Ken Blanchard: How many of you think you’re a leader? Let’s think about who impacted your life the most. You know, just think about that for a minute. Who was it you mentioned? You mentioned your mother or your father, uncle, grandparents and all. What we gotta recognize is, is that we’re all leaders.
End of Recap
John Fuller: That’s a reminder from a man who’s a leader himself. He’s a business consultant and uh … an author and a speaker. He’s helped millions see their leadership potential. And he’s with us today on Focus on the Family, to help you understand your leadership role at home.
This is Focus on the Family with Focus president, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and we have some great friends back with us today, Jim, talking about the idea of leading our family in Christ.
Jim Daly: John, I really enjoyed the conversation we had last time with Ken Blanchard and his co-authors, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer. Uh … leadership is not just found in business or in church. You know, sometimes we … we think that only the top few percent become leaders. And I love what he said there. We’re all leaders, hopefully in some way. It may be with our kids in our home and that’s a good thing. It takes good leadership to run a home. And they’ve written a great book, John, Lead Your Family Like Jesus. The subtitle is, Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families. I love that and it’s published by FOF and for that reason, we can send a copy to you when you support FOF with a donation of any size to help us here at Focus help those families that need us.
John: Hm. And we can tell you more when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY or you can donate online at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio .
Jim: Ken, Phil and Tricia, it is great to have you back.
Ken Blanchard: Oh, it’s great to be here.
Tricia Goyer: Great being here.
Phil Hodges: Good to be here.
Jim: Ken, I want to start with you again today. Uh … you mentioned last time the family mission statement and that’s something Jean and I have tried to do. I’d say ours are more like family principles than a mission statement, where we have 10 or 12 things that we try to live by. I guess the question is, do we accomplish it always? Probably not, but that’s important to have that goal. Talk about the importance of having a family mission statement.
Ken: Yeah, I mean, what do you … what do you really want to accomplish? What business is your family in, you know, and so …
Jim: What would that look like? Give me an example.
Ken: Well, we … we felt that our mission to our family was to be a … a loving place where everybody really felt that they were cherished and loved and all, but one that helped all of us become more than just our family, but be contributors uh … to the community and to … to others and all. And so, that we wanted to create kids who really wanted to make a difference uh … out there. And so, we wanted to be a loving family, but also one that … that gave back. Uh … and that was a constant reminder of us of what business we were in of … we were in the loving, serving business.
Ken: Uh … and uh … that really helps to have a … of that image. Great companies have a clear sense of what business they’re in. One of our problems in our country today is, we don’t know what business we’re in anymore–
Ken: –you know, and we don’t certainly have any agreed-upon values.
Jim: Or we don’t–
Ken: And that …
Jim: –live out the–
Jim: –motto or the mission statement.
Ken: Yeah. And … and if you don’t have anything to serve, what’s the only thing you can serve? It’s yourself. And so, it’s so important, you know, when you talk about servant leadership, that it begins with vision, mission, values and all. And that’s one of the problems we have in Washington. We just don’t have a sense of where we’re going anymore.
Tricia: There’s a great activity, too, in the book that we have about discovering your family’s label. And one fun thing to do with kids is, to get out a big piece of poster board. Go to the cupboard first and look at maybe the ketchup bottle, the corn, see how things are labeled fresh and crunchy and organic and think about, what is your family all about.
Jim: A label for–
Tricia: A label for–
Jim: –your family.
Tricia: –your family.
Jim: That’s interesting.
Tricia: And pick maybe three or four things that … things that you will remember. And I think, you know, 12 is a great thing. But sometimes you forget – “Now what were those 12 things?” And so, for our family, we did this with our teens and we came up with three, which is service, evangelism and hospitality. And that really … we love serving at church. We have um … done children’s church for 15 years as a family. Our kids … we dress them up as Bible characters and we act out skits together.
Jim: Now did they enjoy that?
