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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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Making Virtues a Daily Part of Your Family Life (Part 1 of 2)

Making Virtues a Daily Part of Your Family Life (Part 1 of 2)

In a discussion based on her book In This House, We Will Giggle, Courtney DeFeo offers practical suggestions for fun and effective ways parents can instill important values in their children, such as forgiveness, perseverance, respect, humility, and more. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 13, 2016


Courtney DeFeo: So what about random acts of kindness in our own home? Can we sneak into dad’s work bag and can we leave him notes and candy and just say, “We’re thinking of you?” Or, you know, can we go to mom and take a chore off her plate to just say, “We noticed that your plate is completely full, so the kids and I unloaded the dishwasher for you,” and we left a note just saying, “Love you, and we appreciate your work?”

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John Fuller: Those are some really wonderful ideas from Courtney DeFeo about how you can instill godly character and faith into your children. And she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family, with Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, Courtney is so much fun and I really appreciate her joy and passion. And as you’ll hear, she’s all in as a mom. Uh, now we know that parenting, especially when kids are young and more dependent, can be exhausting, but Courtney has got some great ideas that I think will inspire you. And she’s addressing one of the top concerns we hear about from so many parents, how to effectively pass on your faith to your kids.

John: Yeah, that’s, uh, something a lot of parents just don’t feel equipped to do very well or they’re afraid they’re gonna mess up their children, or family devotions weren’t modeled for them as they were growing up so they don’t even really know where to start.

Jim: And that’s why we’re coming back to a classic conversation we recorded with Courtney just a few years ago. She outlined some great strategies and family activities where your children can learn about perseverance, forgiveness, humility, and service, all the things they need to become rooted in their faith from a young age. Uh, here at Focus on the Family, we want to equip you to be the best mom or dad you can be for your children. And I urge you to contact us about Courtney’s book and other wonderful resources we have for your parenting journey.

John: We have the delightful book that Courtney has written, it’s, uh, In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life. And you can order your copy by calling 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by And Jim, here’s how you began the conversation with Courtney DeFeo on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Hey, you know, you share a lot about your, um, parenting and your inability early on. And your kids are how old?

Courtney: Yeah. They’re young. So you’re … I’m bringing seven and nine-

Jim: Seven and nine.

Courtney: … so I’m at full on expertise. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, well, I mean … What I, what caught me with it is your self-reflection and your ability to see the weaknesses in your parenting early-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … because your discovery, as we’ll mention in a minute, and your turn, your pivot as a parent, uh, is really early in your parenting. And I applaud you for that-

Courtney: Thank you for that.

Jim: … because a lot of people don’t realize it until their kids are 15, 16, and they’re trying to deal with the mess that they help create in their kids. And so, talk about what you were like a few years ago before the Lord really got to your heart. What kind of parent were you then?

Courtney: Yeah, I mean, I’ve always been a passionate, go for it, intense kind of girl. I mean, just always go-getter, striver. Um, and I think when I got those girls in my arms, it was just such intense love and such intense passion. And I thought, “I don’t want to mess this up.” And I haven’t met a parent yet that’s just, you know … They want to love their kids so well and they want their faith to be passed down, so this is a serious topic. I don’t want to make light of that, that their faith and our faith for our kids is serious business-

Jim: The most serious.

Courtney: … maternity, no joke. Like, I want them in heaven with me.

Jim: Yeah.

Courtney: But how we do it is where the shift happened for me. As I started making a list, and during their baby dedication they asked our church, we were in Atlanta at the time, it was Buckhead church, and they asked us to make a list of some values that we wanted to pass down and make real to them, make their faith real. So we made this list of values. And then as I thought about how I wanted them to understand that faith was real and how I wanted these values to actually come to life in our home, that was when I started noticing how is this gonna play out. Because right now I’m kind of lecturing or I’m feeling this grip that’s all up to me and that’s not gonna go well.

