Mr. Kenn Kington: “You’re tired. You need to go to bed. It’s past your bedtime.” “I don’t want to go to bed. I don’t want to go to bed.” “Well, you’re tired. You need to go to bed.” “I don’t want to go to bed.” “Okay, you have a choice. Do you want to put on your pajamas and brush your teeth and go to bed or do you want a spanking?” She put her finger in my face. “No!” (Laughter and Applause and Cheers)
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: The joys of bedtime routines with little kids. That’s Kenn Kington and we’ve got some comic relief to share with you on the highs and the lows of doing life together as a family. Welcome to Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: Well, when times are hard, it’s important to enjoy some laughter. And that’s what we have in store with our guest, Kenn Kington. This was one of our most popular programs of the year, so it definitely hit the mark. Kenn is a very sought-after comedian and motivational speaker, and he has quite a knack for finding the humor in everyday moments with his wife, his three kids. So, this message is worth hearing again.
John: And here’s Kenn Kington from his DVD called “Wow Moments” and you can get a copy of that from us here at Focus on the Family. Let’s go ahead and dive in just after Kenn’s opening remarks.
Kenn: Getting old’s not easy, but I gotta tell you, in a marriage it’s wonderful. I love being married. It’s not easy. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Hey, anybody – any newlyweds here tonight? Any newlyweds? Married less than a year, anybody? Oh, that’s – oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. You should be proud of that. I love being around newlyweds. They’re just, “Oh, I love you. I love you so much. I love you so much.” “No, I love you more. Even more, it’s just nirvana, I can’t breathe. It’s just – I go – it’s like my heart’s gone. It’s…” (Laughter) Look, he’s going to work. He’s coming home, all right. (Laughter) It’s okay. It’s all right.
And then you go to the sta – we’re in the stage now. We’re in the stage now where it’s like, we’re – we’re seeing the differences and – and that little 5 percent that’s different can drive you crazy. I’m – I’m OCD. My wife’s like, “You are so OCD. OCD!” I mean, I am. My clothes are all in the right order and different colors and – and I can’t go by the sink where there’s a di – “Oh, there’s a dish. I gotta wash the dish.”
And – and there’s some good side effects. Ladies, I wash the dishes at my house, okay. Yeah. I know. (Cheers and Applause) Yeah. I vacuum without being asked. (Cheers and Applause) Okay. So, try to contain yourself, because I wash and soften and dry and fold and iron all the laundry at my house. (Cheers and Applause)
Now I’m fully aware that I am below average looking, but for women over 30, I may have just become one of the sexiest men alive. (Cheers and Applause) I did that in a show a couple weeks ago. Women were throwing clothes on the stage. (Laughter) I don’t think they were turned on. I think they were going, “Iron this! Wash this!” (Laughter)
Well, if I have OCD, my wife has a condition I have termed GILD – get it later disorder. (Laughter) “We’ll get it later.” “I didn’t have time. I’ll get it later.” Later seems to never come. Get it later. It’s dangerous. I went to the bathroom one night. She had left her drawer out. Just went (Sound of poom) Oh! (Laughter) Oh, man! Oh! Woke up the next day, she goes, “What was that noise last night? What was that noise? (Laughter) I said, “You left your drawer out. I cut my leg.” She goes, “Oh, I didn’t have time.” (Laughter) “Didn’t have time.” I said, “What do you mean you didn’t have time?” “I didn’t have time. I was in a hurry. I didn’t have time.” I said – well – I tell you – “Get – get your stuff. Okay, get your iPhone, put it on the stopwatch. Ready, time this. How long was that?” (Laughter) “Let’s do it again. (Sound of closing drawer) Ready? How long?” (Laughter) Wow!
And – and you know what’s a little frustrating? I – I had a cough one night, walked downstairs. Go to get a glass. Go to open the cupboard. It was dark. I went to open it. I missed it because it was open. I just went (Sound of boom) (Laughter) Ah, ah. Wake up the next morning in a pool of blood on my pillow. She said, “What happened to you?” I said, “You left the cupboard door …” “I didn’t have time.” (Laughter) I didn’t even get to finish. You didn’t leave the cupboard – oh.
