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Raising Godly Children in Today’s Culture

Raising Godly Children in Today’s Culture

Author Arlene Pellicane offers practical, nuts-and-bolts parenting advice in a discussion based on her book Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority and Value What's Right.



Arlene Pellicane: If you’re going to have the rules, you also have to have fun time, that you need that relationship with your child, that you have to ask yourself, are there times that I’m actually having fun with my child? Like, do we laugh together? Do we smile together? Do – you know, if I was my child, and I had to look at my face all day long, you know, would I be afraid, or would I be okay with this? And for a parent, you need to ask this question because it’s true. You do need the rules, but you must have the relationship, or those rules don’t mean a thing.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Our guest today on Focus on the Family is Arlene Pellicane. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller. 

Jim Daly: John, we all want to, uh, do the very best for our children – best schools, the best sports program. You want the honor student, uh, bumper sticker and all those good things. We’re trying hard to help our kids, not so much to have the advantage but to give them every opportunity to do well in this life. And I think that’s admirable. Uh, but God called us, as parents, to train up the next generation in a spiritual context, to stand for what’s right, um, to instill character and provide discipline that goes along with that, uh, parenting journey. And most of all, it’s to teach our children about him so that they can live a long and good life before the Lord. Here at Focus on the Family, we want to help you do that. That’s our main goal – is to give you those tools to do that job as best as you can. And that’s one of the reasons we’ve invited back, uh, Arlene Pellicane. She joins us today as we talk about, uh, Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority and Value What’s Right. I can’t wait to get into this.

John: And Arlene is such a popular guest. We always have a tremendous response when she’s here. And we just personally enjoy interviewing her. Uh, she and her husband James have three children. We’ve had them here in the studio, I believe. 



Jim: That’s right, taking pictures.

Arlene: They like it here.

John: And they are good kids, too. And the family lives in San Diego, California.

Jim: Arlene, Welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Arlene: It’s so good to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Jim: Arlene, uh, you share a great story about a young girl, uh, at your children’s elementary school, I think it was. Uh, what did she say that made you realize there’s a problem with…

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: …The way kids are treating adults these days?

Arlene: I was volunteering, and we were going to play a relay race, which sounds fun enough. And the…

Jim: Sure.

Arlene: …Kids were supposed to get in line. And I saw a volunteer say, “Please get in line,” and a little third-grader say, “Make me.” And…

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Arlene: …I thought, “Make me?” Can you imagine if your grandmother went to school and said, “Make me.” You know, there was no such thing. That did not happen in previous generations.

Jim: Them are fighting words.

Arlene: Them are fighting words.


Arlene: So that really made me think, “What has made this kind of attitude, this boldness in children, that they feel okay saying those kinds of things?” You know, I have been in church, and I have volunteered, and I have shushed a child just to have a child look at me, like, “Who are you to tell me to be quiet?”

Jim: Really?

Arlene: And, you know, you’re the one talking while the other person’s talking at the microphone. And so I have experienced this, and I’m sure many of our listeners have seen this bold change. Maybe you’re in education, and you see it in your classroom. You’re a mom or dad. You see it in your home. And so that’s what really made me think, “I want to address this in Parents Rising – that, as parents, we’ve got to rise up to show that, ‘Hey, this is not right. You need to respect authority,’ and that’s something worth teaching our children.”

Jim: Well, that’s a great point. Uh, let’s get to the basics though. Why do kids have that sense of entitlement? What is making that happen? Are we doing it as parents?

Arlene: We are kind of guilty of this. So we can say, “Oh, it’s the culture around them. It’s social media. It’s the music – that…”

Jim: Everything out there.

Arlene: “…Popular music. Everything out there is destroying my child.” And, yes, we live in an ungodly culture. But, you know, you look at these people, like Daniel in the Babylonian culture. I’m sure that was a lot harder to live back then than it is now. So my heart is let’s not blame the culture for what has happened to children. Let’s look at our families. And can my children respect me? And let’s start there. And so I think, for parents, it is this idea that maybe in generations past, the parent was really big, and the child was really teeny. So now we’ve made the child super big and the parent really teeny.

Jim: Oh, that’s fascinating, yeah.

Arlene: And we’ve got to swing that pendulum back to that balance of, “Of course, Child, you are to be heard and loved, respected, cherished, but I am the parent, and I’m the leader here and not the other way around.”

Jim: Yeah, I could see this nationally released motion picture – Parents Rising.

Arlene: That’s right.