Tricia: They loved that. And you know what? They know the Bible, because they have acted out the Bible. They could tell you the … the um … bitter water was the pool of Marah, that Moses had, ‘cause they … they acted it out.
Uh … evangelism, I work with teen mom support groups and we’ve had our whole family there. My daughter was babysitting. My son was the doorman, you know, getting them involved. And then hospitality, we … they know that anytime they could say, “Mom, put some extra beans in the pot or–
Tricia: –extra spaghetti on. And that has really helped our family, like this is what we’ve … we are about. So, with that poster board, any family could say, what are three or four things that would be our label? Some are great musicians and they really feel that they’re called to glorify the Lord in music. Some are you know, mission minded. They travel overseas on mission trips. So, really think about what is your family about, just three or four things and make that your label.
Jim: That’s a great … I’m gonna do that; that’s a great idea. Uh … I’ve got some creative kids. I think they’ll come up with some … they’ll probably say, “salty, spicy.”
Jim: “Too much MSG,” I don’t know. (Laughter) But Phil, let me ask you this question. You address it in the book, Lead Your Family Like Jesus. This is the million-dollar question I think as a parent and that is, how do you teach your children to obey God? I … every parent would say, yeah, but answer that one, Phil.
Phil: Okay, in five seconds. One of the things that it came about, looking at the issue of obedience, which if you look in the Bible, every time Jesus talks about it, it’s His love language. He says, “If you love Me, you will obey Me. Obey my…” And what does the word mean and what… is it different from a lot of ways in which it’s used? Obedience is more than compliance. And a lot of times we end up with, if I can just have the kids behave in public, no matter what it costs me, no matter how I have to bribe them, no matter if there were threats, I’ve done a good job, because nobody knows what’s going on. But obedience, if you get into it, is really wanting to do that which we’re required to do because of the one who asks you.
Phil: And that’s building a relationship with God, but it first comes with the relationship with parents. But when you’re trying to get into a spiritual side with people, that carrot and stick stuff doesn’t work. And what we end up with is continually trying to bribe or to threaten our kids into doing something. And they may be able to comply, but when they grow up and they leave the home, they’ll end up with a, “What’s in it for me?” attitude, as opposed to, “What does this mean to others?”
Jim: Hm. How do you get that attitude uh … growing, Ken? How–
Jim: –do you–
Ken: –well, you–
Jim: –foster that–
Ken: –you have to do that–
Jim: –better attitude?
Ken: –Jim, you have to be careful that you want to move from external need for praise and feeling good to eventually, internal, so that the … the kids start to own it themselves. And so, in the beginning when they do things that … that are consistent with where you want ‘em to head, you praise ‘em. But after a while, you’re startin’ to say, “Well, how’d that make you feel?”
Jim: So you–
Ken: You try–
Jim: –put it on them.
Ken: –try to draw it out of them, because yeah, I think that you know, some people are forced to go to church and they go there and all. And boy, they get out of high school and they’re out of there, because it hasn’t really been something that … that has been grown in them, you know. And so, you have to move from external control to eventually, you know, internal, so that it, it really is there. It’s a movement over time uh…really, with your kids, because the important thing about being a leader as a parent in any kind of area is not what happens when you’re there, it’s what happens when you’re not there.
Ken: And so, you have to, over time, prepare them so that they can really, uh … you know, own it themselves, you know.
Jim: Well and so often what … I think so often we’re missing the point as Christian parents because we’re not seeing that our goal is to get them ready when they walk out the door.
Ken: That’s right, yeah.
Jim: And what we’re seeing and you know, others have done research like Barna’s research on the fact that so many Christian kids walk away from the faith when they leave the home. They go to college and it becomes party city. There seems to be no boundary for them, because they haven’t been taught how to discern and how to uh … behave in that environment.
