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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Identifying Your Strengths as a Parent

Identifying Your Strengths as a Parent

Brandon and Analyn Miller believe that the focus on fixing your weaknesses is a waste of time. Instead embrace your strengths as a parent, which will energize you and help you find creative ways to overcome weaknesses.
Original Air Date: November 10, 2022

Preview:

John Fuller: I’m John Fuller, and this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Today, we’ll examine the important role of parenting. And Jim, I’m wondering if you have, let’s call it an ideal picture of what a perfect parent can look like. I mean, the mom who, when the child comes home from school, pulls the, the fresh-baked cookies out of the oven. And, by the way, my mom did that sometimes for me when I was growing up.

End of Preview

Jim Daly: That’s awesome.

John: It was.

Jim: Man, that’s incredible. How great that is. Come home to warm cookies.

John: It’s a good memory.

Jim: I should’ve done that for the boys. I think Jean did that from time to time. Yeah, I’m thinking about the dad who’s standing in the yard with a, a mitt and a ball. “Let’s play catch.” I did do that. Did you do some of that?

John: I, uh, I absolutely encouraged that.

Jim: (laughs).

John: I think for my last son we, we played football. We p- played catch so much, I’ve, I hurt my arm and-

Jim: (laughs). The same-

John: … for the rest of my life.

Jim: … the same problem I had.

John: (laughs).

Jim: I realized, man, I’m old.

John: (laughs).

Jim: What am I trying to do here?

John: Yes.

Jim: Uh, man, it’s so much fun, though, to engage, and we all want to be that perfect parent who never yells or gets, uh, aggravated.

John: Or want to be-

Jim: Don’t we want to be that parent?

John: Want to be, yeah.

Jim: Uh, but I’m sure many moms and dads, uh, wish the job of parenting was a lot easier. I mean, I heard someone recently say, “No one’s ever ready to be a parent.” And that’s so true.

John: That’s true.

Jim: Y- there is no formula, and I really want to stress that, because I think so often, especially in the Christian households, we think if we do A and B we get C. And guess what? That’s what the Lord thought, too, with Adam and Eve. (laughs).

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: There’s something called free will-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and it, it gets in there. And they have choices to make, and they have little temperaments and personalities.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So, you know, it doesn’t always go perfectly. It is predictive. That’s the good news. You can do things that are predictive of outcomes. But there is no guarantee, so buckle up. Uh, there are some principles, like I’m saying. We’re gonna cover some of those principles today that will help you in your parenting journey.

John: Yeah. We have Brandon and Analyn Miller with us. Uh, they’re back. They have been here before. They’re authors and speakers. They specialize in coaching moms and dads in what they call strength-based parenting. And they have seven children of their own. Four grandchildren. And the Millers have written a book that we’ll, uh, hear more about today. It’s called Incredible Parent: Discover Your Parenting Strengths and Raise Your Kids with Confidence.

Contact us for your copy. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Brandon and Analyn, welcome back.

Analyn Miller: Hi. Thank you, Jim.

Jim: So, so good to have you, yeah. I love your laugh. I do.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: It’s so good.

Analyn: I work hard-

Jim: No, it’s okay.

Analyn: I, I’m a little bit free with my laughter.

Jim: (laughs).

Analyn: I like to have fun.

Jim: Hey, you know what? A joyful heart is good.

Analyn: Yes.

Jim: And it’s fun. Especially talking about the parenting role.

Analyn: Yes.

Jim: I think a lot of moms and dads aren’t laughing, and that’s not good.

Analyn: That’s true.

Jim: Right? It’s so true. Hey, last time we were together we discussed how to identify the strengths in your children and maximize those-

Analyn: Yes.

Jim: … which I think is great. Hey, here’s the, here’s a, a news bulletin. Not everybody is strong in everything. Not even us as parents.

Analyn: Newsflash.

Jim: Yes.

John: This is true.

Jim: So, you know, for us to identify-

Analyn: Yes.

Jim: … those things in our, in our children is a good help to them as well. Uh, what prompted you to write about parenting strengths in this new book?

Brandon Miller: When we thought about parents and the challenge that we all have to aspire to be whatever version of the best parent we come up with, uh, many of us, and we found this feedback coming after our first book, find ourselves comparing to other parents.