Jim: Imagine, you know, some good…

Arlene: A call to arms. Let’s go, Parents.

John: Yeah (laughter).

Jim: That is a great Ben Hur voice.

Arlene: And it’s like, you know, now we will use our ultimate weapon – no!


Like, parents who can actually say no.

John: In a world…

Jim: That’s it.

Arlene: In a world of yes…

Jim: We’ve got the voice-over.

Arlene: …We say no.

Jim: But, uh, in the book you talk about eight key strategies. We’re not gonna be able to cover them all. Certainly, you all can get a copy of the book here at Focus on the Family. Help us to do great ministry, along with, uh, getting a tool to help you do better parenting. But let’s take a look at some of them. Let’s – go ahead and give us the eight. And then I’m going to come back…

Arlene: Okay.

Jim: …And pick two or three.

Arlene: Sounds great. The first strategy is amusement is not the highest priority. Your life does not have to revolve around entertaining your child with a cellphone.

Jim: I’m guilty. That’s a tough one.

Arlene: Number two is parents call the shots. You are the leader, not your child. Number three is routine and boundaries provide security. Number four is the Bible and prayer are present daily, so not just on Sundays, and then we live like every other family on the block, but you see this woven into the fabric of our lives. You see the Bible. You hear us pray. Number five is marriage takes a front seat – that, you know, when kids come into the picture, the marriage can go in the trunk for 18 years. And so bring that marriage back as a priority relationship.

Jim: Some people are saying ouch…

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: …When they hear that because it’s so true.

Arlene: Right.

Jim: And it’s easy to fall into that one. We’ll come back to that.

Arlene: Yep. And number six is good food served on the table, so the food of conversation around a table and the nutritional food, so that we’re not living on chips and soda.

Jim: That’s good.

Arlene: And, uh, number seven is love is spelled T-I-M-E, and it’s that good ole time that you need to spend with your kids. And the number eight is launching adults, not babying children – that it’s not our job to keep them for life. It’s our job to send them off for life.

Jim: When you said that, at first, I was thinking the kids are launching the parents.


Jim: We’re launching adults.

Arlene: Launching them to who knows where.

Jim: Good job, Kids, wait to launch your parents.


Jim: You mean it the other way.

Arlene: The other way around.

Jim: That’s funny. Well, let’s look at number two, uh, parents call the shots. I’m just picking some here.

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: Again, if I’m not touching on the ones you’re interested in, get Arlene’s book or come to the website. We’ll post the eight there, and you can take a look at the definitions. But parents calling the shots, that can sound autocratic. Uh, describe for us what you mean by that. Give us a couple of illustrations of how that works.

Arlene: This is so simple. If we can just simply get Ephesians 6 – children obey your parents – and we just get that, and it’s what the word of God says – it is the Fifth Commandment – honor your father and mother, so that it will go well with you in the land that you’re living. And so this is how God has set it up. So even if we are more comfortable being on an equal plane, being a best friend, being, you know, your supporter and your buddy, if that – you know, but the Bible is telling us you are the authority figure. And that authority figure doesn’t have to be this means, strict, you know, awful – no, this is an authority figure that is loving, that’s providing guidance. Because I think many of us, as parents, we want to be chummy-chummy, instead of saying, “I’m not afraid to be unpopular to make decisions that I know are good for you.”

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: You know, so that whole idea of honor and bringing that back.

Jim: Boy, that’s good. That’s good stuff. Here’s the question of the day.

John: Okay.

Jim: You ready, John?

John: I’m dialed in.

Jim: This is it. The question of the day – how can we encourage obedience?

Arlene: That’s right. It’s like, “I want them to honor me. How do I get them to honor me?”

Jim: Yeah, right.

Arlene: Right? How do I actually get them to believe I have seniority…

Jim: This is…

Arlene: …In this relationship?

Jim: …The obedient part, right?

Arlene: So in the book, I outline four ways to help your kids obey. And I will say the overarching principle here is the belief that you are worthy of obeying. You know, if you’re second-guessing yourself: “Well, maybe they shouldn’t obey me, I’m not a really good parent, maybe I don’t know what I’m doing” – so it has to begin with you realizing I am to be honored, I am to be obeyed because I’m a parent. And, of course, as a parent, you’re trying to strive for them to obey you on good things, on good, healthy things for them. So first of all, you can set up clear expectations. Sometimes they don’t know to obey because they simply don’t even know what they’re doing. So before you go to grandma’s house, you say, “These are the things we expect. We expect that you’re not gonna run through the house because grandma and grandpa don’t like that. We expect that you will not fight because Grandma is 80, and that will really bother her. So don’t fight…

Jim: This is good.

