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Fun Ways to Instill Virtues in Your Children (Part 2 of 2)

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Fun Ways to Instill Virtues in Your Children (Part 2 of 2)

Blogger and speaker Courtney DeFeo offers practical suggestions and fun ideas on how parents can make biblically-based values, love and laughter a part of everyday life in the home. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: November 24, 2015

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Blogger and speaker Courtney DeFeo offers practical suggestions and fun ideas on how parents can make biblically-based values, love and laughter a part of everyday life in the home. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: November 24, 2015

Episode Transcript



Mrs. Courtney DeFeo: It’s pretty to write those down and say, I want them to be generous kids. I want them to be kind kids, and … but most of these were all biblically based virtues. The thing that’s tough to say, okay, now how? You know, they don’t just wake up and come out patient kids. So that really struck me, as how, in the midst of feeding my kids, getting ‘em to school, putting them to bed — how do these virtues come to life? How do you bring faith to life in a way that’s not a lecture?

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Unfortunately, I can tend to do more of that “lecture” thing with my kids. Just feels so good sometimes.


John: How about you? This is Focus on the Family. That’s Courtney DeFeo, and she’s back with us, again. Uh, last time she shared that’s she’s definitely a “been there, done that” kind of mom. But she’s not afraid to reveal her mistakes as a parent. And I think you’ll benefit greatly from this conversation. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, last time we featured a great conversation with Courtney about important character traits we need to pass on to our children — things like gratitude, joy and generosity. I remember how teaching my boys to say “please” and “thank you” seemed (chuckling) like it would take forever!

John: Never again! Those were the big battles back then.

Jim: I mean thousands of reminders. Remember? Please and thank you. Right? And then, at some point, you see them, kind of at a distance in a public setting, and they use it and you’re going, “I didn’t even know they were listening all those years!”

Today we’re going to focus on a few more of those simple lessons that Courtney outlines in her great book, In This House We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life. And that’s a great title.

John: It is. And it’s just one of the many parenting resources that we have for you here at Focus on the Family. I might point out, as well, our free parenting assessment. Uh, that’s on our website. That helps you explore seven traits to help you be more effective in raising your kids. Learn more about the assessment and Courtney’s book, In This House We Will Giggle, at or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY for details.

Now, as we explained last time, Jim, I was on vacation when you recorded this with Courtney, so our good friend and former colleague, Kim Trobee, joined you in the studio. And here, now, is more from that conversation on Focus on the Family.


Jim: Let’s recap. Last time we did talk a bit about joy, and you talked about in your book the Joy Field Journal. And we didn’t get to that and if you missed the discussion last time, download it. Get the CD, whatever you need to do. Contact us here at the ministry and we’ll make sure you get that. But talk about the Joy Field Journal.

Courtney: Yeah, I think it was an exercise that my girls and I were talking and sometimes, even with boys, you can only go so far with a discussion.

Jim: Yeah. (Laughing)

Courtney: You know, so we were talking about the difference between joy and happiness and that there really is a difference. You can be happy, which is fleeting things, you know. A sunrise can make you happy or a friend at school can make you happy, but some of those things are fleeting. So, as Christians, shouldn’t we be the happiest people walking around the earth? You know, we have eternity—

Jim: Without a doubt.

Courtney: –you know, you need to probably stop freaking out is what I think, you know. We’ve got some things that are pretty secure in our world.

So, as we talk about an activity for families, I thought what if we did a field journey, just like scientists would really study people. And so, let’s just start making notes as a family and start looking. Who’s happy? You know, it’s a person at Publix doin’ our groceries. Are they happy? Or are they joyful? And how do we know the difference?

So, my girls are little. They’re 6 and 8 and so, we started drawing people in our journal and they wrote different things. “There’s sunshine.” And they wrote, “They look like sunshine.” And they started writing names of people that they thought were truly joyful and they brought up my mom, which I would totally agree with. She’s got Jesus just shining out of her pores. Then they wrote something pretty interesting. My little one, who’s 6, she put the word “you,” Y-O-U in both of the hands of the stick figure. And I said, “Why did you do that, Larson?” And they said … she said, “Because she’s thinking of others.” And I thought, whoa! How was that for a 6-year-old to say—

Jim: She’s catchin’ it.