Jim: Really? (laughs).

Brandon: And feel like we’re missing the mark. Why can’t I be more like that dad? Why don’t I look like that mom? Why aren’t my kids as well-behaved as those kids over there? And we felt that there was an opportunity to share with parents a way to recognize their God-given strengths, and to find that they do, in fact, by, by God, have these strengths that can help them be the best parent they can be for those kids that they’ve been granted.

Jim: Well, and so you’ve written a book. What are some of the weaknesses that you had in your parenting journey? (laughs).

Analyn: Oh.

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah, right out of the gate I’ll say-

Jim: Yeah, let’s go.

Brandon: Every strength-

Analyn: Let’s go. (laughs).

Brandon: … yeah. Every, every strength has its correlating weakness. And so I, I’m the structure, boundary, hard conversation parent between us. Um, but that taken in excess can become harsh. Authoritarian. It can become too much. And so I’ve learned that, though I have a really good pathway to help guide my kids in the tough conversations that are required in the home, I have learned the correlating weakness.

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: If I just look at not enough strength, um, I definitely am not the calming influence in the house. (laughs).

Analyn: Yes.

Jim: Oh, it’s got to be Analyn.

Analyn: So… yes.

Jim: Yeah.

Analyn: It’s me. That’s actually one that we… I-it’s like l- where is it on your list? I want to say it’s… yeah.

Brandon: The bottom. Yeah.

Analyn: It’s the bottom of his.

Brandon: Glad you pointed that out. Yeah. That’s, uh, a-

Jim: (laughs).

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: That’s really funny.

Analyn: Did I say the bottom? Okay, yeah.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: That’s really funny.

Analyn: So stability, And yes, that is the calming influence in the home. I don’t get ruffled easily. When something arises, I tend to close my mouth and think it through, and kind of analyze before I move to any action. Whereas he’s quick to say something, you know-

Jim: Okay.

Analyn: … and start to dive into whatever situation.

Jim: I-it’s funny. I think you, you two are opposite Jean and I. She’s more the kind of cop, boundary person. I’m more the, okay, there’s relationship. It’s kind of funny.

Analyn: It is.

Jim: So that doesn’t always go with gender in that way.

Analyn: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah, which is really interesting. You know, for most married couples, you do marry someone who’s opposite of your skill set, typically.

Analyn: Right. Yeah.

Jim: So that is something to tap into in your parenting.

Analyn: Yeah. N- we learned how to lean on each other, so now I respect-

Jim: Now, in what way? (laughs).

Analyn: Well-

Jim: Lean in a good way or lean on.

Analyn: Lean in a good… (laughs).

Brandon: Yeah. Right, right.

Analyn: I guess it could be both. Uh-

Brandon: That’s a yes and yes.

Analyn: Let’s just go with the good.

Brandon: (laughs).

Analyn: Let’s go with the good for th- for this.

Jim: Yeah. Let’s stick with the good side of that.

Analyn: We’ll stick with the good. I did learn to lean on him, knowing, okay, you are definitely going to be able to have this 30-minute conversation. Instill some policies or whatnot and stick to it. Whereas I knew that, just because of… I-I would, I would agree with him, I just wasn’t as good at, at following through, sometimes.

Brandon: And where she picks it up is when it comes to the organization in our home.

Jim: Oh, interesting.

Brandon: When it comes to putting together, let’s say we’re gonna go on a trip. Analyn is prepared two weeks in advance.

Analyn: I am.

Brandon: And everyone is packed and everything is in order-

Jim: Wow.

Brandon: … and the itinerary is set.

Analyn: We don’t forget hardly anything.

Jim: That’s impressive.

Brandon: And I have no interest at all. I’m packing the day before. I’m, you know, rolling out the door, and that became a really good understanding-

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: … of, oh, that’s why you prefer the house that way.

Analyn: We used to argue about it. We used to argue about it.

Brandon: That’s why you organize the, the, the holidays just that way. And it, it really helped to counterbalance each other in that regard.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so good.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You identify two important questions, um, that every child’s asking.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What are they, and why are they important?