Jim: So, you’re saying at devotion time, “Kids, come on-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … we’ve got to read the word.”

Courtney: Yeah. And you’re not good enough.

Jim: (laughs)

Courtney: You need, and … Uh, you to be patient. Here’s how it’s gonna go.

Jim: So true.

Courtney: You’re not doing loving things. And I was then as an analyzing myself, going, what are the … what kind of example do they have? I’m not meeting the match on any of this, and who does? You know?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: I’m turning 40 this year. And if you look at my book and the 12 virtues that are in there, I’ve got work to do on all of them. So I really had a time of assessment when, Lord, I want this so bad for my kids. I want them to know who that he’s real, but how do I do it in a way that they don’t want to run for the hills?

Jim: How do you relax, though, as a mom-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … with that kind of attitude?

Courtney: I think-

Jim: Because it’s messy.

Courtney: Yeah. I think realizing that when you mess up, that they get it sometimes, and that when you let go and let God actually work in them and you stop trying to be Jesus and you let God, um, and we show them Jesus, and that was a real turning point for me. I thought-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: … can’t I operate and parent in a way that I’m trying to show them Jesus and not be Jesus?

Jim: That’s a big point.

Courtney: And that’s a real different shift. But I will tell you that it definitely, um, relieved some of the pressure. And I think for me, um, I get gripped with comparison. I get gripped with the pressure of performing and I a-also get gripped to that struggle of control. And when I think it’s all up to me, and it’s up to me if they’re gonna be a good Christian kid or turn out to be a pastor, then I go back to that dictating form. But when I start un-peeling my fingertips and say, “Let me show them Jesus and let me have them do experiences, and let them mess up and let them get back up again,” then I can let go-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: … a little bit more.

Jim: Now, Courtney, I’m gonna press you because-

Courtney: Good, good.

Jim: … I’m thinking of the mom, no one in particular … (laughing) But I’m thinking of the mom that struggles-

Courtney: Yeah, a real different shift.

Jim:  .. because they’re much more comfortable with control.

Courtney: Yeah, oh yeah.

Jim: You know, they do fear a bad outcome. It’s a tough culture-

Courtney: Yeah, but I think it’s, I think I’m definitely not there yet.

Jim: … that, uh, the kids are growing up in. School, if they’re in public school, they got a lot of, uh, bad messaging to deal with when they come home and unpack what they learned in biology class or whatever class, sex education.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: So how do you define a good control from a bad control-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … as a parent.

Courtney: I think everything has a scale in life, and I would just … for me, it’s moderation. So it’s like, are you … And y’all had Jeannie Cunnion on before, and her whole message is fantastic on grace. And so I would encourage, um, your listeners to go back and listen to that. And are we operating from an assumption that you’re already loved and you’re already forgiven? Or are we, we … You know, so I would go back and listen to that as a starting point from all of this. Um, and let me give you another practical. And hopefully this will help answer your question. E-early in my, um, ministry, I would say, blog, I started writing and producing a product about ABC scripture cards. And so many got the message that if I’m gonna have a good Christian kid, it’s gonna be about scripture memory and I will check the box and my kids will be good if they memorize all the scripture. And poof, they will know what to do at school, and they will just perform and have the great Christian behavior. And so I’ve had to kind of do a mindset shift with my kids and other kids to say, “That’s not the purpose.” You know, the purpose is so that when we get in a situation, mine came home and said, “Someone was mean to me at school.” Then I say, “What’s the K verse?” And they say, “Keep your tongue from evil.” So we have a filter on what to operate through life. We’re still teaching them to say, hey, we’re not gonna talk back to that person. We’re not gonna use unkind words back, even when someone’s ugly to you at school. So it’s not gold star, check it off the list, you’re a great Christian because you know all these. It’s like, how do we let God’s word and truth move through us in parenting so that they’re learning the right things, and they’re learning, you know what to do, and what’s wise and the right and wrong, but we’re not using it as that filter for you look like and walk like a good kid. And now do that, and don’t mess … Now, don’t smile. Now, don’t jump. Now, don’t go in and out of the line. Do you know what I mean?

