes a lot on motherhood. And has a blog called Smartter Each Day. And her name has two T’s in it. So Smartter Each Day.
Jim: Extra smart.
John: Yes. (Laughs) There you go. And uh, Jessica has a book called Memory Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home. And we’ll encourage you to look for a copy of that online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Jim: Jessica, welcome to Focus On The Family.
Jessica: Thank you. It’s such an honor to be here with you.
Jim: My English teacher, I gotta jump right there. (Laughs) You’re gonna have to change my perception. I had Mrs. Crabtree in second grade. (Laughs) That was her actual name. If she’s still out there, Mrs. Crabtree thank you for teaching me about participles. But English teachers are tough. Are you tough?
Jessica: I don’t think so. (Laughs) I was… I like to think of myself as a fun one so…
Jim: Okay, good. I never knew there was a fun English teacher.
Jessica: Well, now you know one. (Laughs).
Jim: All right. So a few years ago you had an experience that rocked your parenting world, what happened?
Jessica: Yes. Um, our oldest son, uh, has life-threatening food allergies and we’ve known about that nearly his whole life.
Jim: So, you knew beforehand?
Jessica: We did.
Jessica: We knew from when he was a baby, um, he had some reactions and they did the testing and came back and the numbers were just off the charts. So we had all the meetings where they said, “If he ever ingests these foods, here’s the steps you need to take,” and made it very serious. So I always had it. Um, it’s been a weight to live with that, and it’s always at every second, I feel like in the back of my mind and I’m very careful. Um, but one morning it just takes one mistake.
Jessica: And, um, one morning he was six years old and it was a Sunday, so we’re crazy getting ready for church. And I made one version of oatmeal and another version of oatmeal for another kid, kind of threw him down. You know, I’m trying to get everybody’s shoes and pack up. And I look over and he’s sitting at the counter next to the wrong bowl. And I, I mean, I can picture it like it’s today. I said, “Did you eat some of that?” And he said, “Yes.” And it was like, my stomach just dropped. And I immediately said to Todd, my husband, um, “We need to give him epinephrine and we need to call 911.” And he’s like, “Well, let’s just wait. You know, maybe he’ll be okay.” You know. Um, I said, “No, I know that this is what we need to do. They’ve said it over and over.”
Jessica: Um, so I gave him the EpiPen, you know-
Jessica: -in less than 30 seconds. And we called 911. He seemed okay at first. And I remember calling my sister who lives across the street and saying, you know, “Here’s what’s happened, you’re going to see the ambulance, but I think everything’s okay.” And they come in, you know, they’re very nonchalant. And you kind of thinking that it’s been blown out of proportion or not really a big deal. And then there was this moment where he’s sitting down and again, I, I probably have some sort of a trauma, PTSD from this cause I can see it so clearly. He’s sitting down and he sneezes and he looks at me and his eyes are like swelling.
Jessica: And I knew immediately then that this was very serious because he’d already had epinephrine, and that should have curved. And he’s getting ready to react. And I said, ‘He needs to go to the hospital right now.” And everybody’s like… I do tend to overreact. I will say that. So this was one of the voice calling wolf situations, but this was a wolf. Um, and I knew it. So we got him in the ambulance and I needed to administer two more doses of epinephrine in the ambulance. He was having difficulty breathing, um, starting to get hives. We get there, you know, again, they kind of didn’t really take it seriously. Um, I guess he looked okay, but I knew as the mom that this was not good.
Jim: What did that lead you to think about? Um, I mean, did that change how you thought about memories and making memories that’s the connection?
Jim: -all of a sudden mortality became a little more real to you.
Jessica: Exactly. So you’re sitting there in the hospital that night and all these feelings of fear and a little bit of gratitude too, obviously. But just this sense of how short life is, and almost like a midterm exam of parenting, like, how am I doing here? And the answer was not good. Um, because I knew that there was a lot of things I wanted to do differently and be more intentional about. It’s not like right at that moment, I thought, “I’m gonna start having more traditions.” But slowly we realized that that was the solution for that angst that I had of having regret about some of the ways we had been parenting.
Jim: Yeah, boy, we could still relate to that because one of our sons has significant allergies, peanut allergy, and some other things too. And we’ve had that experience, uh, when he was younger. We didn’t know. I gave him a spoonful of peanut butter, if you could believe that.
Jessica: Oh, wow.