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: Well, number one, “Do you love me?”

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: And I think every parent is going to spend their lifetime trying to answer that one to their kids.

Jim: Yeah. You probably never totally satisfy that answer I would think, And it’s good to repeat it all the time.

Analyn: Yeah. Yeah.

Brandon: Yeah.

Jim: I love you because.

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: And I, and I think because we are that place in our child’s life, and, you know, with adult kids-

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: … even in that place where we’re reinforcing value or reinforcing their, uh, their sense of self that, you’re okay. I see you.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: You can, you can do this.

Analyn: Encouragement. Mm-hmm.

Brandon: And, and being that place that, that we’re always answering that. But the second one’s fun, because it is, “Will you let me do anything I want to do?”

Jim: (laughs). Those are the two extremes.

Brandon: Yeah. And so when you, when you think about that question, from the moment we bring a child home, uh, that question is loud and clear (laughs). Uh, they’re gonna want what they want when they want it. And it, and it intensifies with age, because we, we have found with our kids, I think we said this the last time we were with you-

Analyn: (laughs).

Brandon: … um, we were five for five on our kids losing their minds at 15.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: Okay, good.

Brandon: 15 is our magic age. In fact we just celebrated a 15th birthday-

Analyn: And we’re bracing ourselves, right?

Brandon: … and, no, I’m holding hope.

Analyn: He’s my perfect child. (laughs)

Brandon: I’m holding-

Jim: This’ll be the breaker of the string.

Brandon: I’m hope-

Analyn: (laughs).

Brandon: … this is the one that’s gonna do it. Although I, I am setting myself up for reality. (laughs). But,  but in, even in that space, what they’re essentially telling us is, “I want to be independent.”

Analyn: Right.

Brandon: “I want to do what I want to do.” And as parents, if we answer the first one yes in, in our love and kindness and compassion, then the second one has to be no, with the same love and kindness and compassion.

Analyn: Because we love you, we can’t let you.

Brandon: Because I love you.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: That’s so good, yeah. It’s s- it is a balance, isn’t it?

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You love them so much-

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and then, then you struggle between the two of you, like Jean and I’m sure John, you and Dena do that, too, you know? Okay, it’s, is it the rules, the policy, or is it gonna be, “Try harder next time.”

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “I love you.”

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: (laughs).

Analyn: Exactly.

Jim: Hey, so for those who didn’t hear or see the previous program, uh, what are the recaps that come to mind about strength-based parenting and how it works?

Brandon: So when a parent thinks about playing to their strengths and the strengths of their kids, we’re spending more time thinking about what’s right with our kids than what’s wrong with them. And essentially the aggregate of time is, I can build on the natural momentum of my child by playing to the areas where I identify… We call it eyes shining. Where we can see that spark. We can see that place where that, that starts to take shape and we can invest there. It doesn’t mean we ignore the liabilities, the areas that need to be built up. It just means we’re spending more of our time, space, and energy there.

And so strengths-based parenting really takes shape when we start to make that a part of our ongoing household development philosophy. That, uh, when we go back to the report card scenario that we talked about in our first program, we’re looking at, well, where did they shine? Where were they standout?

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: Where’s the excellence, as opposed to just dragging them through, “Why a C in math?” Let’s spend all our time focused on the C in math, and, um, I don’t think any of us, if we recall that, enjoyed that season. This just says, “Let’s, let’s just build on the As. We’ll manage the Cs. We’ll get to those.”

Jim: That’s so funny, because what those children will remember when they’re adults is the discussion about the C.

Brandon: Right.

Jim: Oh, my dad was so hard on me-

Analyn: For sure.

Jim: … when I got a C one time in algebra, right? That’s what it goes to, not the A I got in geometry.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Something like that.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s so, so true, and so good as a reminder. Hey, let me go, let me go to the parenting strengths.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: You identified 12.

Analyn: Sure.

Jim: And, uh, share of few of those and explain how we recognize those strengths.

Brandon: Sure. So the, the one we were just talking about, my number one is Trainer. And so this is the, the teacher, the person who trains p-

Jim: And this is your gifting, right?

Brandon: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Right? You’re a trainer.