Arlene: …With each other.”

Jim: This sounds like real life.

Arlene: “Do that – do that in the car beforehand.” You know, I’ve had my kids, like, be really loud in the car. I’m – “What are you doing?” “We’re getting ready for grandma.”


It’s, like, okay. So you’re setting up your kids to succeed in a new situation. “We’re going to a new Sunday school class. There will be strangers there. You won’t know anyone. And I just want you to look for one person, smile at them and befriend them.”

Jim: That’s good. It’s just teaching them.

Arlene: You’re giving them expectations…

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: …And have them obey that. The second thing is practice, practice, practice. So let’s say you’re having trouble in the grocery store because they’re loud or they, you know, want – they’re real whiny about what they want, etc. You go to the grocery store just for practice, not to get the stuff on your list, but just to practice this is how we go do the grocery store. And when they throw their fit, “Oh, we’re leaving.”

Jim: And you just go.

Arlene: And, you know, and there’s a punishment there.

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: And maybe if they did it well, it would be, “Hey, you get to pick something out because you did really well in the grocery store.”

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: So you’re practicing. The third thing is drama. So some of your kids love drama. And so it is the idea of, you know, “Okay, it’s the first day of school, let’s act this out. This is how – I’m the teacher. This is how you -” and use drama to act out this is how you…

Jim: Oh, that kind of drama.

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: I thought you were saying kids are just drama.

Arlene: Yeah, not the – not the other drama.


So physically use drama. “I’m your teacher. You’re at a new school setting. Here’s what we do. Here’s what we expect of you to obey.” And then the last may be the most powerful, and it’s praying specifically, “God, give my child an obedient heart.”

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: “And give my child a moldable heart, a heart that seeks wisdom, a heart that seeks knowledge. God, give them that.” And those are ways you can help your child be obedient to you.

Jim: Arlene, I want to make sure that we balance this with – I’m thinking of – we just pick a stereotypical situation, maybe the overbearing father to leave it in that kind of category. Certainly, moms can be that way as well. How do we recognize in ourselves that we – we’re not loving our children, we’re only about the rules, we’re only confrontational, we’re only demanding? Um, sometimes we can feel a little bit of guilt in that area, especially if you’re in the heat of battle there trying to get kids to be obedient. And then you feel guilty, like I was over the top. Uh, how do you know when you are too consistently over the top?

Arlene: And for that parent who’s listening, that – the book title may be better Parents Smiling. Like…

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: …You need to be more relaxed.

Jim: Yeah, not rising, but…

Arlene: You know, most – most parents – many parents they err towards being too gracious to their kids. But for the parents that you know, like, “Wow, I’m maybe too strict,” and that comes that strategy that love is spelled time – that if you’re going to have the rules, you also have to have fun time, that you need that relationship with your child, that you have to ask yourself, are there times that I’m actually having fun with my child? Like, do we laugh together? Do we smile together? Do – you know, if I was my child, and I had to look at my face all day long, you know, would I be afraid, or would I be okay with this? And for a parent, you need to ask this question because it’s true. You do need the rules, but you must have the relationship, or those rules don’t mean a thing.

Jim: Right.

Arlene: So you need both. And there has to be time for fun and levity because that paves the way for the rules.

Jim: I don’t think anybody has coined a better phrase than Josh McDowell with that.

Arlene: Yes.

Jim: The rules without relationship lead to rebellion.

Arlene: Absolutely.

Jim: And that’s a great formula for parents to remember.

John: Well, some super, uh, insight and encouragement from Arlene Pellicane today on Focus on the Family. And, uh, Parents Rising is the title of her book.

Jim: See it at a movie theater near you.

Arlene: That’s right.


I love that.

John: Or if you’re like the parent she was just describing, parents smiling…

Arlene: Smiling.

John: …Is the subtitle.

Jim: I like that, too.

John: Uh, look for Arlene’s book and a CD or download of this broadcast at

Jim: And, Arlene, uh, kind of following that train of thought we were just talking about, strategy number three is how to get your kids introduced to rules and boundaries in the family. How are we gonna do that? How do we start talking to the kids about rules and this is the expectation?

Arlene: My husband, when he was young, he had this little poodle named Fluffy. And he remembers that Fluffy would only…

Jim: Is he still in counseling?


John: That’s the kind of dog…

Arlene: The next dog…

John: …That bit me.