Courtney: –yeah, a joyful person is not thinking about themselves. They’re thinking of others and so, I think that exercise is just saying, instead of just lecturing them, how do we take an activity? And it’s almost like sneaking carrots into brownies. It’s like, don’t tell them they’re about (Laughter) to get a virtue lesson.

Kim Trobee: Shh.

Jim: Don’t tell me—

Kim: No wait a minute.

Jim: –you do that.

Courtney: Yes.

Kim: I mean, did you make the field journal?

Courtney: You know, I have to look back, that’s so funny.

Jim: Whoops.

Courtney: I hope so, yeah.

Jim: It’s a good—

Courtney: Well, yeah.

Jim: –it’s a good gut check and …

Courtney: I think they put themselves—

Kim: Well, yes.

Courtney: –in there. Me, yes, I’m joyful.

Kim: I’m joyful. I know there’s gonna be a mom listening today and she just got done refereeing the greatest, you know, WWF battle—

Courtney: Right.

Kim: –between her three children and she’s listening to this broadcast and they don’t want to share. They don’t have joy. What can she do right now in this moment to bring joy back into that situation?

Courtney: Yeah, and you know, the temperaments, I think we’re gonna get there, but everybody’s got a different vibe in their home. And I have been accused of being Pollyanna. So, the first thing what I would do is a little bit different than what my sister would do, and we are just different moms. And so, I may break into a song or literally have a dance party. And I’m the queen of destruction, you know. Turn on the most ridiculous song and start dancing to distract them out of it.

Or just change the scenery. We change the scene a lot. You know, if it’s a major situation that needs to be dealt with, I don’t, you know, if they need to be disciplined, we would sit down, and they would apologize, and we would deal with it.

But if it’s something that’s like, hey, they just need to get out of the house and go run the lap or just get out and just distract them, we will do that, too. I have shocked one of my children out of tantrum with just singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” And she, ‘cause I sing terribly, she was shocked that I just started singing in the midst of her tantrum. But I think it was just so shocking that, “Mom, I’m havin’ a fit here about my socks and why are you singing?”

Jim: So, it really shut her down.

Courtney: Yeah, it shut her down, but I think (Laughter) there … it’s not always the thing. You need to handle the situations with correction, of course, but changing the scene is one of our go-to situations for sure.

Jim: And you mentioned the temperament side, because I think, you know, oftentimes as couples, married couples, opposites attract, typically. I know that isn’t always the case. What if it’s not your natural bent? What are those things you can do? Do you have to schedule it? Do you have to be that disciplined to say, “Okay, from 3 to 4, we’re gonna have joy.”

Courtney: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: “And we’re gonna do it this way.” What do you do if you’re not naturally given to bursting into a song when your kid’s throwing a tantrum? That’s not normal, by the way, Courtney.

Courtney: I know; I know. And I think–

Kim: I love it.

Courtney: –I’m so glad you brought this up, because I think the comparison game is one of the biggest problems right now in motherhood and–

Jim: How does it play out?

Courtney: –social media has only worsened our situation. It’s given us more exposure and more tools than ever before. And I’ll give you an example. My sister and I are dear friends and close, but we could not be more different. She has two boys; I have two girls. And she would rather have about two friends and two things to do in a day and be quiet and not do much in a day. I’ll have 90 things to do and 90 friends.

And so, what she does with my book and my ideas is she goes through patience. Or maybe she’s lookin’ at generosity. She uses it as a resource. If she needs an idea or inspiration, she will look at it as she needs it, but she is not using it as a handbook, and she will not pick it up and do 100 ideas. She may try one. And she thinks about her boys, her plate, her giftings and she’s just mature in her faith and is not getting rocked and she doesn’t stay on social media. I’m so proud of her.

Jim: Well, and that’s part of it. Maybe there’s not a one-size-fits-all.

Courtney: Right.

Jim: You’re trying to give people tools to accommodate or to customize, so that they can use them in your home. For those that didn’t hear last time, talk about the structure of the book and what a person can expect. What … how do you link the observation and then the idea or the exercise to help your child better understand the attribute? Just pick one.

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely, let’s pick patience for example. In the first part of the chapter, you’ll hear about why patience is just an important virtue. And why that’s somethin’ you might consider as a family for something that you instill for your children. And why that could be a focus for even just pick one month out of the year that your family might focus on that.