Brandon: Yeah. This is what I do. And so seeing that come up number one for me was validating. It was encouraging.

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: I thought, okay, well, that definitely matches up to who I am and how I function in the home. My second one was Inspiration. And this is, this is the coach in me. This is the motivator. This is the person that I enjoy getting people moving in a positive direction. And when I think about everything we do with our seven kids, or every experience we’ve had extra-curricular, whether, uh, our years being youth pastors or years, you know, coaching sports, whatever it was, that inspiration parent, um, is such a cool strength to watch.

A third one I’ll mention, and this is fun, it’s Zest. And zest, if you just think of that joyful parent that loves adventure. Loves to play. Turns everything into some sort of game. Analyn and I both share this in our top strengths. And so-

Analyn: We do.

Jim: Well, that’s good, so you don’t frustrate one another with that.

Analyn: No. We’re all about the fun.

Jim: That can be frustrating to the other parent. (laughs).

Analyn: It definitely can.

Jim: You know, you know somebody that gets frustrated in that situation?

Jim: Yeah. No, not at all.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: But I can definitely relate to zest. I think it’s fun.

Analyn: (laughs).

Brandon: And that’s, and that’s really-

Jim: Just go, go all in.

Brandon: It’s, to us, parenting is the grand adventure.

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: And we’re just saying that you, you get the first kid and you don’t know what you’re doing. And you think you get it figured out, and then the second one comes, you go, “You just broke my thing.” (laughs). Like-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs).

Brandon: … like, “Everything that worked doesn’t work on you.” And so it’s, zest is that space of, “But I can’t wait to try again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: We watched this with our daughter-in-law. Our son and daughter-in-law have three boys under five.

Jim: Oh, wow.

Brandon: And it’s so fun watching Christine with her three boys, and the, and the third one she just was telling us the other day, “He’s so different than the first two.”

Jim: Yeah. (laughs).

Brandon: “So different how he, how he rests and how he engages.” And she’s like, “And he’s the first one that said ‘Momma’ first, so I think I like him the best.” (laughs).

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: Yeah, yeah. That’s all good.

Brandon: But, but just that enjoyment, that looking forward to that life-giving flow. So those are three of the strengths that we uncovered. There’s 12 total.

Jim: Analyn, are, do you have different strengths?

Analyn: I do. So as Brandon mentioned, Organizer tends to be a top one for me, and I was just gonna read something out of the book. And it says, “Organizer parents thrive in effective systems and excel at managing highly-efficient households.” And so for Brandon and I… What? What’s so funny?

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: No, I’m laughing at highly efficient household.

Jim: I would think this works well together-

Brandon: It does.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: … ’cause your, you like process and rules. And you like organization. That actually complements each other, I think.

Analyn: It does. (laughs).

Jim: So you got the big idea on how to keep the family moving in the right direction. You’re gonna come up with the steps.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, I can see that.

Analyn: It makes me happy. I love it.

Brandon: Oh, and it’s, it’s such a beautiful complement, because Analyn will, uh, plan a party every month for every holiday that you didn’t know existed. And so it’s, it’s still-

Jim: Yeah. National Hot Dog Day.

Brandon: … whatever it is.

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: I mean, you should see our-

Analyn: I can make a party out of-

Brandon: … uh, you know, most people have a shed in their backyard filled with garden tools and such. I have one filled with house décor for all of the holidays-

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Brandon: … that we celebrate.

Jim: Good for you.

Brandon: Because we don’t mess around, because Analyn organizes so well-

Analyn: Fourth of July’s coming.

Brandon: … and I’ve just learned how to appreciate and step away.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: How’d you get it out of the garage? That’s my question. (laughs).

Brandon: Well, because we overflowed-

Analyn: I ha- I had to get storage.

Brandon: … we overflowed from the garage.

Analyn: Storage, I had to get.

Jim: That’s good. That’s what I need to know. Get it out of the garage, fast. Anyway, that’s good.

Analyn: That was the deal we made.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and our guests today are Analyn and Brandon Miller. And they’ve written a terrific little book. It’s called Incredible Parent: Discover Your Parenting Strengths and Raise Your Kids with Confidence. We have that book here at the ministry. Call us. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Tell us a-about a time, and these are all good. Maybe we could post these at the website.