Jim: I just didn’t know. And all of a sudden he didn’t look right. We called 911. And it’s an amazing thing that God does, uh, they said, you know, he’ll not have a full reaction the first two or three times that he’s exposed to that, but you need to watch it. And sure enough, we’ve had those experiences over the years. And thankfully he’s very good about reading ingredients and things like that. But, but, uh, yeah. So let’s talk about the power of traditions and why they’re so important to the fabric of who we are.
Jim: You’ve done it. Uh, why do you think traditions mean that much to us, or should?
Jessica: Right. Um, as parents, I think, you know, I’m looking around at the world and I’m, I’m worried, I guess, about my kids. And there’s a sense of, you know, what’s going to hit them when they’re adults? Um, well, as far as challenges and what will the world be like. And I want so badly for them to have the tools to handle whatever life throws at them. Um, and the answer and solution to that is these traditions that anchor them to the things that matter.
Jim: What are you finding that works? Uh, what are you saying that works in that regard? Cause you can have a plan, it doesn’t mean it’s gonna (laughs) work well.
Jessica: Right. I think if a mom was thinking the same things that I was, that they wanted to have more intentionality in the home, the first thing I would do is just pray. Because every family’s different and I can throw out so many ideas, but God knows your family and knows what would work. And so I would just pray and say, you know, where can I make some changes in our home? And it may be something little like a special family food dinner tradition. It may be, you know, a once a year we’re going to take a trip here kind of thing. Lord, the Lord will lead you I think. But the first step I take is to think, what do I want to pass on to my kids? Is it faith, the love of nature, caring for others, and then think of a tradition that kind of supports that.
Jim: Yeah, that’s a good idea. I mean, it really is. I think the key there is for people in a busy, hectic environment with work and you know, who knows what’s going on with COVID, uh, you know, whatever you’ve got to do, you’re doing it as a parent and as a provider and all those things, to slow down and think this is important. I want you to make your best pitch as to why traditions benefit us and our children. How would you say?
Jessica: Um, you know, I think if I were to ask either of you or our listeners, what they remember most, when they think back, I imagine it’s those things that we always did, you know, quote unquote as a family, every… And it’s sometimes it’s silly, you know.
Jim: Yes, silly things are fun things.
Jessica: Little thing. Every Christmas we had a pickle ornament (laughs) and we went and looked for it. Or on my birthday, my dad always wrote this silly poem or, you know, those are the things that stick with people as they grow.
Jim: It’s what you talk about when you’re older.
Jessica: So I, I mean, those are the things that matter to me. And again, silly things, my nana would make this hamburger-macaroni concoction, (laughs) which was really quite disgusting when you read the ingredients. But…
Jim: I gonna say it sounds pretty good.
John: Yeah, I’m hungry. Yeah. (Laughs)
Jessica: Well, it is. But sugar and ketchup are the other mystery ingredients. (Laughs)
Jim: Right down the, the alley for me.
Jessica: Yeah. Um, but I made it for my kids the other day and we talked about nana and I was able to, you know, share a little bit about her. Um, so…
Jim: Let’s talk about the swings and misses too, at doing this. You tried to get your family to do a hymn sing along?
Jim: When I first read that every morning I went, “Ouch, how’d that go.” (Laughs)
Jessica: Right. It sounds really dreamy. (Laughs) And then the reality is you’ve got kids laying on the table, moaning and acting like you’re pulling out their eyelashes one by one. But, um, the reward is we, we did this as part of our homeschool routine, but you could do it at night or after dinner or whatever. And, uh, they will ask about it, you know, “Are we gonna see those hymns?” Or I’ll hear my daughter kind of humming them as she’s walking along.
Jim: So you’re saying try?
Jim: No, that’s good.
Jessica: And I think people, I’m sorry. I think people think if it goes badly or it’s hard that they’ve done something wrong. And the truth is, it’s just hard. When you’ve got kids, anything is hard, but we work for it. It’s still worth it.
Jessica: So push through it.
Jim: I like it kind of fits that idea of fail fast, right?
Jessica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: Just keep trying things until some things stick.
Jim: And then do those things on a regular basis. You also created a tradition… And you know, you’re saying it doesn’t have to be extravagant, it just needs to be something that catches. But you would cut flowers for the dinner table.
Jessica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim: And how did that go? Did kids like that?
Jim: They talked about it?