Jim: Back to the control thing.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: Hey, uh, you’ve now created these, uh, virtue cards.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: Talk about that. What are the virtue cards?

Courtney: Yeah, when, when we saw the success of the ABC scripture cards, this became a tool that could stay out and parents were going, “I didn’t have any versus top of mind, so when I bumped up against a situation and my kids were scared at night, I didn’t know what to tell them.” And so H became, “He cares for you,” and you don’t have to be afraid at night cause he cares about you being afraid. So those were such a success as moms having a tool that was really easy for kids to memorize scriptures, and moms too, that we got pressed for about four years on what’s gonna be next. And so as the book came out with the 12 virtues, virtue cards were very easy next step to say-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: … here are not only the, the 12 virtues in the cards, but here are 25 biblical virtues. And they’re just conversation starters. There’s an easy kid-friendly definition, so patience would be waiting with a happy heart, here’s how your kids can understand a big word in little kid terms, and there’s a corresponding verse that goes with that.

Jim: What I like about is it’s one virtue per month.

Courtney: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Jim: You have 12 virtues in the book that you outline, and the virtue cards, I think, correlate with that.

Courtney: Yep, they sure do. Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, and it’s an easy way for you and your children to concentrate on one thing a month, which is great for kids of any age.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I think about my own life right now. Um-

Jim: What virtue are you working on? (laughs)

Courtney: … I … Well, I have a lot. But self-control would be one. Um, faith is one. But I think for me, I always have a list of things I want to work on. And I’m, I’m really hard on myself.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: And I think about our kids, we’re always aware of where they’re failing. And it’s overwhelming for them to say, man, you need to have self-control and you need to love and gosh, you need to be a better sister, but what if as a family, we were just to lay down the 2,200 things we want to do better and say right, this month … you know, in February because it’s Valentine’s, we’re just gonna focus on loving each other better. And what if in Thanksgiving, naturally the calendar has this focus on gratitude, we’re just gonna focus on being grateful and we stopped nitpicking on everything. And I mean, especially I love boys, but especially for boys, they’re like, “You just said 12 things when I walked through the door. I don’t even know what you said.” You know, like, “Can we focus on one, mom?” So kind of majoring on major things, not nitpicking each other to death.

John: Well, Courtney DeFeo is our guest on this episode of Focus on the Family, sharing parenting insights from her book In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life. We have copies of that here, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or check it out at Let’s go back now to our conversation with Courtney DeFeo on Focus on the Family.

Jim: Courtney, when I look at the virtues, I mean, even in scripture, it says the greatest of these is love.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So let’s talk about that one right now.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: The virtue of love. How do you, how do you transmit that to your children who are normally self-centered and they’re worried about whether or not mom cooked the right sandwich for lunch? (laughs)

Courtney: Yeah. I don’t know about your house, but I find the hardest people to love are the ones that you’re with every day. (laughing) Because, uh, my husband’s even said this to me. He said, “I heard you on the phone with someone just a minute ago and you were so happy,” like what happened? Yeah.

John: Yeah, and then you became the monster.

Jim: Okay, but-

Courtney: Or you’re the monster on the way to church and then-

Jim: It’s even better if you’re in a little, you know, disagreement and the phone rings and your spouse answers, and goes, “Hello,” and you-

Courtney: Yes.

Jim: … wait a minute, that wasn’t the woman I was just talking to.” (laughing)

Courtney: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So the activity, each month in the book you’ll find that I talk a little bit about the virtue and then I give people what I call a family fun activity. And so there may be questions around the dinner table. So this one’s called love ’em up. And the challenge is for the month of February, or you can pick any month, can you love the ones that you’re with? And it’s through random acts of kindness, just like we would do for generosity in December. We will go sneak out in the community and love people, you know, from our garbage collector.