Analyn: Absolutely.

Jim: People could go take a, self-identify.

Brandon: Mm-hmm.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, but these can clash.

Analyn: Of course.

Jim: H-how have your strengths clashed between the two of you?

Analyn: (laughs). Ah, we-

Jim: Yeah, who’s gonna go first here?

Analyn: Yes. We have clashed.

Brandon: Mm-hmm.

Analyn: So I will say this. Um, Brandon’s trainer strength being top of this list, he is definitely one that wants to have the deep conversations. And when I say deep, he could talk for an hour-

John: Mmm.

Analyn: … with a kid, you know? And I’m, I’m always the one looking, going, “Is he done?” And then there’s part of me that goes, “Should I save my kid?” And so sometimes I’ll walk in and go, “Hey, hey, honey, are you thirsty? You want something to eat?”

Jim: Need a break? (laughs).

Brandon: That’s usually the clue that I’ve exceeded the time.

Analyn: And so, and so it’s his clue-

Jim: Yeah, okay.

Analyn: … like, maybe we’ve exhausted the conversation. Let’s give him a break. Um, I used to get frustrated. I used to think, “He’s only eight. He can only, you know, retain so much right now.” And I, you know, so I would get frustrated. He would explain to me what the conversation was about, and I’d think, “Oh, my goodness, that’s wonderful.”

John: Mm-hm.

Analyn: You know? And so when we learned about that about each other, I became… I don’t know, would you say… Now, now I actually defer to you-

Brandon: Hmm.

Analyn: … in a, in conversations.

Jim: No, that’s good-

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: … and it’s maturing as a couple-

Analyn: Sure.

Jim: … so it’s not irritating.

Analyn: Correct.

Jim: Yeah, that’s a big development, I think.

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: We actually found that of our, of our… So there’s 12 strengths, and when you look at the list, the six up top are the ones that seem-

Analyn: We call them your super six.

Brandon: … to be the ones you most-

Jim: Kind of most dominant.

Brandon: Yeah. Y-you lean into those most. You seem to just naturally pick those up. Of our six, four of them are the same. And so we actually have more similarities than differences.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: The differences we do have, it was literally we solved some longstanding challenges between us.

Analyn: Yes. 20-year-old arguments resolved when we took this assessment.

Jim: Oh, do tell. What did that look like?

Analyn: Do tell.

Brandon: Well, I think, I think going back to what she was just saying about being the organizer, and, and my appreciation now for why her structure in the household setting is so important to her. Where at times, just as she was saying about my trainer, I would say, “Hey, relax.”

Analyn: Yeah. I would get the “Relax”, a lot.

Brandon: We could, we can plan for the vacation a week ahead of time. We don’t need to do it a month. But to her, that was her system of order.

Jim: Sure.

Brandon: And, and, and when you think of seven children-

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: … it was chaos.

Analyn: I didn’t like, I didn’t like hurrying at the last minute-

Jim: Yeah.

Analyn: … so I had this-

Jim: Little plan.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Let’s make a plan.

Brandon: And so I think that that allowed us both to, to step back and respect the process that each of us brought.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: And, and then showing our children how mom and dad could support each other’s differences-

Analyn: Yes. That was huge.

Brandon: … and build up in that way.

Analyn: That was huge.

Jim: And I think the older you get, hopefully it’s true, the older you get, the longer you’re married, the more you understand one another-

Analyn: Sure.

Jim: … and can kind of exhale a little bit. You don’t have to straighten each other out.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Just go with it.

Analyn: Exactly.

Jim: As long as it’s not harmful, obviously.

Analyn: Exactly.

Jim: We’re just talking about styles. Uh, you encourage moms and dads to think about their parenting brand. And I’m thinking, “Oh, that’s an interesting… What would be your parenting brand?” (laughs).

John: I, I’d have to think about it.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs). And, uh, you know, most of us want a positive brand, I guess I would say it that way. H-how do we apply parenting brand to parenting?

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What does it look… What are, what are your adjectives, is probably the right way to ask it.