Arlene: …Would be Rocky, you know.

Jim: Your husband’s dog was named Fluffy. Wait a minute.

Arlene: It sounds like a bunny rabbit, right?

Jim: It does. But that’s okay. It’s therapy.

Arlene: So sweet Fluffy knew where she could go in the house – that the linoleum was her territory, and the other parts weren’t. And James had this thought, like, if a dog can be trained where to go, surely my baby and – you know, as they grow up, can know where to go too. So we put the blue painting tape across the line of the kitchen when our babies started crawling. And when baby Ethan would come to the tape, we would stop, and we would do, in sign language, no, and we’d look very harsh and very mean. And we’d say no. And he got that really fast. Like, this blue line means no. So he would trot right up to the blue line – crawling baby – and stop. Now, when our kids – we’re like a circus show. When our friends came over, and we show them the blue line, they’d say, “No way, no way.” And then the baby really stopped. They’re like, “That’s ridiculous.” And then they said, “Wait till your child starts walking. That blue line will not stop your walking child.” But James had that stubbornness – that parents-rising stubbornness of, like, “Oh, no, my child will – can do that.”


And so when Ethan got bigger, he’d stop right on a dime. He’d walk right up to that blue line. And he knew the kitchen was out of bounds for him. And when he turned about three or four, we took off the blue tape. And we said, “You’re now free to enter the kitchen.” And he did it. And why could he do that? Because we had this expectation that this is your boundary. We enforced it, you know, when he was a baby. So when he was a baby, he learned I’m not supposed to do this. And it just carried over. It just stuck with him. And so with your kids, just know they’re really never too young or too old to learn the new boundaries you’d put into place. Maybe the new boundary is, “Hey, your cellphone is being charged in my room overnight instead of your room overnight” – to your teenager. And that’s a new boundary. And you can enforce that. And to young kids, you can teach them more than you think. Think of this little baby and the blue line. Your kids can do more than you think, and you can enforce boundaries early. And it makes your life easier as they grow up.

Jim: And he’s a teenager now.

Arlene: He’s 13 years…

Jim: So is he doing okay?

Arlene: Yeah, he loves the kitchen. So we certainly can find that. But you know what? Because the boundary was placed in his life as a young kid, now that he’s 13, the funnel can open up because he’s able to make decisions on his own because he had those boundaries young.

Jim: He knows how to do it.

Arlene: He knows.

Jim: The mechanism…

Arlene: So now he doesn’t need the blue tape. He can figure things out on his own, which is kind of cool.

Jim: That’s what you want. All right, strategy seven – love is spelled time. You’ve mentioned it three or four times. Be specific. People talk quantity, quality. Uh, you’re counseling me as a parent. What should I be aware of?

Arlene: So you know how kids do all these activities, right? You’re in sports. You’re in ballet. You go to all these things. And so parents – but our time is, like, chauffeur time a lot or just sitting on the sideline time.

Jim: Yeah, it is.

Arlene: So we Pellicanes are a little strange. So we thought, “If we’re going to spend time doing an activity, let’s do it all together.” And so…

Jim: Oh my.

Arlene: …It began because our daughter Noelle, when she was in elementary school, my husband saw a boy, like, pull her arm. And when she saw that, he was like, my girl needs to learn martial arts.


Jim: Oh, no.

Arlene: Like, something, like, clicked…

Jim: Good.

Arlene: …In his mind. And so before I knew it, we were all in martial arts together, all wearing matching dragon T-shirts – parents included. And we, as parents, joined the kids class, which they allowed us to do. So it was, like, 20 kids and James and I in the back row. And we, my friends, have done this for five years, and it is because we believe in love is spelled T-I-M-E. So find an activity that you like together. So many families, we watch each other do stuff, but we don’t do anything together. And believe me, this is a stretch. I am so nonathletic. You know, I took bowling for my college sport, you know.


Arlene: So like, I am not…

John: No date. Hey!

Arlene: I am not…

Jim: …That’s an athletic event…

Arlene: Exactly. But, you know…

Jim: …Right there.

Arlene: …Obviously, I am not this amazing athlete. And so we have done biking. We have done rollerblading, skiing, whatever – all these things to be together as a family. It could be chess. It could be board games. It could be sitting at the library together. It could be learning how to cook together. But choose an activity where you can spend time – because that’s really good for boys. Boys don’t want to just, like, sit…

Jim: No.

Arlene: …And, like, talk to you, like, “let’s have coffee and talk.”