Jim: That is good.

Courtney: So, what about random acts of kindness in our own home? Can we sneak into dad’s work bag and can we leave him notes and candy and just say, “We’re thinking of you,” or, you know, can we go to mom and take a chore off her plate to just say, “We noticed that your plate is completely full, so the kids and I unloaded the dishwasher for you.” and we left a note just saying, “We love you and we appreciate your work.” And so it’s just teaching them habits of being intentional and showing that love is a choice and that we really do love the people. So sibling to sibling, this is interesting. You may have them say, we want you to give her a pedicure. We want you to make her bed or his bed. And that’s not your favorite thing to do, but that speaks love to your sister or brother.

Jim: That is great, but how do you actually get that to happen? I mean-

Courtney: Well, you know what, you have to let it to be their idea. You can give them … A lot of times, I give them a question, and one time … I’ll give you a story. Larson was maybe six, I think. And so I … This is not … My ideas in my book, this is not correction and discipline. This isn’t, “Lauren, don’t run in the street.” This isn’t like safety stuff. This is, to me, 201. This is great icing thing. So they’re not gonna get in trouble if they don’t do this. This is just, hey, in the morning-

Jim: Here’s an idea.

Courtney: … I ask them a question and I think the challenge was, okay, at some point today, girls, I want to see, can you make mom’s job easier at some point today? I ask the question one time and then I let it go. No one was gonna be in trouble. I wasn’t following back up. I just gave them the challenge in the morning, and then later that day I couldn’t find some paperwork. And I thought, “Where is the paperwork?” And I’m stomping around and looking, and then a sheepish, little Larson came up and said, “Mom, look under your desk. I cleaned up your desk today and sorted your papers.”

Jim: Oh, wow.

Courtney: And I thought, “How cute.” I had totally forgotten about the question.

Jim: Oh, you said, “How cute?” Not, “How?”

John: (laughs)

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: “What? You did what?” (laughs)

Courtney: Yeah, well, I was annoyed that I couldn’t find my paper, but I thought there was a girl … I asked one question, and then her heart, she thought, “I can help mom by cleaning up her desk.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: So I think it’s a good reminder for us that, um, some of these things aren’t a mandate. They’re not in trouble. You put it back in their court and see what will prick their heart to show mom or dad love or their sister.

John: Courtney, uh, I think Jim and I are both wondering this, uh, about what you’re talking about.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

John: All right. So I make the suggestion to my teenage son and he says, “So what?”

Courtney: (laughs)

Jim: Well, that’s … I was gonna make the point that Courtney’s dealing with two daughters.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Courtney: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: Sons are a little different.

John: We have teens boys and-

Courtney: Hey, believe in them. They’re sweeter than you know.

Jim: Yeah, but they actually wake up thinking, “How do I irritate my older sibling?”

Courtney: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: They don’t think, “How do I love my older siblings?”

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: So what suggestions do you have?

Courtney: Yeah, I think even sitting With them … And, um, this is a great practice for them to be a husband someday. And I would bust out the love languages and say, “You know, there is love languages for kids.” And this is great conversation for you and your sons to say, “I know what feels loving to you is a huge meal and a couch and a nap,” or whatever they love to do that makes them feel love, but thinking about the other person and getting them already mindset their shift and say, “I know what the next two hours look like for you, but we gotta … You and I together, let’s think about what we could do for mom.” And you may just call them in and say, I need your help on this.” And if they’re not willing to do it on their own, maybe you call them in to help. Um, and so I don’t think this is an age limit thing. And, and I’m definitely a girl mom, but I’ve seen plenty of boys stepping up to do the most tender things for their mom.

Jim: A girl mom, I like that. Hey, um, one thing that strikes me is that, um, children learn a lot by what they see their parents doing.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So I would think you’d, you’re big on the parents actually modeling this as well. You can’t just tell your kids to do it.