Brandon: Yeah, so most of us, when we think of our brand, it’s the values that we convey most often, and we think of the 80/20 rule. So our values can be something that we, 80% is actualized. We can live up to 80% of that. And 20% is aspirational, we’re aiming for that. So in our home, the things that we repeat most often do give insights into what we value the most.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: What we’ve tried to do is to make that clear in our message. And clear when we’ve living up to it, and clear when we’re not. Because a quote that we like is that “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re NOT in the room.”

Jim: Right.

Brandon: And so it’s how your children remember you.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: And when we wrote our first book, we had to, we had to send it to our older kids-

Jim: Uh-huh.

Brandon: … because they were adults and they had to sign off on anything we wrote about them.

Analyn: They literally had to sign a waiver.

Brandon: Any story, every story had to be written and, you know-

Analyn: Yes.

Brandon: … signed off. And it was so good to have them tell us, “Okay.” Especially our, our oldest son, ’cause he’s, he’s a jokester. He’s like, “All right. I see that you kind of did it. I’ll, I’ll sign off.”

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: Like, “You guys actually did that.” Because he was remembering when we weren’t strengths-based parents.

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: He was remembering when grace wasn’t-

Jim: And he was the first one.

Brandon: Oh, well, being the oldest son, he got, he got the lumps, right?

Jim: Yeah. He got them.

Brandon: He, he took the lumps. So for him to be able to look back and go, “You did live up to that.” And so when we think about our values that connect with, with our strengths, you know, one of our values is, take responsibility or ownership for your actions or what you say or, you, what you do. And so we seek to live up to that. So when we’re not communicating in a way that we have said, “This is how we want…,” that we’re, we’re comfortable, or compelled to go back and acknowledge that.

Analyn: Right.

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: To say, “That wasn’t how I want to convey my sentiment to you.” ‘Cause as it, you know, going back to the Trainer, I can, at times, elevate my voice. I can, at times, express myself in a way that I don’t prefer to in retrospect. But my brand would tell me, “Well, I just violated my own value.”

John: Mmm.

Brandon: So now I get to go back and acknowledge this and try to move forward in, in a right standing.

Jim: Mmm.

John: I like the way you said that. “Elevate my voice.” I think a lot of us would call that yelling.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: (laughs).

Brandon: That was the nice way to phrase that. (laughs).

Jim: That was the Christian way to say it.

John: (laughs).

Analyn: Right, isn’t it?

Brandon: Yes.

Jim: That’s funny. Hey, um, I love this. You describe how parents can get into the grind zone. I think I know what the grind zone is, but what is the definition of the grind zone?

Brandon: Doing the dishes. Chang-changing diapers. Uh, just doing the stuff.

Analyn: I think it’s just that schedule, right?

Brandon: Pulling weeds, you know. Just the things that you have to do.

Analyn: You just carpool, yeah.

Brandon: Yeah. I just picked the general ones. But the grind can be, for you, that which does not feed your strengths. So grind can be for, uh, our friend-

Jim: So it’s draining.

Brandon: Yeah. Our friend Ryan.

Analyn: Yes.

Brandon: Rya-

Analyn: Yes.

Brandon: Ryan is a, a number 12 Organizer. And he would say, if you asked Ryan to get his kids to school on time five out of five days in a week, he might hit two. Maybe. Because for Ryan, getting things on time and out the door and structured is just not who he is. Very high with stability and sensitivity. He’s the most amazing, caring, in-tune father. He’s great guy.

Analyn: Incredible.

Brandon: But, but that, and, and he would tell you, grinds him. So what he’s learned to do is learn how to bring in reinforcements. Help him, help him out of that grind.

Jim: Especially weeding day. I would definitely bring the army. (laughs). I hate weeding.

Brandon: I just had, I just had a dad tell me that, we were talking about Father’s Day, and he said, “The best Father’s Day gift I get is I organize all of my kids. I have a list of chores.” His kids are all adults.

Jim: (laughs) Oh, wow.

Brandon: “And they come over and they help me do yard work. And they know that that’s the day that dad gets to recruit all his troops back to the house.”

Jim: I thought that was called forced labor.

Analyn: (laughs).

John: (laughs).

Brandon: And apparently when they’re adults it’s not anymore.