Jessica: Something I just kinda threw in trying to make an effort to make dinner less, more civilized, less crazy with little kids. And I’m thinking I’m doing it for myself. And my son saw me doing it, at the time he had to be four, you know, a little like boy as boy can be. And he came over and said, “You’re, you’re cutting, um, flowers because it’s family dinner night?” And he runs over and tells somebody. And I thought he notices…
Jessica: … you know, even a little thing like that. He saw that I was making an attempt. And there’s just such power in your kids seeing that you actually like them and want to be with them.
Jim: How about your friend? I think a neighbor Bill or a friend Bill, what did he do?
Jessica: He’s actually a colleague. And part of the reason that this book exists is because of his wisdom to me about the power of traditions. And, um, you know, he’s a grandfather now, but when he speaks of his childhood, it was terrible. I mean, he says, “I kind of parented myself. No one was watching, no one cared. My traditions were, you know, cereal and hot dogs in the microwave kind of thing.” That was his life. And now his home is so rich with, from music to flowers, to foods, to, you know, all the holiday things.
Jessica: And so that has been such an encouragement to me. And I think it should be to our listeners that sometimes we think, well, I didn’t have that great of a home life, you know. I don’t know that I’m the best person to really build these traditions, but anyone can do it. You can start right this very second today. If you want to say, “I wanna make a new story. I want our family to be different. The generation that comes can be different from the generation that’s before you.”
Jim: Right. So true. That’s what the whole cause of Christ is about, right?
Jim: Breaking those old bad traditions and bad influences and creating new good ones that-
Jim: -hopefully aimed toward him. I mean, that’s the goal. Um, you mentioned food and food is interesting to me, even spiritually, you know, the Lord sat with his disciples and ate with them. There’s some dynamic about eating together. Even science is showing that, in survey and research projects that show that a family that eats together three or four times a week, those children do a lot better in every category. So what is it about food and being around food together as a family that makes it so important?
Jessica: Right. Yeah, you’re exactly right. And this is not something I’ve invented. God, you know, the rituals and ceremonies and all that throughout the Old Testament that is, he understood that we are sensory people. So I don’t know what it is, but I know that I love it. And my best memories all include food. And I remember going to, um, I had to take a first communion class and I am sad to say, I don’t remember a lot of theology, but I do remember that my mom would take me through the drive-through and get me a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and just the two of us, we would eat it on the truck. (Laughs) And it was just this wonderful, you know…
Jim: It meant something to you, its warm.
Jessica: It did, yes.
Jessica: And that, so that’s an easy one. That’s an “easy button” food tradition. But then, you know, you do have the ones… We make this dish, uh, mashed potato stuffing that every year, you know, when I was struggling in college and just so homesick, we would just think about that mashed potato stuffing. And it could just carry you through. You knew you were gonna get it soon. You could make it (laughs) till Thanksgiving.
Jim: That’s good. I’m getting hungry.
John: I hope we can maybe post the recipe for your mash potato stuffing?
Jessica: I could do that.
Jim: Oh, definitely we could.
Jessica: You can’t make it like my mom-
John: Go for it.
Jessica: -but I’ll give it to you.
John: Well, uh, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest is Jessica Smartt. And her book is Memory Making Mom. And I hope that you hear the heart coming through that it doesn’t have to be a big production. You can start small, but memories do make a difference. And, uh, the book is full of great ideas. We’ll encourage you to get your copy when you’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800-A-FAMILY.
Jim: Jessica, uh, I’m really intrigued by this idea of a puzzle box and, uh, how it relates to our faith. So describe that for me. What’s the puzzle box and how do you use it within your own family?
Jessica: Well, as I was writing this book, I started thinking about how some of the traditions are so little and you know, somebody… You could hear this broadcast or read the book and think, “Oh, I need to start traditions,” and just run everywhere and do everything. (laughs) But I started thinking, you know, why are we really doing this? What’s the whole point? Um, because if you look on Pinterest, so many options, how do you even know where to start? And to me, just like when you’re doing a puzzle, which we do a lot of them, my 94 year old grandmother has Alzheimer’s and she does puzzles. That’s what we do with her. And some of them are very hard. But you’ve got the box and you see, you know what you’re trying to do. And we always finish them amazingly. You know what I mean? It’s just like all blue. (Laughs)
Jessica: But, um, so I started thinking how faith traditions are like that in that that’s your picture towards what you’re aiming. And so, to me, the reason we’re doing all of these traditions is because I want to bond my children to our family. To let them know you have people here that are for you. And to bond them to their faith and to the Jesus who died for them and who loves them. And so that’s the overarching, like why we’re doing all of the traditions.