Um … but it is a bit of risk taking. Uh … I know an example just the other night with Trent. They wanted to watch uh … one of the Superhero movies. It had a little bit of language in it; I knew that. But they didn’t want to do it on ClearPlay, which is what we normally do, ‘cause it will cut out certain scenes like you know, the scenes of battle and things and they wanted to see that stuff.
And so, I simply said, “Why wouldn’t you want to do it?” Because of the language and things, why wouldn’t you want to have those scenes cut out? “Do you want to hear those things. And so, I’ll leave it to you to decide.” Now that was risky.
Jim: But I … I purposely did that, because I wanted to see how he would respond. And to his credit, and it doesn’t always work out this way, folks, you know. I’m using the right analogy here, but to his credit, he put it on. He put the ClearPlay on. And I didn’t know it. I came back down 10 minutes later. I said, “How are you watchin’ this?” He said, “Oh, Dad, we … we put the ClearPlay on, ‘cause we didn’t want to hear that stuff.” But that’s the right thing.
Jim: You want them to make that decision, not the carrot and stick.
Ken: Well, Phil got interested in, you know, the … God doesn’t, you know, make any mistakes, so why did He make Jesus a carpenter, you know? And so, when you really think about it and talking to carpenters, you know, how do you become a good carpenter? Well, you go from novice through uh … you know, apprentice, to journeyman to master teacher, which is over time and see … and that’s what you really want with your kids.
Maybe in the beginning in their faith, they’re novices, you know. And they need direction from the teacher and all that. But if you’re always telling them what to do and supervising them and all, you’re not moving them over time so that they can become good at them, themselves. And that’s one of the things we really got interested in, is how do you move uh … people over time, so that they really do that?
And a lot of it is getting your own ego out of the way, you know. I get a kick out of, you know, a teenager will stand up at breakfast. “I’m sick and tired of the way you run things out of here. I’m outta here and I wish I didn’t have to come back,” you know. And most parents will run to the door and what will they say? “Who do you think you’re talking to young man? You get back here.” You know, like you’re questioning my position.
Ken: Where if you’re in a servant heart, you would go to the door and say, “Son, obviously, you’re upset and it looks like I might be one of the reasons. Is there a chance we could talk when you get back?” Their whole body language will change, you know, because now you’re … it’s just not about control. What Phil’s saying, it’s obedience; it’s not about control. It’s about a relationship.
Jim: Doing the right thing. In fact, Ken, you mentioned a story about your son in college
Ken: Yeah, uh-hm.
Jim: I think he was at Cornell.
Jim: Take us through that, because parenting doesn’t stop at 18 or 19 when they leave for college.
Ken: No, not at all.
Jim: What happened with you and your son in his fraternity issues.
Ken: Well, he got overly enthusiastic about the social life, you know. And (Chuckling) he … he got asked to take a semester or two off, you know.
Jim: By the school.
Ken: Yeah, by the school. And so, when he came home, you know, Margie and I said, “Scott, we want to talk to you.” And we took him into the bedroom and we gave him a one-minute reprimand, ‘cause you know, a reprimand is when people can do better, you know. You know that there’s not … they’re not learners.
And we said, “Scott, you know, you’re obviously being asked to leave school now and … and it really, you know upsets us, and you know, and frustrates us, son. And we want [you] to know the reason we’re upset is ‘cause you’re better than that. And uh … we want to do anything to help you get back on … on line, but just want you to know that, that’s unacceptable. And … but we love you.” And we said, “That’s the last time we’ll talk about it this vacation.” And … and we gave him a big hug and all that kind of thing and … and uh … so, he knew where we were, rather than just keep on beating him up, saying, you know, “How could you be so stupid?” and all that. You know, when it’s over, it’s over. Uh … he knew where we felt [sic] about that and …
Jim: Ken, can I have you paint a picture. Uh … a variety of parents are listening. You have the parent that’s using the hard methodology, carrot and stick, as you said, Phil. They’re the ones that, you know, if we don’t do this, it’s negligence. So, we’re on ‘em hard and we’re runnin’ ‘em down and we’re, you know, tellin’ ‘em right from wrong as long as they live under our roof. There’s that parenting position.