Analyn: Yes. (laughs).

Jim: That’s amazing. Hey, all right, you guys-

Analyn: If they do it by choice.

Jim: … come to my house and pick my weeds.

Analyn: (laughs).

Jim: I’m, I’m gonna try that on Trent and Troy.

Analyn: That’s brilliant.

Brandon: I, I was so impressed when I heard it.

Analyn: That, that’s pretty brilliant.

Jim: In your book, you also say that these strengths can be misused, uh. Share a couple of those examples where you misuse a strength. Is that really where you’re, you’re being a little deceptive or manipulative? What, how do you misuse a strength?

Analyn: You know, uh, one… Okay, so this is a great analogy. When you think of a superhero, there’s always a villain. That villain has strengths, too, they just don’t use it for the good of others, right?

Jim: Mmm.

Analyn: And so when we say, you know, you’re using it out of, you know, your, your strength zone and it’s actually working against you. It’s when you get into that place where you’re not thinking about others. You’re not being considerate. Um, it is not something you’re doing that’s building somebody up. And so-

Jim: Well, that’s interesting. So more self-focused.

Analyn: So more self-focused.

Jim: What do you think of when you look at an example?

Brandon: So we’re both very high on the strength of Fortitude.

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: So we’re, we’re, we’re business owners. We’re very gritty. We’re hard workers. And there are times where we look at our children and we’re, we’re pushing them beyond where they’re willing to go on their own.

Analyn: Right.

Brandon: And we have found that, that, that push-pull, or that lead versus, you know, uh, you… manipulate’s not a bad word-

Analyn: (laughs).

Brandon: … because there’s times-

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: … if we’re being clear-

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: … that we want it more than they do.

Analyn: Right.

Brandon: And there’s times as fortitude parents we’ve had to realize, ooh, we’re pushing too hard.

Analyn: We’ve had to step back. Yes.

Brandon: We’re, we’re pushing too hard on something that this child is not ready for. We have an 18-year-old right now at home.

Analyn: Gonna say, he just pushed me back and said, “Whoa. Analyn.”

Brandon: Yeah. We have an 18-year-old at home and-

Analyn: “Pull back the reins.”

Brandon: … she’s evaluating life choices now, right? She’s looking at college, she’s looking at career. And what we’ve had to realize as fortitude parents is, we need to let her sort this out.

Jim: Hmm.

Analyn: Right.

Brandon: We can offer choices. We can give sound advice. But now she’s at a stage where she gets to pick, and that can be hard for fortitude parents. ‘Cause we want to map the course. We want to, we want to move her where we want her, and this particular one-

Analyn: It’s really hard.

Brandon: … is-

Jim: I was gonna say fortitude sounds a bit like control. (laughs).

Brandon: It can be in, in… in excess.

Jim: Okay, good.

Brandon: Absolutely. In excess. In, in-

John: That’s the point. That’s the weakness of it.

Brandon: … yeah. In its right measure, I-I’m, I’m longsuffering. I’m with you. I’m willing to, to go long and hard to help you get where you’re going, ’cause, you know, our commitment to the kid is, “We’ll… we’ll not give up on you. Whatever you choose we’re gonna support you.”

Jim: Right.

Brandon: “We’ll be here.”

Analyn: Mm-hmm.

Brandon: “And, and we’ll move through the challenges that life are gonna present, and here you go. Make your play.”

Jim: That’s good.

Analyn: So parents strong in the fortitude strength are hardworking, resilient, gritty, strong-willed, goal-driven, persevering, dependable, always looking to challenge themselves and others and are involved, uh, people who make a difference, and they’re strong finishers. So we both tend to really gravitate towards that. However, like I said, it can also be something to where we have to allow people, our children, to create the path and then allow them to let us into their lives to help in that path.

John: Mmm..

Analyn: Right? It’s a different situation when they become adults.

Jim: Yeah, where they’re making the decisions.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: And may or may not ask for your advice.

Analyn: And may or may not.

Jim: Hopefully they will.

Analyn: And so in our book we also talk about, with that strength, how you parent your children, your teens, your young adults.

Jim: Yeah.

Analyn: And so it gets real-

Jim: Yeah, that’s really good.