Jim: Um, you say that traditions often center around the holidays, obviously. You and Todd, I love this one and every guy is going to relate (Laughs) ’cause all of us guys have this story. But you, uh, wanted to do the magical Christmas, and you and Todd decided you’re gonna get the biggest, baddest Christmas tree you can ever find. And it turned into a project, right? What happened?
Jessica: It, it did, yes. (Laughs) This all, blame this on our ignorant youth. But we had… Didn’t really put together that a large tree is going to need a large tree stand and we did not have that, nor did we have much money that… At that point.
Jim: Sounds like a dilemma?
Jessica: Yes, it was. (Laughs) So he goes into the garage and tried to kind of whittle it down to a small point and it did get in there and we set it up and then, you know, two seconds later, it falls over to the floor. And we’ve got at that point a four and two year old little boy, and we decided that was actually a hazard. (Laughs) And so he tries to secure it to the wall, no lie, with first, it was a thick black camping rope. And that just devastated my pottery barn Christmas
Jessica: (Laughs) So we got in a little tiff over that.
Jim: So you ended up with fishing line.
Jessica: Then we went to fishing line.
Jim: Yeah, fishing line’s great for that.
Jessica: Which worked, it did actually work. Um, and then two days later, I’m not making this up, I’m sitting by the fire and a squirrel jumps out of this fireplace (laughs) onto the tree, makes laps around it.
Jim: Happy as can be.
Jessica: Oh, well, I don’t know. ‘Cause he did get burned I think by the fire…
Jim: Oh, no. (Laughs)
Jessica: …Then he was, yeah. Then he was happy in the tree. He’s making laps around. My husband actually, my hero husband, yanks him by the tail, pulls the tail off and the squirrel runs out the front door. (Laughs) This was the same year. So I’ve got blood and needles and, you know, ornaments everywhere. (laughs) And…
Jim: I thought you’re gonna say opened the door and the squirrel ran out, but.
Jessica: He did, but without a tail. So… (Laughs)
Jim: Are our squirrels like lizards, do they grow back? (Laughs)
Jessica: I can’t confirm that. I don’t know.
John: I’m thinking that a really unique Christmas ornament.
Jim: Yeah. (Laughs)
Jessica: Right. There you go. (Laughs) We did, my mother-in-law gave us a little squirrel once so we could remember that. But at the time it was not actually funny, really at the time-
Jim: Oh, yeah.
Jessica: -it’s stressful, I’m annoyed. I’m like this stupid tree won’t stay up. And you know, it was just to me as I look back, it’s a reminder that nothing is ever perfect, especially at the holidays. And we think there’s something wrong with us or our families if it doesn’t feel right and perfect. But I would tell you that every family has something that’s… Maybe there’s a funny thing, like the tree just won’t stay up or whether it’s like someone is sick or there’s a financial struggle, whatever. I think the enemy would have us believe that there’s something wrong with us and we can’t really celebrate Christmas well. But guess what? We celebrate Christmas because Jesus came for us-
Jim: And, and…
Jessica: -when we are weak.
John: I appreciate that so much. Jessica, but help me. So undoubtedly, this Christmas season, there’ll be some memory I’m trying to work on and it blows up-
John: -what do I do in the moment? How do I get that eternal perspective and not melt down because, um, it’s not gonna be a, a fun story to tell later?
Jessica: Right. Yes. Especially if it’s difficult. Um, I mean, I honestly just do believe that that is the gift of why Jesus came. And so you just sit down on the kitchen floor that has squirrel blood next to you (laughs) and broken ornaments and you say, “God, I feel like things aren’t going right here. I’m trying really hard, but it’s not looking right. And will you please come in and help redeem this mess and help us to make memories together, you know, in a way that’s glorifying to you.” And who knows, you may end up with a really funny story, you know-
Jim: That’s right. (Laughs)
Jessica: -or at least a meaningful one-
Jessica: -you know, at the end of it.
Jim: Well, we’re just the day before Thanksgiving. So let’s hit that one. What are some, you know, insightful Thanksgiving traditions that people can start tomorrow?
Jessica: Right? Well, here’s one we’re gonna start doing that I heard about, because I think one wonderful thing to commemorate is answered prayer. And so we don’t often think of that, but this year we… Our families had a year with a lot of answered prayer.