And then the second half of the chapter just gets really practical. How you could teach that in your home that month. So, we provide a definition, a kid-friendly definition, which would be “waiting with a happy heart.” And then there’s a verse to go with that, so your kids can memorize that, or you can keep referencing a verse to go with that.

Jim: And again, you concentrate on that for an entire month.

Courtney: Yeah, yeah, so you’re not rushed, ‘cause I think even as parents and I go back to when they were little, we want to teach them to, don’t throw food off the highchair. And say please and thank you. And don’t forget to put your laundry in the thing. We teach them 50 things at once, when they need to learn one or two things at a time. So, if we can really focus and not overwhelm ourselves as parents, and just focus on one thing in the month.

Jim: The hard part about that and I get that, is do you just let those other things go then until another time comes around?

Courtney: Yeah, I think we just don’t make them all a major deal, like (Laughter) pick your battles, you know. If we’re harping, everything’s major and they’re—

Jim: Ouch.

Courtney: –feeling they’re beat down, you know. Think about us, if our parents were constantly e-mailing us saying, “Hey, I heard you on Focus on the Family today and you talked too fast and you missed that beat and I wish you wouldn’t have said that,” you know, I would be like, “Dad, did I do anything right? Did I say something encouraging?”

You know, so I think as parents, we just have to think about even us and our insecurities, like is there something we’re doing well? Is there something we could just say, hey, these are gonna fall in the encouragement category? We’re gonna keep affirming them in these sides and then we’re gonna … these are the two or three major deals.

Jim: You know, Courtney, it strikes me what you’re talkin’ about is the utter attitude of the Lord toward us.

Courtney: Oh, yeah.

Jim: I mean, the difference between the Pharisee saying all those things—

Courtney: Uh-hm.

Jim: –you know, the legalistic religious people saying, “Hey, you’re not doin’ that right; you’re not doin’ this right.” And the Lord’s saying, “Just come and love Me—

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: –as I love you.”

Courtney: Yeah and I think about our homes and you think about your own homes. Was it a house of fear, or was it a house of joy and love? And it wasn’t perfect. My house wasn’t perfect, but I remember what my mom did and how she lived out Christ for me and not all the lectures. I remember her being generous. I remember how she invited people into our home. I remember how she handled my mistakes and the same with my dad. And so, as I think about even the home, that we all run back to my parents’ house now for vacation, ‘cause we just feel like we belong there.

And so, as I think about my girls, I know they might be … they might do their own thing in college, too like I did. And embarrass me like I embarrassed my parents. But it’s okay, you know, it’s … they’re gonna make mistakes and so, I don’t want them striving to be good Christian kids that make that author mom proud and do everything just perfect. (Laughter) You know, I want them at the end of the day having a real relationship with God and I want them having joy and I want them feeling like they belong in our walls and they can walk in no matter what they’re dealing with.

Jim: And it’s really well-said. Let’s finish the patience side of this though.

Courtney: Sure.

Jim: You brought it up. Let’s talk about it. Every mom and dad wants their son or daughter to be patient and usually (Chuckling) we lose our patience in teaching them how to be patient. Talk about that activity level that you get to in the book and … and what would be some examples of how to—

Courtney: Well, I am—

Jim: –how to do patience particularly.

Courtney: –I come to you as an expert.

Jim: Yeah. (Laughter)

Courtney: I am one of the most (Laughter) impatient people in the planet.

Jim: I love it.

Courtney: Yes! Thank you! (Laughing) So, one of the things that we do is a simple one, but we time our littlest one with our iPhones and just say, how long literally can you sit here and not talk? So, just the old timer is like, thank you.

Jim: And how well does that work?

Courtney: She started, it was like 12 seconds and (Laughter) she’s worked up to like two minutes, like don’t …

Jim: That’s pretty good.

Kim: You really have to do that sometimes—

Courtney and Jim: Yeah.

Kim: –because they can just literally talk all day long, you know.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: We had it last night. Trent for some reason, wanted to bug Troy, so during a game Troy was watching on television, Trent just started yapping and he wouldn’t stop. It was getting so irritating. I was saying, “Trent, stop it.” And he goes, “Well, I’m just havin’ fun with hm.” And Troy’s going, “Dad, get him out of the room.”

Courtney: Yeah. (Laughter)

Jim: So, it’s just this like, what are you … what are we teaching each other here?