Then there’s the other one. This is more grace-based. Uh … but speak to that parent that may be blowing it today. They’re losing the relationship with that 13-year-old, that 14-year-old. They know it. You can feel it. You know that it’s slipping. What should they do right now?
Ken: The first thing that people I think need to do is to admit that they’ve made a mistake.
Jim: The parent.
Ken: I want to tell you, it will absolutely blow your kid’s mind for you to say, “I … I want to talk,” you know. “I think I’ve been handling you completely wrong and I’ve been bullying you and all that. And I just want to tell you that I … I feel awful about it and I hope you’ll forgive me. And I’d like to start again. Let’s just work this over.” The kids will go, “Whoa,” you know.
Jim: Isn’t that something, the capacity in the heart of a human being for forgiveness?
Jim: It’s quite extraordinary.
Jim: Tricia, have you had that experience with your kids? Have you had a situation where–
Tricia: Oh, absolutely.
Jim: –you’ve had to say, “I’m sorry?”
Tricia: Absolutely. And you know, even with the 2-year-old, there’ll be times I’ll be so frustrated and “Mommy’s trying to get this done right now.” And just stop and say, “Wait, what’s more important?” And bending down to her little eye level and say, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry Mommy was grumpy.” You know, and then when she’s grumpy later, I can say, “Remember how Mommy said she was sorry when she was grumpy? Now you need to say sorry to Mommy, ca … (Laughter) ‘cause you’re grumpy.” But I think again, it goes back to being a leader and–
Jim: And you’re modeling it.
Tricia: –and we’re modeling it.
Jim: Yeah. I think so often in the church today, what we’re missing is the fact that Christ was a servant leader and talked all the time about servant leadership. Um … but when you look at, particularly in the United States and we air around the world, but when I look at the United States and how we’re developing our kids, we are at times, I think developing our kids in a very self-centered way, so the world is more about me. It’s not about you.
Tricia: I think one of the things we do is, we want obedience without relationship. We want them to obey us, but we don’t have that foundation and relationship. And there’s so many times John and I had to go back and saying, we’re just demanding a lot and we’re not giving a lot of ourselves to our kids. And you know, during that sea … another season when we were trying to focus on what … where do we spend our time? You know, there’s a gazillion things you could do with your kids, a gazillion activities. Um … we really stood and … and said, there’s … we want our kids to walk out of here with a good relationship with us and with each other. And we focused on three things. We focused on dinner times together. We focused on church service that we were gonna join–
Jim: Service to others.
Tricia: –with our kids. Service to others at church, you know, going to church; serving in church together. And we focused on reading together as a family–
Tricia: –or listening to Adventures in Odyssey (Laughing). We did that, too.
Jim: Oh, we like that plug.
Tricia: Yes, but … but we focused, ‘cause those are relationship things. I think sometimes the hardest thing for us women and that goes back to our ego, is letting dad have a say. Um … we are there all day with the kids. We’re managing them, disciplining them and then dad comes in. But you know, I think I’ve really grown in my relationship with God, and with John, when I let him lead.
Jim: Now does … that requires what my observation would be, that would require you to relax a little, especially like–
Tricia: Relax a little.
Jim: –if … if John said, “I’m gonna make dinner.” And it ends up being beans and wieners (Laughter)–
Jim: –you gotta be okay with that.
Jim: It’s not gonna be nutritionally broccoli and … maybe.
Tricia: Right, well you …
Jim: Was that … is that an example?
Tricia: Absolutely. You … it’s especially hard for me, because I was a single mom. I had Cory before I met John. And there’s a lot of blended families, a lot of single moms out there and then all of a sudden, we marry this man who wants to be a dad, too. And we … I thought that’s what I wanted, but … but (Laughing) then again, he starts comin’ in and makin’ decisions.