Jim: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jessica: And um, I heard this idea to get a vinyl white tablecloth, or I guess you could do whatever color and write down in Sharpie, you know, the year and the answer prayers of that year. And then you bring that out the next year and you read it and remember how God-
Jim: That’s a great idea.
Jessica: -answered the prayer. And then you write the next year’s. You know, ’cause like the Israelites, aren’t we so likely to forget the ways the Lord has cared for us?
Jim: Oh, very much so.
Jessica: But we should, he tells us to remember.
Jim: We’ve done that verbally. It, you know, Jean started that tradition. So, uh, you know, if my family comes over or her family comes over, we’ll go around the table and what are we thankful for? And of course now it starts with a little bit of ribbing, you know, okay, what are we thankful for? But it’s good to remember. And it’s important.
Jessica: Uh, a family that I know actually made a holiday of answered prayers and they went… In their family they had a lot of answered prayers that involve cars, (laughs) um, whether it was, you know, a wreck or getting a new one or whatever, it was a single mom, a young single mom. And so every, I think it was in May, you know, they would make a cake, put little cars on it and remember the ways that the Lord had cared for their family.
Jim: Now that…
Jessica: So what a great holiday?
John: That’s wonderful.
Jim: That’s really good. And I think maybe a right place for that single parent situation. You know, they’ve got a lot that they’ve got to do, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. How do they go about creating memories like that when it’s really them carrying the whole load?
Jessica: Yes. I mean, I wish I knew, you know, an answer to that. I think it’s a good call for all of us-
Jim: To try to do something.
Jessica: -to support those people and be the body. But yes, uh, you know, I remember, and I had heard this story for years and years and as a parent now it’s more impactful to me. My mother-in-law, uh, my father-in-law was in the Navy, and so he was fighting in the Desert Storm War. So she was essentially functioning as a single parent.
And she’s in California all by herself, three kids over Christmas, yours truly probably would have thrown a big old pity party. (Laughs) Um, but she says, “We are gonna go see some snow.” And so they get in the car and drive to wherever it is, the tram on Palm Springs or something that you can go.
Jim: Yeah (crosstalk), in high school.
Jessica: And she takes those kids up and on Christmas they see snow. And as I look back, I think what determination on her part to flip the story and not “pity me,” you know? And that’s not to say there aren’t moments where you don’t just need to have a good cry, you know, I get it. But, um, she was a wonderful example to her kids that day.
Jim: You know, Jessica, one of the stressors for this time of year is just the craziness and, you know, the load that a two parent family or a single parent family carries, you know. There’s just a lot that’s going on. There’s shopping that’s gotta get done and you’ve gotta buy gifts for not only your family, but probably some extended family. How do we, uh, remove some of that craziness and slow that down a little bit and probably concentrate on the right meaning of the whole season, which is the birth of Christ?
Jessica: Right. Yeah, we lose that. Um, I would just say, you know, to anyone listening that wants to do that, I would, again, just pray and ask the Lord, “What do you want us to do this year? What do you not want us to do?”
Jim: Is there an attitude approach though to say, “Okay, Lord, what do you want us to do? I really would like to slow us down-
Jim: -to make sure we do this.” I mean, you need some attitude adjustments too.
Jessica: Right. And it’s kind of like, whose birthday is it, right? Is it yours? (Laughs)
Jim: Right, so true.
Jessica: Or are we celebrating someone else? So I think there’s an area of surrendering and saying, we’re gonna step back as a family and say no to some things, um, that may cost me as a mom, you know? Um, but logistically a tip that has really helped me, because there just is the shopping and the nonsense of, you know, Christmas cards and all that, is I try to get all of that junk done before December 1st. And just as a side note, it actually is kind of fun because you’re like ahead of everyone else (laughs) and the crowds aren’t bad and you can, you know, um…
Jim: That’s smart.
Jim: Sounds intriguing. (laughs)
Jessica: It’s really not, trust me-
Jim: It’s less stress, yeah.
Jessica: -I kind of get a weird, yes.
Jim: Yeah, I get it.
Jessica: But so you get all that done and then December 1st you can pivot. And what matters, you know, events, invest the time in a slow, leisurely dinner and…
Jim: Yeah, it’d be more relaxed and less stressful.