Courtney: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. They, um, we have these cups that too, that we talk about, just mealtime questions that have questions and they always love to hear what their dad’s gonna say. Um, you know, they ask them what, you know, what is happiness? What is love? And his answers, they’re always kind of glued to what he’s gonna say. And, um, so I think it is important for parents to not just say, you know, we’re, you’re the only ones that are learning how to be loving. We’re always looking for ways to get better. And I think it’s really … all of these, every virtue that we’ll go through on the show today, it is critical that we’re walking the talk and that they see, even when we mess up that we’ll go back to them and say, “Hey, what mom did this morning, I know that didn’t make you feel loved, and so I’m sorry about that.”

Jim: Um, you also talk about another virtue, which is a good one, uh, forgiveness.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, that can be hard to model, especially for a parent who doesn’t-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … see anything wrong with the way I’m parenting you.

Courtney: Yes. Uh, I would tell you that this is probably one of the hardest ones-

Jim: Amen, sister.

Courtney: … and, um, its best friend or cousin is humility. And it takes a lot of humility to step up and teach forgiveness and to model that.

Jim: How have you seen that play out with your children? I mean, what have you done to have to eat crow and say, hey-

Courtney: Yeah. I … One of the things I’ve seen is that it’s getting them past the point of, “I’m sorry.” You know, it’s not just the shallow, “I’m sorry,” because they will say, “I’m sorry”, and my, um, most stubborn will even just say, “I’m s-“, “I’m …” she can’t even get out the word.

Jim: “I’m sorry” kind of sounds like “I’m hungry” to kids-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … young kids.

Courtney: They’ll just check it off the list-

Jim: “I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Courtney: … they’ll say, “I’m sorry,” and they’ll storm off. And so it takes a moment to say, “I … my … your sister is still hurt about that. I need you to come back.” And you know, I stole some, um, I mean I think every person should be in counseling. And so I stole this from my counselor and she said, you know, “Can they actually go through these motions and say. ‘I’m sorry when I blank, I know you must have felt blank, will you forgive me for blank?’” Like have them going through … so not every time, but some of these bigger ones when they’re really hurt and say-

Jim: Yeah.

Courtney: … they need to take ownership. And we talk about they’re a piece of the pie. You know, they’ll come to me and say, “Well, she …” da, da, da, da, da. “Well, she …” you know, and so do you go back through and say, “No, I don’t want to hear, you know, her part. I want to hear what you did. What part do you need to say ‘I’m sorry’ for, and let’s talk about that. And she must’ve felt embarrassed when you did that. Now go back and apologize and ask for forgiveness,” and they may not be ready. And we can give time. You know, if they’re still mad for a day, we don’t need to say, “You need to be happy and hug it out right now.” Maybe give them a day.

Jim: Say it again because I want to make sure I capture this.

Courtney: Yeah. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry when I hit you. I must’ve felt embarrassed,” or, you know, whatever their feeling is, “Will you forgive me for …” whatever. Um, and I’ve had to use that as an adult with some friends and go back and validate that-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: … you know, even if you didn’t mean to, or even if it wasn’t intentional, because I say that all the time, “I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t fair.” You know, they have all these reasons. And so I think that is a key point for forgiveness is modeling it major for us as parents. And then, um, just getting past that shallow, “I’m sorry.”

Jim: How do you, how do you plan an activity around that? Because I know the book talks about that-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … creating activity that reinforces the 12 virtues that you’re, you’re trying to teach the kids.

Courtney: Absolutely.

Jim: So how would you connect an activity to forgiveness?

Courtney: Yeah, this one we lined up with, uh, forgiveness being, um, so important during the month of Easter. And so we made a cross. And this can come in handy for boys that like to hammer and rip things down, out of nature.

Jim: You go, boys.