Courtney: Absolutely.

Jim: How to get frustrated, one of the wonderful fruits of the Spirit—frustrating your brother.

Courtney: Yes, absolutely. Well, for patience, the activity is again, more geared to little ones, but the application of so many of these is we are raising eventually adults. You know, I want my kids to not only be patient for a cookie, but eventually, they’re gonna wait on a spouse and they’re gonna wait on a job and they’re gonna wait on their house to sell, like I’m so impatient about my house.

So, eventually, they’re gonna say, “Okay, Lord, I trust that You have something better coming and I’m willing to wait.” And so, these are just profound virtues that we’re practicing as little ones and that … and so, the idea in activity is that you give them something in a brown bag that they can’t see, but you’re gonna say, “If you’ll trust me, this is better for later, but right now you could eat this candy. So, which one are you gonna choose, A, the candy or wait for tomorrow and get the better reward?”

And they … my kids both chose the bag. You know, they were pretty smart and said, “Okay, we’ll do the bag. In the night—

Jim: Now you wouldn’t trick them on purpose, would you?

Courtney: –no, no. So, the next …

Kim: What was in the bag? That would’ve been my question; what’s in the bag?

Courtney: Okay, because I don’t cook, bake or anything it was, you know, box brownies. Some people would do somethin’ else, but you know, but we did some box brownies and I say, and they were so fired up, ‘cause I don’t ever get in the kitchen. So, they’re like, “We’re makin’ brownies?” So, they were so excited to get in the kitchen with me and they made brownies.

Jim: Stir some water in that. (Laughter)

Courtney: Yes, stir, yes, stir in, second, egg; that was like shocking for my family. So, it’s just the idea that again, we don’t tell them what we’re doing. We’re about to have a family lesson on patience. Like, “Hey, come here, girls. I have a little trick for you, a little game.” And they loved it and they get it. And so, it’s over time, we keep practicing and talking about these virtues in a way that’s not a lecture. It’s more like laughter and more an experience.

Kim: Hm, that is so good.

Jim: You’re listening to Focus on the Family. Today our guest is Courtney DeFeo and her book, In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life. These are great not only tips, but really in-depth ideas on how to teach these wonderful and godly qualities to your children. Courtney let’s talk about keeping a faith journal, which I think is great. I don’t do it. I need to.

Courtney: Yes.

Jim: I keep it in my head, which is—

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: –not the place to keep anything. (Laughter) We’ll just leave it at that. But the idea of writing down what God has done in your life and in people’s lives around you. Is that what you do?

Courtney: Yeah, this is the idea that came up for the Faith Check. And my brother is a pastor in Atlanta and he and I have great conversations and he’s my kid brother, nine years younger and I promise you, he’s wiser than all of us combined in our family.

But he was saying, “I just want my kids’ bedtime stories to become faith tales. You know, why can’t ‘And they lived happily ever after’ be stories of how God actually worked in the lives of our family members [and] become so intriguing to our kids that that’s what we put them to bed with?”

And so, he said, “I want them to know Noah and Moses and Ruth and all the stories of the Bible, but I also want them to know that one-time Pop had a hard time and he prayed and here’s where God showed up. And one time, Aunt Courtney had a dream to write a book and she did it and here’s where God showed up.”

And so, he said, “What if we start capturing those for our kids and they had a record of that. And so, I thought, that is the idea, Drew. Because faith, our definition is knowing, loving and following Jesus. And so, if I want that to become real and so, that when they doubt, ‘cause it’s not “if,” when they doubt that Jesus is real, they can come back and say, “I have evidence, not only in this book that’s 2,000 years old, but in a book about my family members.” And so, we can also talk about if you’re new to faith; that can be a challenge, but you can start right there.

Jim: Oh, sure.

Kim: Absolutely. You know, you talk a lot, too about leaving a spiritual legacy and someone might be listening out there today and you just mentioned, maybe they’re a new Christian or maybe they just haven’t thought about the good things that God has done for them. Talk a little bit about what you mean by leaving a spiritual legacy for your home.

Courtney: Yeah. My heart goes to folks that are new to faith, because I think, I think I forget, you know, what a blessing it is to have parents and grandparents and generations of people that just knew God and have that in the part of the fabric of our family. I’ve never known anything different than God being in our lives.