And it can be so easy to get frustrated with those little pieces, but I – I don’t, because that’s 95 percent of the time she’s incredible. I love the little pieces God has blessed me with. My wife has a condition, 4.0 student, language arts teacher and yet, she will mix up words all the time. (Laughter) And it’s just entertaining. (Laughter)
We’re having a disagreement. In the middle of this disagreement – we don’t fight really hard anymore. It’s just disagreements. “Okay, okay, listen, listen. You say potato, I say tomato.” (Laughter) “It’s the same thing.” (Laughter) “It’s really not.” (Laughter) “It’s not even close.”
And then there’s times I just don’t – I don’t even know what she’s talking about. She goes, “I’m just telling ya, that just broke the last straw.” (Laughter) Is that good or is that bad? We’re driving, she wanted to throw an idea at me. She goes, “Now, I don’t want you to make a decision. I’m not saying we have to do it. I just want to – I just want to put a bug in your ear to chew on.” (Laughter) She said, “What is that look for?” I said, “I don’t really eat bugs.” (Laughter) “And I can’t chew with my ears.” (Laughter)
And this is one of my favorites of last year. This lady calls her sister – new job, new job. Calls her… “How’s your new job? “I hate it.” “Why do you hate your new job?” “My boss, he’s always breathing down my throat.” (Laughter) I would hate that job, too. (Laughter)
And then there’s the extremes. Another lady said her dad had a spot, spot on his hand, called her mom. “Hey, how’s dad’s spot?” She goes, “Oh, I don’t think it’s anything, but made him a doctor’s appointment next week anyway. I’m going to go have him get an autopsy.” (Laughter) Not very optimistic there, are we? (Laughter)
But I love that about my wife, and I need my wife. I – I not only love her, I need her ‘cause we have children. (Laughter) Wow. I can tell you this. My least favorite phrase as a dad, “I might have.” I might have. Last February, it was cold last February. I’m driving my sons to school when I hear out of the backseat, “Uh oh!” (Laughter) “What do you mean, ‘uh oh?’” “Uh, I – I might – I might have forgot something.” (Laughter) “You might have forgotten something.”
Now I want to just take a little poll here. Someone on this side of the room here, February, driving to school, he might have forgotten what?
Kenn: Coat, very good, very good. Backpack, very good. I thought of those, as well. That wasn’t it, but those are good guesses. Someone over here, just “I might have forgotten …?”
Kenn: Who said “shoes?” (Laughter) Do you know my son? (Laughter) He said, “I might have forgot my shoes.” (Laughter) I said, “Well, look on your feet!” (Laughter) “Do you see shoes on your feet?” “No, sir.” (Laughter) At what point do you walk outside (Laughter) across a cold concrete floor and not have the thought, “There’s nothing on my feet”? (Laughter) Amazing.
And that’s – it didn’t stop there. It’s just ongoing. A week later my wife told my kids, “Grab your shoes and get in the car. We’re going to eat dinner out tonight.” My son’s in the living room. I said, “Did you hear your mother?” “Yes, sir.” “Go get your shoes.” “I don’t know where they are.” (Laughter) I asked him, “Where’s the last place you put them?” He did not say anything, but the look on his face was like, “Well, Yoda.” (Laughter) “If I knew that, I would go get them.” (Laughter)
I have a college education and I am sucked into this conversation. (Laughter and Applause) I ask the dumbest question known to man. I said, “Where is the last place you remember having them?” “On my feet.” (Laughter) Amazing, amazing.
But I – I absolutely love him. He’s a great student, great little athlete, good kid and out of nowhere he’ll just come up with something. About a month and a half ago he’s like, “Dad, do – are you going on in tour in Florida at any time?” I’m like, “Yeah, I go there a few times a year.” “Co – if you go to Orlando, can I go?” I’m like, “Sure, man. You can go.” I said, “Why do you want to go to Orlando?” “I want to go to Sea World.” (Laughter) “Like dude, you really didn’t like Sea World as a kid.” He goes, “I know. I just want to walk around and see people’s reaction.” (Laughter) I said, “What do you mean, their reaction?” And he goes, “I’m taking a fishing pole.” (Laughter and Applause)
And there’s something about life that don’t get distracted by all the stuff out there. What is – what is really important? And those thoughts go through my mind. What’s really important? And – and I learn this through my kids a lot. God shows me this through my children.