Courtney: So if you find, if you find two sticks, you can make a cross. And one … I think this is just a visual tradition. And obviously after this first year, they’ll get it. But um, after … you make a cross and you, you know, bring two sticks and nail it together, and then over time throughout the month leading up to Easter, you had them nail up or tack up individual sins, and I’m not talking specific sins. So it can’t be, “Trent, when you disrespected dad last night over ice cream,” nail it to the cross. No, it’s gotta be more like hitting one another, saying unkind words. So more generic sins like we’re gonna just put these up on the cross and not specific to a child, so they’re not shamed-

Jim: How did you know that?

Courtney: Sorry, I was peering into your house. And then what’s cool is the morning of Easter, those sins come down and you can cover the cross with flowers.

Jim: Oh man, that’s tangible.

Courtney: And so it’s such a cool reminder. And my kids who’ve done it for a few years now and they’re … they know now what’s gonna happen, but it’s still such a reminder of what has happened at the cross-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Courtney: … and that they’re wiped clean. Um, and so we just love that. And their … It’s interesting what sins come up quickly out of their heart. And they’re, they’re quick to point, you know, they’re looking-

John: I was gonna say, do they see their own first or the others?

Courtney: The others first. And then I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, think in your own heart about what things that we need to put up there that we could probably…”

Jim: Hey, let’s, let’s squeeze another one in before-

Courtney: Sure. Yeah.

Jim: … before we move on. Uh, perseverance, that’s one that children really need.

Courtney: Oh, I’m so glad you brought this up.

Jim: Yeah, let’s persevere.

Courtney: Perseverance, the, you know, the definition is … we could go so many ways with this, but working hard and never giving up came in a moment where Ella was doing the rainbow loom. Do y’all remember that craze?

Jim: Yeah.

Courtney: They’re little, tiny rubber bands-

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Courtney: … and you make these bracelets.

Jim: Yeah.

Courtney: And she was watching these videos, and I was so annoyed. And she would work, work, work, work, work, and they would bust open. And I wanted to basically say, “You can give up.” I’m pretty much annoyed with this bracelet system.

Jim: We’re done. Vacuuming them constantly.

Courtney: So she would … Yes. She would watch it for like an hour and then it would bust open and then she would watch it again. And I said, “Ella, you are having incredible perseverance because I would have been done by now.” And so I said, “That’s gonna be our definition, is working hard and never giving up.” And so this has just been a thing that I’ve watched myself when I’m like wanting to give up on a sport, but saying, “We’ve got to make it through the season because we committed to this. We’re gonna persevere through it,” because it builds such character in them.

Jim: Do you have to do that every time?

Courtney: I don’t think so. I think-

Jim: Because I’m feeling guilty.

Courtney: No, I think-

Jim: Yeah, let me give you the example.

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: So when Trent was like five, I signed him up for Tee ball-

Courtney: Yeah.

Jim: … and we got out there. There was like … it was so funny. There’s probably 30 kids in the field and the ball was hit and all 30 would run to the right field corner to get the ball. I mean, it was … And Trent was kind of standing there and he wasn’t into it at all. And he said, “Dad, can we leave?” And I was like, I think this is one those moments if I don’t want him to hate baseball-

Courtney: Yeah, no.

Jim: … I should probably say, “Yeah, we can go.” It’s not, you’re not ready yet. Because he just was despising it.

Courtney: No, I think it’s so individual to kids. But I think, you know, in those moments where they signed up and they begged for it and they like it once they get there, that’s typically my kid, is they like it once they get in there.

Jim: Yeah. So, a nudge.

Courtney: Yeah. A nudge to say, “I know that you’re tired or you just need a snack and you can do this.” You know, it’s just the nudge to say, “Keep going.” It is … Because mine typically are like, if it’s a little bit of work, “Meh, I, I don’t know. I’d rather not do that.”

Jim: (laughs)

Courtney: But one of the activities I want to tell you about, because I’ve really done some work in preparing for this. Can I tell you your names for, for family Olympics?