John: Even your face…

Arlene: They don’t…

John: Is sour.

Arlene: What boy wants to do that? But a boy will bike with you. A boy will fish with you.

Jim: Board games.

Arlene: A boy will do a board game with you.

Jim: We do a lot of board games.

Arlene: Yeah. So pick things that your family can do together so that you are actually spending time because that communicates so much love to them.

Jim: Here’s one I want to spend a little time with because I think launching your kids – you know, I – I don’t like the formulaic kind of connotation of it, but you can do some things that will enhance, uh, the outcome. It doesn’t guarantee it. You can…

Arlene: That’s right.

Jim: …Do everything right.

Arlene: Yep.

Jim: Mom and Dad, I’m telling you, don’t beat yourself up if the child chooses a different…

Arlene: Yes.

Jim: …Path. And I get that. But your strategy eight – launching adults, not babying children – uh, talks about that. We’ve all heard the term helicopter parent, and we’ve got all kind – mower – I mean, lawnmower parent, what have you. I don’t know what that one is, but, you know, it gets closer and closer, I guess. What are you driving at there?

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: And how do we launch effectively?

Arlene: Yeah, it’s the idea that don’t do for your kids what they can do for themselves. So you don’t have to pack your lunch for your eighth grader. You don’t have to do laundry for your high schooler. You don’t have to do those things. They can do that themselves. You talk about the lawnmower, the mower. So my husband James was teaching Ethan how to mow the lawn. You know, he’s upper elementary school. He’s teaching him how to mow the lawn. And so I go around the corner, and I see Ethan struggling with the big grass bag, trying to put it in our yard waste. And I just see him struggling, struggling. Oh, Ethan, I’ll help you. And I pull open the waste bucket so he can do it, right? James comes around the corner. “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m helping Ethan.” “No, no, no, no, no, don’t help Ethan.” And I’m like, “Why can’t I help Ethan?” Come to find out James had just had this talk with him, saying…


Arlene: …”You can do this. You just have to prop open the lid, and then you dump the grass in. You can do this. You got this. You can do this.” And then, of course, he finds that mom is hovering, fixing it – right? – doing the lawn.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Arlene: So it was so funny. So a man will look at that and say, “My son is becoming a young man,” right? And then we moms can say, “Oh, look, at the poor baby. He needs mommy.”

Jim: He can’t do it.

Arlene: “He needs mommy to lift up the trash can for him,” you know. And so the roles can be reversed. But oftentimes, there is a person, usually the mom, that is like, “Oh, let me get this for you. You know, let me help you.” And of course you want to help your children. But when we hover too much, and we do too much – you know, I think kids have cellphones not just for the kids but for the parents. Because we want to know…

Jim: Absolutely.

Arlene: …Where is our child? What is happening? You know, we send our child, 13 years old, two miles on his bicycle without a cellphone to school every day, and he does just fine. Why do we do that? Because we want to teach him, like, self-reliance. You know, my husband would say, I’d go on my bike everywhere when I was a kid. If I got a flat tire, I had to figure it out. I had to learn how to fix that. And that’s what our son will do. You know, and that’s so foreign in this day and age where mom and dad come in, and we swoop in, and we rescue everything. And moms and dads, we have to calm down. We got to let our kids figure stuff out on their own.

Jim: Yeah, I can – I’m just laughing because I’m thinking of mom and dad who pack the backpack for the kid with green slime in case they get a flat.


You know, there’s a bottle of green slime they could fill the tire up with. I would think that’s a good idea, but maybe not. All right, let’s, uh, move to ROBS. You’ve got an acronym – uh, ROBS. What is it? And let’s touch on a couple of ‘em.

Arlene: The idea here is just finding out what those values are that are important to family. So as you launch those adults, what do you want your kids to remember from your home? And so we took this from coach Lou Holtz and kind of changed it.

Jim: That’s pretty good.

Arlene: Yeah, we figured that was a good source.

Jim: This is what he would teach his players.

Arlene: He would teach his players. So the R stands for right. Do what’s right. The O stands for do unto others – do unto others as you would have them do to you. The B stands for do your best – you know, work with excellence. And the S is smile. Like, go through life…

Jim: I like that.

Arlene: …And smile at other people. So as you go through life, and we’re launching these adults, you can talk about it, you know. And so if something happened to school, well, did you do the right thing? Did you think of others? Did you do your best? Did you try for excellence? And were you smiling? Were you pleasant, kind? So it just helps them guide that this is – these are the values that are important to us as a family. And so you can talk about that as a family. When your child leaves your nest, what are the things that – oh, that’s what – that’s what a Daly would do, that’s what a Fuller would…

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: …Do. You know, what are those things that you want your family to be known for?