About a year later they were in bed one night. My boys shared a room and we lived downstairs and their room was upstairs. And in the middle of the night, three in the morning I hear, “Daddy! Daddy!” (Laughter) “Daa – Dad!” I thought he was sick. I run up the stairs. I walk in. He is standing on his bed. Standing on his bed like a superhero. “Daddy! Daddy!” (Laughter)
And I said, “Dude, what are you doing?” And he went, “Daddy!” And like he’d been rehearsing this or something. (Laughter) Three in the morning, he goes, “Daddy, my want a chocolate milk. Now. Please.” (Laughter and Applause) “(Laughter) What?” I said, “Dude, it’s – it’s night-night time.” And he looked at me like, “maybe he didn’t hear this right. I’m standing up. I should get on my knees.” He drops to his knees, “Daddy, my want chocolate milk. Now. Please.” (Laughter) “Like, dude, it’s night-night time.” I said, “You gotta go to bed.” And he looks at me and the look on his face is like, “What part of this do you not get?” (Laughter) “I’m saying all the right words.”
And I lay him down. He’s like, “Daddy, my want chocolate milk, please.” And I was like, “Dude, I will give you all the chocolate milk you want in the morning, but right now it’s night-night time.” And he put his head on the pillow and he turned up and he went, “Chocolate milk, please.” (Laughter) I said, “No, buddy, it’s night-night time.” And he rolled over. He just went, “Okay, Daddy.” (Laughter) and he went to sleep.
And as I walked down the steps, it was one of those moments. Now God has never spoken to me audibly. Never heard that, but it was between conscious, unconscious, that part of the soul where you’re just like, “I know this is something more than me.” And – and God just whispered, “Kenn, that’s the way I want you to be. I want you to ask for anything and just know that I’m only gonna give you what’s best when it’s best.” And I was just like – I literally stopped on the stairs that night and just went, “Whoa! Wow!”
John: You’re listening to Kenn Kington on Focus on the Family, and I know you’re going to want to get Kenn’s DVD that we’ve been listening to. It’s called “Wow Moments.” It has over an hour of great content. And this broadcast is also available on a CD which is easily shared. That’s actually part of our Best of 2020 collection, either on CD or as a download. Get more details when you call 800-A-FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Or you can donate generously and request those at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. All right let’s go ahead and hear more now from Kenn Kington on Focus on the Family.
And see, not only do I want to recognize those moments, I want to recognize the moments as they’re happening and I need help with that, too, and I ask God all the time. “God, help me not miss these moments.” I’m driving my son to practice last year. Last year I get to coach him, and I love coaching basketball. We’re driving, pull up to a red light and my son goes, “Dad, look, look!” I’m like, “Whoa.” Fourteen-years-old, I’m like, “Man, that’s unbelievable.” There’s a brand-new Maserati right next to us. And he goes, “Dad, how fast do you think it’d go?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” And he says, “How much does it cost?” I’m like, “I’m not sure.”
And then it hit me. Kenn, this is a moment. And I said, “You know what? I can have one of those.” He said, “Really?” I’m like, “Yes.” And I said, “I can have one paid for.” And he’s like, “Really!” I said, “Yes!” I said, ”You know why I don’t?” He said, “Why?” I said, “You.” (Laughter and Applause)
I said, “You are the reason I don’t have one.” And he went, “Aw, man!” (Laughter) And I said, “No, not ‘aw, man.’” I said, “Dude, I wouldn’t trade you for 10 Maseratis. You’re unbelievable. You’re incredible.” (Applause) You can applaud that, yeah. (Applause)
And I saw him well up like, whoa! And I’m like, “You’re way better than a Maserati. You’re better than then – that car’s getting old, you’re getting better. We can hang out together. You can feed yourself. You don’t poop in your pants anymore.” (Laughter) “Dude, you’re awesome. You are awesome.”
And I gotta tell you though, I’m stunned he made it. I really am, ‘cause he’s got an older brother, 11 months older and he made it through some tough times, because my older son, I’ll never forget this, my oldest son was probably just about 2, so he was just about 10, 11 months and you remember those little bouncy seats, those little bouncy – you put the baby into the bouncy seat.
Cody was in one of those and it got really quiet. When you have babies, quiet is not good. (Laughter) I walked around the corner. There’s my oldest son, straddled over the bouncy seat with a bag of Cheese Puffs. (Laughter), stuffing them into Cody’s mouth. He’s got like 10 cheese puffs. Aargh! Aargh! (Laughter) And he’s putting one in and he goes, (Sound of bruung, brunng, bruung) (Laughter) Poor kid’s going, (Sound of hiahh, hiahh, hiahh) (Laughter) I ran over. I was like, “Graham, Graham stop.” He goes, “He like it!” (Laughter) Wow.