And so, for folks that this is a new topic, and this is new for your kids, it can be overwhelming to say, “How do I pass on what I don’t even know to my children?” And I think you just start. And I think you start asking God, how do I do this?” And you can be one second ahead of your children and learn something new at church and just get ‘em in the car and say, “Guess what I heard this morning and I want to share it with you.” And say, “Hey, let’s pray together and let’s see what happens.” And so, you are teaching your kids every day as you’re growin’ in your own faith.

Jim: And that is a brilliant way to do it. I think unfortunately, sometimes the parents that are more structured don’t comprehend that, that can actually be achieved by the other parent who may be doing it on the go.

Courtney: Yeah. (Laughter) That’s right.

Jim: Now I’m not speaking from personal experience. (Laughter)

Courtney: What?

Jim: But you know, one of the things I enjoy is driving the boys to school, which is early now and about 7 o’clock we take off and in that drive time, which is about 20 minutes for us, there is so much you can cover. You know, the other night I saw you get angry about something. Can you tell me more about that? Why would that upset you the way it has?

But it really … it’s a reminder to do intentional parenting. Don’t let this time just slip on by, thinking the kids are somehow gonna grab those things you want to teach them, but you’re not asking them about it.

Courtney: Yes, absolutely.

Jim: And … and there’s a value in that for the parent who wants the structure and the devotional time around the dinner table. Don’t’ be too hard on your … on your mate, on your spouse…

Courtney: Oh, yeah.

Jim: …who is finding a different way to communicate.

Courtney: Absolutely.

Jim: In fact, if both are working, it’s actually, I think, a benefit to the child, for them to have it coming at them in both directions. Something structured, something unstructured, is beautiful, especially if they’re willing to participate in both.

Courtney: Amen. I think Ron’s gift that is so beautiful is listening. And I am the one that’s constantly making a teachable moment, where they’re like running for the hills. Oh, here’s she comes. (Laughter) What are we gonna have to do now?

Jim: Write in a diary.

Kim: It’s like, look, she’s got a brown bag.

Courtney: Yeah, we’re just gonna get ice cream and now there’s some sort of lesson coming out of the ice cream scoops here. So, I think, you know, every parent brings their gift and one of the best things we can do is be quiet. And just ask ‘em about their day and listen and ask them what they think about a topic and maybe not even insert an opinion and just listen to ‘em.

And so, I think if those parents are new to faith, just start askin’ ‘em questions and just start even invitin’, takin’ ‘em to church and inviting other influences into their life, because if you don’t know all the answers, guess what? I don’t either. (Laughter) And I am beggin’ people to come help me get on board, ‘cause it’s gonna take an army to raise these two loved ones and in my house.

So, listen more and I think it’s true of even how we serve. We will often, the Christian culture, we want to go in a fix and do and teach and tell people what we know, when we just need to be humble and serve and say, “How can we help your community?” We need to listen more than we lecture.

Jim: Let me ask you about the idea of responsibility. That’s one of the other virtues in your book, the twelve (Laughter). And you know, you start at a young age and you start with them doing some chores and then they get older. Now our kids, all three of us are at different stages. Kim, your boys are grown and gone. Mine are teenagers. Yours are still little ones.

Courtney: Uh-hm.

Jim: My goodness, we’re doin’ responsibility training from zero to 30, you know. (Laughter)

Courtney: Right, right.

Kim: Yes.

Jim: Why is it such a hard concept for these little ones and they grow into bigger ones, to learn responsibility? What have we done wrong that they’re not gettin’ it?

Courtney: Well, I may need to ask you, because here I have … I’ve discovered a problem in my home. So, we just moved, as you know and I had someone come help me do some organizing and moving and as she pulled out everything of my closet, I discovered I have a lot of systems…


Courtney: … that I started, and I have zilch-o execution. She’d say, “What are these jars?” And I go, “Well, that was … that was this chore thing that I started and anyway, we can give that away.”

Jim: Empty jars.

Courtney: And yeah, yeah. And then she pulled out another one. I’m like, “Well, that has got responsibili … well, yeah, we can donate that.” And so, I just realized that man, I have a problem with moving on to the next cool thing on Pinterest and I probably created half of ‘em and they’re, you know, on my site of just great ideas. And the problem I feel like is that we … it is hard to execute. It is hard to stay on the kids and make them do work that they don’t want to do, ‘cause work is work, and it’s not easy.