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Courtney: Okay. Family Olympics. Are you ready?

Jim: I’m ready.

Courtney: Okay. So, the activity for perseverance is a bit silly so you got to brace yourself, but it’s called Family Olympics. And we really started this just with a group of families to be fun. And I am gonna challenge you two. I think it’s the Fullers versus the Daly’s family Olympics.

Jim: And we have Olympics coming up.

Courtney: Right?

Jim: The real one.

Courtney: Right. Yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: Not the Fuller Daly one.

Courtney: So I brainstormed some names-

John: I think we’re gonna win because we … just by sheer numbers, we should be able to beat you.

Jim: I’m actually feeling like you’re gonna win too.

Courtney: Okay, yeah, you might need to recruit some people.

Jim: Yeah.

Courtney: Sorry, Dalys. But here’s some of the potential names and, um, I even brought you some hats.

Jim: I noticed those. We have to wear these hats?

John: No.

Courtney: Well, you, your family has to pick a team color, and a team name, and then you have to have some banners-

Jim: Okay.

Courtney: … you know, just to bring up the team spirit. Okay?

Jim: We’ll take a photo and put it online.

Courtney: Okay.

Jim: How about that?

Courtney: Okay. And if you do this, I’ll actually fly back out and be like the referee.

Jim: Okay, good. I like this.

Courtney: Okay. All right. So, the Fullers, you can be the Fuller Flowers. Okay?

John: That’s really inspiring.

Courtney: That seems fierce.

John: Yeah. It’s politically correct.

Jim: Put your hat on.

Courtney: Okay, here’s your flower.

John: I haven’t accepted yet.

Jim: Look at that-

Courtney: Okay.

John: We’re brainstorming ideas.

Courtney: The Fuller Fire.

John: I like that better.

Jim: The Fuller Fire.

Courtney: I didn’t have a fire. Listen, I was packing. Okay, I didn’t have a fire.

John: This, uh, for our radio listeners, it looks like flowers, but we’re going to call it flames of fire.

Courtney: Flames of fire, okay.

Jim: It’s a sunflower looking thing.

Courtney: Fuller Flamingos.

John: No.

Courtney: The Fuller Flame, the Fuller Fury.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Courtney: Or the Fuller Force.

Jim: Those are both good.

Courtney: Oh, okay.

Jim: Which way you leaning?

John: Well, we could, we could have a play on words or uh, on, on pop culture and call it Fuller Force Five.

Courtney: Oh, okay.

John: How’s that?

Courtney: There you go. All right.

Jim: What does that mean?

Courtney: Onto the Daly, the Daly Dinos, the Daly Dynasty. (laughing) Now, this is, this is-

Jim: You’re from Dallas, I’m not going with that one.

Courtney: This is shocking.

Jim: Okay.

Courtney: Because this is a very spiritual place here.

Jim: Okay.

Courtney: The Daly Devils. Oh.

Jim: No, we’re not going there.

Courtney: All right. All right. Daly Dragons.

Jim: I like it.

Courtney: The Daly Dynamite.

Jim: Okay.

Courtney: And the Daly Divas.

Jim: Probably.

John: No, you’re not.

Courtney: Okay, I brought the dinosaur hat.

Jim: The, the Daly Dinos.

Courtney: Okay, Daly Dinos are very fierce. So you rank your team and then you make up just ridiculous games. Okay? They could be like minute to win it. So one year we did the moms had to spin streamers as fast as we could, until they were unraveled.

Jim: Blow up balloons.

Courtney: Blow up balloons. You can do the guys do horse and basketball, or you do like a water bucket race with the kids. They have to empty their buckets of water as fast as can.

Jim: Okay, this sounds exhausting.

Courtney: It’s absolutely hysterical. And then you can do, um, you know, you lay on the ground, on the grass and see how long you get across the field and back. So you would definitely win. I mean, you’ve got enough people to get there and back.