And I don’t know if you have children that are close in age and there – it’s normal they don’t get along all the time. And we have a very simple discipline like, if you can’t get along, you sit on the steps, sit on the steps. A fate worse than death. (Laughter) Sit on the steps.
And they would just say, “Oh!” Man, five minutes seems like an eternity to a 5-year-old. I was walking down the hall one day and out of the room where they shared, I hear this major thud, this (Sound of pffm) I’m like, “That can’t be good.” (Laughter) So I start walking down the hall to investigate and it was right before I get to the doorway, I hear my second son sniffling and my older son going, “I didn’t mean to, man. I didn’t mean to, man.” (Laughter) But he said, “We don’t want to sit on the steps, man. We don’t want to sit on the steps.” (Laughter)
And I hear Cody’s like, “I know, man, just give me a minute. Just give me a minute.” (Laughter) And the older one is cheering him on. He’s like, “Take the pain, man. Take the pain.” (Laughter) Where do you hear that when you’re 6-years-old? Wow.
I’m surprised they survived. I really am. And then I – I remember we were reading these books when they were born. Read the books. Put ‘em on a schedule. We did that. That worked great. We’re reading, it said, “Let them make choices. Let them make choices early and often and let them find out through failure and learn through failure. Let them make choices. When the earlier they are, make the choices obvious.”
Four-years-old, my oldest son, he came in. He was exhausted one night. “Uh…” “It’s time for bed.” “I – I’m not tired. I’m not tired.” “Like you’re tired.” And I thought, great part for a choice. I said, “Now,” I said, “You have a choice. Would you like to put on your pajamas and brush your teeth and go to bed or would you like a spanking?” (Laughter) He sat there. He was like, “Oh, I’ll get my ‘jamas and I’m going to bed.” (Laughter) I’m like, “That’s a great choice.” (Laughter) “That is the choice I would’ve made.” (Laughter) “Good choice.”
If you have children, you know they’re different. Eleven months later, my second son, he turns 4 and he’s had a nights. He’s exhausted. He’s staggering he’s so tired. It was like, “Time for bed.” “I’m not – I’m not tired. I want to stay up. I’m not tired.” Like, “You’re tired.” “I don’t want to – I want to go – I don’t want to go to bed.” And I was like, “Okay, you have a choice. Do you want to brush your teeth, put on your ‘jamas and go to bed or do you want a spanking?” And he stood there (Laughter) like three minutes. I’m like, “Did you hear me?” He goes, “Um – after the spanking, can I stay up?” (Laughter and Applause)
Five years later we have a little girl. How many of you have little girls? Wow! They are different. (Laughter) She hits 4. She’s on the verge of tears she’s so quiet. She’s tired. She goes, “I want…” I’m like, “You’re tired. You need to go to bed. It’s past your bedtime.” “I don’t want to go to bed. I don’t want to go to bed.” “Well, you’re tired. You need to go to bed.” “I don’t want to go to bed.” “Okay, you have a choice. Do you want to put on your pajamas and brush your teeth and go to bed or do you want a spanking?” She put her finger in my face. “No!” (Laughter and Applause and Cheers) “I don’t think that’s one of the choices.” (Laughter) Wow.
And then there’s details, different details. I love this. You get a time where you’re feeling bad about yourself. Being a little down, a little depressed, thinking, “I need some entertainment, but I got no money.” I tell you what to do. You go to Wal-Mart. (Laughter) Yes! (Applause) Skip reality TV. You got reality right there. (Laughter) That is a freak show every day right there. I love – I love Wal-Mart.
There’s always after midnight – there is always one family with little kids, walking around Walmart at 2 in the morning. (Laughter) And the mom’s got her halter top on, just yelling at the kids, “Why are you so grumpy? What’s wrong with you?” (Laughter) “So grumpy, you better straighten up. Why are you so grumpy?” I’m living for the day that one of those little kids just goes, “My parents are idiots.” (Laughter) “I got a mullet, an earring and a tattoo and I’m only 4.” (Laughter and Applause)
There are moments, there are just those moments in life, and I tell ya, I love those moments. We were actually, when the boys were small, we took them to Disney World. And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this or not, but the Breakfast with the Characters, have you seen that? It’s where you pay, like, 40 bucks for cold eggs (laughter), and you’re sitting there eating, wondering why you paid $40 for cold eggs and then these big furry people walk out. And it’s awesome, it’s like “Oh!” They were awesome.