John: Age-appropriate responses, yeah.

Analyn: … age-appropriate responses, because it’s gonna be different with every stage.

Jim: You know, this has flown by. We’re right at the end, so I’ll, I’ll-

Analyn: Okay.

Jim: … save this question.

Analyn: Sure.

Jim: But in John 15, Jesus describes how he’s the vine and we’re the branches. How do, how do you apply that to parenting?

Analyn: Mmm.

Brandon: I think a parent that is a, a Christian parent recognizes that I cannot do this-

Analyn: Yes.

Brandon: … outside of my connection to the Vine. That I, I am leading these kids, uh, as a steward.

Jim: Mmm. That’s true.

Brandon: Because ultimately, Father is, is their parent and I’m, and I’m doing that. Well, which one of us can pull that off?

Jim: Yeah.

Brandon: And so that connection… We’ve just learned, and, and I touched this on fortitude, is there’s times when we’re pressing, it’s because we’re moving at our own will.

Analyn: Right.

Brandon: Not stepping back and saying, “Okay, Father. We can’t see the picture.”

Analyn: Your will be done Lord, yes.

Brandon: We can’t, we can’t see the field.

Jim: We usually wait to say that at the end, you know, when we’re frustrated, out, out of control.

Brandon: Exactly.

Jim: “Lord, Your will be done ’cause I’ve been trying mine. It’s not working.”

John: Yeah. (laughs).

Jim: Right? So-

Brandon: Yes.

Analyn: Let’s say it in the beginning.

Brandon: No, and it’s exactly-

Analyn: It’s true.

Brandon: … it, it’s a, it’s a fresh lesson we’ve both been learning about-

Analyn: Yeah.

Brandon: … about striving versus sitting.

Analyn: Yes.

Brandon: Learning how to, learning how to rest in the Lord. Learning how to receive and then operate out of that versus just engaging, and that’s been a good, good growth journey for both of us.

John: Mm-hmm.

Analyn: Yeah, and being connected, uh, we realized that, you know, all of our strengths come from Him, and He created us all uniquely. We all have giftings, right, in the body.

John: Mm-hmm.

Analyn: Why don’t we take this and use it in our own families. You know, the body of our family. Let’s all appropriately bring the giftings we have, the strengths that we have, to build each other up.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, Brandon and Analyn, uh, you’ve done a really good job. I mean, keeping it simple, like you said.

Analyn: Yeah.

Jim: Thank you for that-

Analyn: You’re welcome.

Jim: … with the process guy next to you. (laughs).

Analyn: Yep. I’m like, nope.

Jim: Instead of 460 pages, it’s a simple 100-page.

Analyn: Exactly. Right.

Jim: So it’s really good, and, uh, Incredible Parent: Discover Your Parenting Strengths and Raise Your Kids with Confidence. Who doesn’t want to do that?

Analyn: Right.

Jim: And I would hope that, uh, folks will be inquisitive about this and say, “Okay. I think I know my strengths”, we’ll, again, post those at the website.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But order the book, as well. Send a gift of any amount to Focus and we’ll send you a copy as our way of saying, “Thank you,” for equipping today’s moms and dads. And remember, our matching campaign is going on right now. Any gift you send will be doubled, helping us strengthen more marriages, empower more parents, and rescue more pre-born babies. So, it’s a win, win, win for everyone. And I hope you’ll support the ministry today.

John: Yeah, get in touch. Donate as you can, and request your copy of the book, Incredible Parent: Discover Your Parenting Strengths and Raise Your Kids with Confidence. We have copies of that here at the ministry, and a free audio download of today’s broadcast as well, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Brandon, Analyn, again, thank you so much for being with us. This has been great.

Analyn: Thank you for having us.

Brandon: Thank you.

John: Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. Plan to join us next time as we reflect on the incredible sacrifice of America’s veterans, and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

 

Today's Guests

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Incredible Parent: Discover Your Parenting Strengths and Raise Your Kids with Confidence

Receive the book Incredible Parent and the audio download of the broadcast "Identifying Your Strengths as a Parent" for your donation of any amount! And now through a special matching opportunity, your gift will be DOUBLED, dollar for dollar!

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