But you know, so many times, even on a spiritual level, I thought, I’m the one reading all the devotional books. I have praise worship goin’ on. I think we need to do devotions this way. I think … you know, I tried to input everything and I remember one time, just God speaking to my spirit. “You don’t make a very good Holy Spirit to your husband.” And it was like, stepping back, praying about it, instead of just nagging John in certain areas where I thought he should be leading. Stepping back and just praying about it and John stepped forward.
We started reading the Bible. Maybe it wasn’t the plan or the way that I thought, but we started reading the Bible together. We pray together in the morning now. But it definitely took me stepping back and saying, “Okay, God, you speak to his heart.” And not always saying, “Oh, that’s not a good idea. I think we should do things this way.” And I think–
Tricia: –as women, we want to do that.
Jim: I think a lot of Christian homes … we’re touching on a very sensitive issue, ‘cause I’m sure there’s many disagreements and arguments around this topic right here; the spiritual training of our kids and how come you’re not involved the way I think you should be (Chuckling) involved?
Tricia: Right, absolutely.
Jim: I mean, there are lots of arguments that go on in homes today because of this, right?
Tricia: Absolutely. And you know, and I … I do think it goes back to the … you know, looking back at the Holy Family. And um … Mary pondered those things in her heart. Um … it doesn’t say Mary nagged Joseph. Now she might’ve (Laughing) done a little bit about that, but God called her to certain things and called Joseph to certain things. And she pondered those things in her heart.
And you know, sometimes there might be a little vacuum there for a while, but we just have to trust that God will speak to our husband’s heart, put resources into his hands and that he will step forward and make a decision. We won’t know unless we step back.
Tricia: And that’s the thing. I didn’t know that John would step forward until I was willing to step back.
Jim: And ultimately, that’s a step of faith.
Tricia: Uh-hm, it’s … absolutely.
Jim: You’re listening to “FOF.” I’m Jim Daly, along with John Fuller. We’re talking today with Dr. Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer about their book, Lead Your Family Like Jesus, which just seems like an impossibility. Uh … one of the things for me, it’s been a very natural thing as a father. I want to get home. I want to be with the kids. But there are days when I’m tired and I don’t want to wrestle with ‘em and do whatever they want me to do. But I try to rise above that. But is that something that … where does a father find that? I just feel like it’s natural for me, but I do know friends that struggle with that. They’d rather stay a little later at work, stay till 7, get home to the table, maybe have some dinner conversation, Tricia, like you said. But dads particularly, we can get very isolated in our families.
Phil: Yeah, we can get isolated in a variety of ways in all our relationships when our ego gets involved with our positions and all of the other kinds of things that we can end up … I don’t want to make this too high, but these are the idols of our lives.
Phil: My son has a … a … a … a neat way to think about the difference between … he has four young kids. And his big transition is coming from “big world” into “little world–”
Phil: –and understanding that what happens in little world, which is the world of the stopped-up toilets and the homework that’s not done. It’s the world in which he’s irreplaceable. In big world, he can be replaced and probably will be at some time. But it’s in little world that God has given us our primary responsibility as men and our greatest leadership opportunity.
Jim: But if we don’t keep our ego in check, uh … our appetite is for big world, because accolades come.
Jim: Little world doesn’t give us much on the surface, but gives us so much at the roots.
Phil: And … and getting understanding what is success and in … and who’s choosing to define it. One thing that happened with that story I told about Jesus at the temple. And when He was obedient to His parents. And this is what it said. And he returned with them to Nazareth and He grew in four things. He grew in wisdom, stature in the eyes of God and man, and if you wanted to say, “What’s the perfect uh … application of what the family’s about with children, is that they might grow spiritually, intellectually, physically and in skills, and in character and relationships.
Phil: And it’s that which great success is in building up the next generation.