Jim: That’s the point. All right. We’re wrapping up. We’re coming in for the landing. Um, we’re entering Advent Season. This is something Jean really, I’m sure Dana did too, this is what a lot of Christian moms will do the Advent Season and the Advent calendar. And how do you approach Advent Season and, and what do you do in your household that may be unique?
Jessica: Well, um, two things have helped us. One is we make, and this is kind of a horrible name for it, but a Christmas bucket list where we’ll sit down and say, what are the things that you, we would love to do as a family? And I can throw in my serious ones, but, you know, it’s funny what impacts them and things that they’ll choose. So, um, we make a list of 25 or so things and kind of just arrange it on a calendar. And that’s a great way to grow as a family, because it’s a tradition that, you know, when your kids are your age, you know, they may pick other things than mine do, (laughs) like decorating cookies with gobs of icing. But…
Jim: Don’t be surprised if they wanna do those things. (Laughs)
Jessica: Yeah, that true. Yeah, that’s true.
Jim: I love it, young at heart is good.
Jessica: Right. And the other thing that, um, I think has been most impactful to me and to our children is daily readings, and whether you work your way through the actual Bible or a children’s Bible, or there’s plenty of wonderful resources, you know, books, Advent type books. Because that’s a daily way to ground you and put you back to what matters.
Jim: Well, think of that, the tradition of reading scripture.
Jessica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly.
Jim: I mean, that’s great right there, and it’s a good discipline. Uh, Jessica, this has been really good and a lot of fun. You know, I’m always a little worried, John, we’re talking about Memory Making Mom, (laughs) and we’re both dads.
John: And we are married to memory making moms.
Jim: We are.
Jessica: Hey, there can be memory making dads, I know plenty of those.
Jim: That’s good. And that should be our goal as well. And let me turn to you our listener. I hope this has sparked some ideas for you, whether you’re a mom or a dad. And the best thing you can do is talk about these traditions and memories with your spouse and family and make a plan. Uh, here at Focus on the Family, we want to help you be the best parent you can be, and we want your relationship with your kids to be strong and thriving so you can raise up the next generation of Christ followers.
John: And we have lots of resources for you, including the book by Jessica Smart. Memory Making Mom; Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home.
Jim: And you can get that book directly through us. That money goes right back into ministry, providing hope and help to families just like yours. Uh, you know, after a challenging year like 2020, the Christmas season is more welcomed than ever.
From the pandemic, to violent rioting, to a contentious election, we all need the hope and peace that Jesus Christ came to give us. And this Christmas you can come alongside families who are still struggling, with a special holiday gift. You can give families hope through your support of Focus on the Family. When you give a gift of any amount today to the ministry, we’ll send you a copy of Jessica’s book as our way of saying thank you – thank you for standing in the gap for these families. Your support is critical so that we can finish the year strong and plan to reach even more families in the coming year. And I can’t wait to see how God will work through you and Focus on the Family in 2021.
John: And good news, that there’s a special matching gift opportunity right now. Your year end donation will be doubled dollar for dollar. And God’s gonna use your gift to bring healing and redemption to twice the families through this matching opportunity. Uh, so donate and get your copy of Memory Making Mom at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.
Jim: Jessica, happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. And I hope you have a great Christmas. And the same to all the listeners and viewers. Happy Thanksgiving and let’s look forward to a great Christmas season.
Jessica: Thank you.
John: And from our family here at Focus on the Family, we wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving and, uh, join us tomorrow. Eric Metaxas will share about a pivotal man in our Thanksgiving history.
Eric Metaxas: The story of Squanto is one of the freakiest miracles in history. It doesn’t make any sense, but then you read through it over and over and over and you go, this is what happened. Why is nobody recognizing this as a crazy miracle of God?
Guy Doud, recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award, recounts his childhood school experiences and how they helped shape his teaching career and passion for reaching kids. (Part 1 of 2)
Angela Mills offers wives practical suggestions for cultivating a thriving marriage in a discussion based on her book, Bless Your Husband: Creative Ways to Encourage and Love Your Man.
Radio producer and best-selling author Jay Payleitner offers encouragement and practical guidance for husbands to take initiative and become the kind of man their wives need most. He addresses topics like knowing your wife’s likes/dislikes, being a spiritual leader, how to avoid drifting apart, and much more.
Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.
Jonathan McKee offers parents practical advice and encouragement in a discussion based on his book If I Had a Parenting Do Over: 7 Vital Changes I’d Make.
Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.