But we’re doin’ a favor to them. We’re doin’ a favor to their wives and their husbands, for goodness sakes, when we say, and you actually have to learn to do laundry and put your food away. You know, there’s things that you’re gonna have to learn to do and it builds up their esteem actually to feel like they’re capable of doing something in the world.

So, my problem and I’m not an expert–mine are little—is that I needed to just pick something. You know, there’s not a trick system out there. There’s gonna be … have to be one just like weight loss. It’s like, pick one. You know, eat less and exercise, but pick it and stick with it. One of them will work if we’re consistent.

And I know for me and my house, it’s easier to be… just do it myself. I’m like, I’ll make their bed in two seconds, but they take all day. I’m like, are we still doin’ the chores?

Kim: Yeah, yeah.

Courtney: Why are they still in there makin’ their bed?

Jim: Oh, man.

Courtney: So, and I think we do ‘em a great disservice if we keep doin’ their work for them.

Jim: Yeah.

Kim: Well, speaking as a mother-in-law, you just need to get really good at telling your daughter-in-law, “I’m sorry. I tried.” (Laughter)

Jim: I’m sorry.

Kim: I worked really hard.

Jim: My bad, my bad.

Kim: Right, right, right.

Jim: Well, and Jean’s really good with that. I mean, I’m constantly throwin’ wrappers away in the kitchen—

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: –that are left on the counter and she’ll say, “You’re just enabling.”

Courtney: That’s right.

Jim: But you’re an enabler.

Courtney: I heard this—

Jim: I say, “No, I’m a—

Courtney: –term—

Jim: –’getter-doner.’”

Courtney: –oh, yeah.

Jim: So, then we have the battle between the enabler and the getter-doner.

Courtney: I heard the term “lawnmower parent” the other day–

Jim: I know.

Courtney: –because that’s …

Jim: What’s this?

Kim: No.

Courtney: Okay, well, it was a helicopter parent for a while and now they said, the lawnmower parent is the one that just keeps smoothing things out for their kids.

Kim: Ooh.

Jim: Oh, that’s too bad.

Courtney: I thought that … I’m a lawnmower parent, I think, ‘cause I do want it to be smooth and my mom is so great. She made our lives really easy. My mom was fantastic, and I see that in me. It’s like, hey, I want them to have their snacks ready and I want to put it in their backpack, because I want to get out quickly in the morning. And it’s like, but they should be able to know how to pack a lunch. And so, in me is the parent that wants a smooth easy life for my kids. But the best thing I could probably do for them is say, “Hey, this is how you pick a vegetable. And here’s how you pick a fruit and here’s how to pick a healthy choice for your lunch,” but man, it’s easy; just grab it. (Laughter)

Jim: Well—

Courtney: So, I struggle—

Jim: –it’s true.

Courtney: –too, yes.

Jim: We were cleanin’ the basement the other day and I remember Jean said to the boys, “Have you cleaned everything up?” And then we do inspection. (Laughter)

Kim: There’s a real problem—

Jim: Yeah.

Kim: –with semantics in that.

Jim: Correct.

Kim: Have you cleaned everything up?

Jim: And then right by this overflowing toy box happened to be some dirty clothes and some wrappers. There’s a theme here. There was wrappers [sic].

Courtney: Yes, yes.

Jim: And so, Jean pulls ‘em out and the boys quickly are goin’, “That’s not my wrapper; it’s his wrapper.” (Laughter)

Courtney: The accuser.

Jim: The accuser and you know, nobody knew whose wrapper it truly was. We got through the clothes okay, but it’s that kind of thing with responsibility that you’re constantly fighting. And I thought to myself, maybe what we should do is, just all of our trash at the end of the day, we should throw into the boys’ room.

Courtney: Yeah, yeah. (Laughter)

Jim: And maybe they’ll get the lesson.

Courtney: That’s right.

Kim: There you go.

Jim: But you know, the sad truth of it is, they’d probably go, “That’s all right with me; I don’t care.” (Laughter)

Kim: My word.

Courtney: Yes, they have to feel some consequences at some level for sure. But do we have time to talk about financial responsibility.

Jim: Sure, let’s do it.