Jim: That’s well-said. Uh … as we end, spiritual habits. In the book, Lead Your Family Like Jesus, you mentioned five key spiritual habits. Let’s touch on those and we’ll post those, John, on the website.
Jim: Uh … tell us what they are, Ken.
Ken: Well, the first one is solitude. So often, people don’t take any time to enter their day slowly, to spend time. And Jesus was classic with solitude, you know. He went off by Himself after He was baptized–40 days. Try 40 days of solitude.
Ken: Uh … and after He found out that John the Baptist had been killed, I think probably he had to deal with grief and he went off by Himself after uh … you know, He fed the crowd of thousands, you know, probably to deal with pride, ‘cause they wanted to make Him king. And He periodically, you know, when … one of our favorites is uh … He’s healing one day and the disciples get excited. This could really be good business, you know.
Jim: Right. (Chuckling)
Ken: And so, the next day, the crowds are gonna be there, but it says in the Bible, early the next morning, Jesus went off to a solitary place to pray. And the disciples, when they woke up, they’re runnin’ around; where is He, you know. And they finally find Him and say, “Come and go.” They’re all waiting for You.” Now did He care about those people? Absolutely. There’s nobody more caring, but even good things can get you off focus.
He said, “No, let’s go to the next village, so I can preach, for that is why I have come.” And uh … so solitude and prayer was His second one that goes right with it. And then the third is, I laughed when the first time, you know, I was late in my life for reading the Bible, when Satan tempted Him, He could’ve said, “Uh, get out of here. I’m No. 2 at best.” What’d He do? He gave him Scripture, you know. So, we need Scriptures. We need to read the Bible. We need to have Bible verses we can use and all.
Ken: He also had a small group that He could be more vulnerable with. He had John and James and Peter. Do you have a small group that … that–
Ken: –knows you well and accountability and all. And then, finally the one a lot of people didn’t think would be a habit, but I think it’s probably the most important one. He trusted the unconditional love of His Father.
Ken: And uh … I think that’s the really key one, don’t you think, Phil and Tricia?
Phil: Well, especially when we’re dealing with Leading Like Jesus, because lead like … like Jesus came um … from love with love for love. Leading like Jesus is love-based leadership. And it’s in that which we get from the Father, through Christ, that we can pass on. And if you don’t have the love component, all of these other things can be something else. They can be manipulation, exploitation and what have you.
But that, as Jesus showed us, and what He calls us to do, is to be loving in the fact that we are loved. And it’s the … you can’t give what you haven’t got. And really understanding and accepting that we’re loved unconditionally. It’s a powerful, but also a tough thing to do, ‘cause we want to add things, our own performance, our own activities. But that’s what it is about him, is to bring that powerful word into every relationship and into the choices we’re making with our kids.
Jim: Uh… don’t you think, and I’d ask you if this is a fair statement because I think, as I look at it, and I did the book, ReFocus, when you, when you look at it love is the weapon that God has that the enemy cannot compete with. And it is what the human heart is engineered to respond to. Uh… God designed us and he knows. It’s kind of like the X Factor. It’s what God can uh… tap us for. It’s that love. But a lot of people in the church, particularly, they find that uh… maybe effeminate. It’s more about power. But that’s not it, is it? The power in this world is not uh… in power. It’s in the love of God.
Phil: Yeah. I mean the mightiest word is love. It’s the one that transcends all others. In… in, you know, in an eternal economy. And also, it’s the one that casts out the largest weapon that satan has against us, which is fear.
Phil: And it’s in our ego and our fears that we end up grasping for things that don’t work and don’t last.
Phil: When it’s in love that Christ taught us, Christ’s example for us, that we can build the next generation.
Jim: In confidence.
Phil: In confidence.
Jim: Not in fear.
Phil: Not… and, and in humility. Humility’s a great word because it says “I can’t do it all.” And you know what? God says I never designed you to do it that way, anyway. Be with Me.