Last day we were there, we decided we want a memento, a memory, and we took ‘em to Downtown Disney. Took ‘em to a souvenir shop. They had this wall, huge wall of stuffed animals and they’re just like, “Whoa.” I said, “You can get one of anything.” My oldest son went into shopper’s trauma. “I want this. No, I want this one. Oh, I want this one. Oh!” They’re like eight of ‘em going, “Oh!” (Laughter) I watched him freak out and then I watched Cody. Cody was right down here to my right. I’m watching Graham do spinning drills and Cody’s standing right there.
Now Disney makes most of their stuffed animals gender neutral. They make a few that are masculine in nature. To my knowledge they only made one that is feminine in nature and that is Duchess, the Cat. (Laughter) My rough and tumble Cody is standing here holding Duchess. (Laughter) I said, “Wh – what are you doing there, buddy?” “My want the kitty.” (Laughter) I said, “You want – you want the kitty.” And he goes, “My want the kitty.” I’m like, “What – you – Tigger – Tigger’s a cat, (Sound of brrn, brrn). You love Tigger.” “No, my want the kitty.” “The Lion King. You love Lion King, (Sound of rrr)” and he’s like, “My want the kitty.” Every time I made a suggestion, it got closer and tighter.
And he held on for dear life. I’m like, “Oh, that’s your choice.” He loved this cat. He kept this cat for years. And – and he never wavered. He loved this cat. I’m like, “Okay, you got the kitty, all right.” And I’ll never forget, we came home. Two weeks later I went in to tuck him in to bed and I always love to pray over my kids when they’re little. I always pray and I touch different parts. I would just pray. I’m like, “God, give ‘em wisdom beyond their days” and I’d touch their head. “Give ‘em a heart of compassion. Give ‘em arms that reach out to others. Give ‘em legs that walk in the truth. But Lord, please, please most of all, Lord, give ‘em joy!” And I would just tickle ‘em till they cannot breathe.
And when they couldn’t handle it anymore, they would go, “My joy tank’s full. My joy tank’s full.” (Laughter) I would go, “Lord, thank You for giving them joy.” And I walked in and said, “Cody, it’s time for bed.” And he was kneeling on his bed and I walked in and he’s got his back to the door. I said, “Buddy, hop into bed. Time for bed.” He goes, “Daddy, come here.” And I walked around. There’s Duchess laying on his bed with his little green blanket over her and he goes, “Daddy, watch.” And he leaned over, and he goes, “I pray the head and the heart and the legs, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy.” (Laughter) And he said, “Look, Daddy, I’m the daddy.”
Kenn: I said, “You can keep the cat.” (Laughter and Applause) Ah, it’s just aw. (Applause and cheers)
John: What a priceless moment from Kenn Kington on today’s episode of Best of 2020 edition of Focus on the Family.
Jim: John, this has been fun today, but Kenn made an important point with that last story. Children mimic us. His son Cody was repeating the prayer that he’d heard Kenn say with him every night. And I think that’s a great reminder for us as parents. Your children are watching. Let them see you being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. That’s one of the best things you can do for them.
John: And that can be overwhelming as moms and dads, but Kenn has given us a really good first step; pray with your kids, model for them how we can approach our heavenly father and have just a really good conversation with him.
Jim: That’s a great point, John. And we’ll post some helpful articles about prayer on our website. Come check it out. And let me say, if you need someone to pray for you, please give us a call. Our staff would be honored to hear your concerns and pray with you. And if your situation warrants it, they can have one of our caring Christian counselors give you a call back and it’s free. We do not charge for that service. As many of you know, we do need your financial support to make these services available to everyone who needs them. And this has been a very tough year for all of us and the holidays can really seem to magnify the challenges, especially for those who are being impacted by unemployment and isolation. So, if the Lord has blessed you this year, can you share that blessing with others by donating to Focus on the Family? Help us give the gift of hope to families. And when you make a donation of any amount, we’d like to send you a DVD of Kenn’s message with over an hour of content – so much more! Get the DVD and share some laughs with your family. And we still have that matching opportunity available, but it won’t last much longer, so donate now to double your impact. A gift of 25 dollars becomes 50 dollars. It’s a great time to give.
John: Yeah, give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can donate online and request “Wow Moments” by Kenn Kington at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Be sure to join us next time as we continue presenting our Best of 2020 broadcasts. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team thanks for joining us here for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.