Courtney: Yeah, the activity in that chapter is about give, save, live. It’s how do we teach them early on that there’s implications to their financial responsibility, because the big lesson for me was the Target dollar section. Every time we would walk through there it was my crutch. Like just get something. If you’ll just be quiet for an hour, you can just grab something. So, every time it became an expectation. They just thought, well, we get something every time we walk in there.

Jim: And if you didn’t get it, you get louder.

Courtney: Right and so—

Jim: Right.

Courtney: –I thought, I am setting up a terrible system here. And so, then I started thinking, they’ve gotta understand that money is just not growin’ on trees, you know. Did your grandmother say that? And so, we set up the jars and based on, you know, Dave Ramsey and Andy Stanley, everybody said it, “give, save, live” or “give, save, spend.” And so, we did My Little Money Jars and we created these jars and I sold ‘em for a little while, but now there’s a system how you can just make ‘em.

And so, now they label them and what I love is, that when you put a chalkboard label on there, they’re … they get invested. It’s like they get to say where do they want to give. They get to say what they’re saving for and they get to write on there what they’re spending.

And so, all of a sudden, they’re like, “I want an iPod.” And so, it can help them decide. Or “I’m saving for a bike” or … and so, now their spending section says, “Target Dollar.” And I’m like, “Well, go look in your jar. If you’ve got money to spend, you grab it, but I’m not buyin’ you the stuff anymore.”

Jim: Right.

Courtney: And so, then this “give discussion.” We had this greatest talk the other day. I drew a circle and I showed them 10 percent and 10 percent and the rest is spend. And I said, “Dad and I are tryin’ to change the pie chart.” And I explained to them, “So, what if we got bigger in our give? What if we got bigger in our save and we just lived on less and we kept changing this?” And talked to them about what the Bible says. And their eyeballs just got bigger and we put pennies and quarters in there and so, I think that discussion for them as early as you can is so helpful for them to understand how money works and how responsibility can work with their money.

Jim: And these are such good things to think about as you’re parenting your children, so that they end up ready to launch.

Courtney: Yes, exactly.

Jim: That’s what we’re talkin’ about.

Courtney: Yes.

Jim: How do they leave the home with patience, with kindness, with a responsibility and knowing what it means. Your book really covers all of it and I’m so grateful to you. We’re gonna start and probably as long as your kids are in the home, no matter what their ages, you can apply these principles to your teenagers, as well as your 3-, 4- or 5-year-olds, right?

Courtney: Absolutely.

Jim: And Courtney DeFeo, her book again, In This House, We Will Giggle. I love that, by the way. Thanks for bein’ with us.

Courtney: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.


John: What a great conversation with our guest these past couple of days. And we’ve got audio copies and the book available at our website.

Jim: Courtney has such a winsome message for parents, and she offers a great reminder about maintaining a solid relationship with your children through the good days and the challenging ones, too.

I hope you were encouraged by what you’ve heard these last 2 days. And if you were, let me invite you to help us spread the word to many other families who need godly advice and encouragement like this for their own families. At Focus on the Family [we] depend[s] upon the generosity of friends like you want to help families grow and thrive. If you’ve supported us in the past, let me say thank you for doing that. But if we’ve never heard from you, or it’s been a while, we really need your financial help today. Let’s reach more people with the message of the gospel through the instrument of the family. Tens of thousands of parents contact us each and every year for that biblically based wisdom we share on this broadcast and through the other resources. But imagine how many more families we could reach together. I want to invite you to be a part of the solution to today’s needs in the family.

John: And you can do that best by praying for us and then donate, as you can, at Or call 800-, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And if you’re able to make a generous donation of any amount today to this ministry, please allow us to say thank you by sending a complimentary copy of In This House We Will Giggle. We hope your whole family will be encouraged by this wonderful book.

And be sure to learn online about our brand new “Average Boy” podcast, which is a wonderful mix of entertainment and faith-building fun. It’s designed for kids, boys in particular, and the parents to enjoy together. And it aligns quite closely with what we’ve talked about today. More details at the website.

Well, coming up next time – the secret to feeling in love again with your spouse.


Rhonda Stoppe: …just do it. Just wake up every day and think on whatever’s good, right, honorable and praiseworthy about your spouse and then asking your – the Lord, “Give me the love for him. Rekindle those things. Remind me of those things.”

End of Teaser

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