Jim: He’s got six, I’ve got four.

Courtney: Sorry, I’ll, I’ll bring some people.

Jim: You’ve got eight.

Courtney: You can have Ella and Larson.

Jim: You’ve got two more teams in the Fuller family.

John: It depends on the math. Many of them have left the house, okay?

Courtney: I’ll bring you mine. Ella and Larson are extremely fast. But here’s the deal, what you will see is we joke, but people get very competitive and there’ll be full on tears. Um, kids could start crying because they’re, they’re objecting to points and they’re like, “Well, I’ve spilled my water and this is not fair.” And so it’s a silly moment to say, “Guys, we’re going to keep going. This is just a fun family activity.” And we really have had some interesting family debacles and friendships go almost down in this.

John: This sounds like one of our camping hikes where we’re a mile or two onto the trail and there are meltdowns. And we’ve got to-

Courtney: Right.

John: … just coax the kids along as we go.

Courtney: Yeah.

John: So, what you’re saying is invite opportunities to be disappointed and to have emotional meltdowns-

Courtney: Yeah.

John: … because-

Courtney: Yeah, because later the stakes are higher. You know, they’re gonna get on a soccer field and have to persevere, or they’re gonna have a disability, or there’s gonna be something major in life that you’re going to have to say, “This is hard work and you’re gonna have to keep going. So do it younger and more fun, playful environments where the talks aren’t as stressful and you can just show them this is an example of when we did it and we persevered and we made it.

Jim: That’s good. I like it. I don’t know if we’re gonna do the … should we do the competition? (laughs)

John: Well, I, I think the biggest thing will be to find a scheduling date. Because if you’re home and we’re home, and we can do it.

Courtney: I won’t hold you to it-

Jim: We’ll find-

Courtney: … but if you do it, I’m committed to helping you.

Jim: I think we should do yard golf.

Courtney: Yard golf.

Jim: I think we could win at that.

Courtney: All right.

Jim: Get some wiffle balls and we’ll go with it.

Courtney: Keep me posted.

John: Well, we were obviously having fun with Courtney DeFeo as a guest during this episode of Focus on the Family, and we certainly hope you’ll join us for part two of the conversation next time.

Jim: John, what we heard today was just a sampling of the fun ideas and activities that Courtney has provided in her great book, In This House, We Will Giggle. I love that title, by the way. And that’s really the bottom-line message here. How can you help your kids grow and develop as godly followers of Christ in, in ways that will capture their joy and enthusiasm? Uh, because if all we do is focus on the rules, the do’s and the don’ts, t-that quickly becomes a turn-off for our children. Your kids need to see the power of God working in your life, which will encourage them to live the same way themselves. Uh, here at Focus on the Family we want to help you with that process. Every year we promote bring your Bible to school day in October. And now we have our Live It challenges, every month with a new challenge to help your children establish and strengthen their faith throughout the year. These are some great challenges for your entire family, and I want to urge you to check it out at our website.

John: Find all the details about the Live It challenges and Courtney’s book In This House, We Will Giggle at, or when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: And when you get in touch, I invite you to support this family outreach. The resources we’ve mentioned, and this broadcast, our websites, all of it, it costs money. And we’re looking for monthly partners, like you, who will support and strengthen today’s families. And, you know, according to our research, we’ve been able to equip more than 700,000 parents as they raise children in loving and God-honoring families. And you can be a part of that ministry. Working together, imagine how many more families we can have pack for Christ. So please, consider a monthly pledge to Focus on the Family today.

John: We’d love to hear from you, and if a monthly pledge isn’t, uh, possible right now, a one-time gift also makes a big difference. And in return for your generosity, we’ll send a copy of Courtney’s book. That’s our way of saying thank you for joining the support team. Again, our number, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or you can donate online at On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for this episode of Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

In This House, We Will Giggle

In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life

Receive the book In This House, We Will Giggle for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

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