Jim: I like that. I may print that out. We can post that at the website with your permission, Arlene.

Arlene: Absolutely.

Jim: Just those four. And that’d be something for your family to adopt or adapt…

Arlene: Yes…

Jim: …Right?

Arlene: …Absolutely.

Jim: Um, the big question at the end here is why is failure so important? What does it teach us? And there are so many biblical references to this. I don’t think you can find a strong character in the Bible that didn’t go through failure and through a valley. Let’s just think of King David.

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, but there’s so many others. Almost every person that God uses, He brings through a difficult time to teach them and train them. And why should it be any different for our children?

Arlene: I think what we have to concentrate on here is resiliency. So after the failure happens, how do we respond? You know, I have one of my children, and they are such an amazing child. But once, they signed my name on a field trip thing because they’d forgotten to do it, and it was due, so they just scribbled my name. But when the teacher asked my child, “Did you do this, or did your mother do it?” She got really nervous and said, “My mother did it.” And the teacher knew that was not…

Jim: Yeah, by the handwriting.

Arlene: …Was not right. And so that was a huge thing. And then restoring trust with that teacher who says, “I always trust you. But in this instance, you were not honest.” But I tell you what – that failure episode taught my child a lot – taught my child that you can find forgiveness and reconciliation because they totally reconciled with their teacher, taught that I can bring my failure to my parent, and my parent will not freak out. You know, I had my child write a very detailed letter of apology to that teacher, but that was what happened after that. And there was understanding. We didn’t speak of it again. I don’t think – I don’t think the other siblings know about it until now.


Jim: Right. We’re just gonna speak about it on Focus on the Family.

John: Arlene reveals all.

Arlene: Until I say it.

Jim: Sorry.

Arlene: Yeah. So you know, have your children realize they’re not gonna do everything perfectly, and that’s okay. And if you don’t make the team, that’s all right because…

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: You know, don’t go in there as a parent saying, “Why didn’t my kid make the team? My kid’s the best one out there. You better put my kid in there.” No.

Jim: Wow, there is so much of that.

Arlene: Let your kid fail so that when they’re an adult, and they don’t get chosen for the promotion, they can handle that.

Jim: Yeah.

Arlene: When they ask the girl for the date, and she says no, they can handle that. It’s very important to teach your children failure so they can succeed later in life.

Jim: And that’s good. And sometimes you do well as a parent, and sometimes you swing and you miss. And I remember Troy, he did that. He went out for a basketball team. There were, like, 40 guys going out for 12 spots. And first night, he – he was feeling good.

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: He got back in the car, and he said, “I made it, Dad.”

Arlene: Yeah.

Jim: Because they cut, you know, 20 kids that night. And I knew the second that was gonna be a little more difficult. And he went. I was anticipating he may not make it. He’s a – jumps in the car, and he’s a little quieter than the night before. I asked, “You know, how’d you do? Did you make it?” And he said, “No, they – they cut me. But,” he said, “I was really glad I got this far.”

Arlene: Good for him.

Jim: So it was a good.

Arlene: See, that’s really good.

Jim: That’s a good response.

Arlene: Absolutely.

Jim: And I said, “Well, you know, you gotta learn in the off-season here, shoot some hoops and then maybe try again next time.” So…

Arlene: And that’s a great phrase, isn’t it? – after failure, learn in the off-season?

Jim: Right.

Arlene: So you didn’t get it, but there’s a lot to learn in the off-season. 


Jim: Yeah, and it’s so true. And, you know, we live in such a wonderful country that if you apply yourself – really apply yourself – you really can do almost anything. And the Lord will open doors to you. Arlene, this has been terrific. It’s flown by. Parents Rising, the movie near you.


The parents rising – but, uh, what a great book and what terrific material for parents to help that resiliency – developing that resiliency in your children. Uh, that is so good. Let me also remind our listeners, we’ve got the seven traits of effective parenting assessment that they can get here at Focus on the Family. Just go to the website. It’ll show you where you’re doing well and where you need maybe a little help. And we have resources associated with that.

And, of course, Arlene’s great book is also there available for you – a wonderful tool to give you insights on how to help your kids get through the tough times but not avoiding them and so many other helps there. If you can make a gift to Focus on the Family, we’ll say thank you by sending it along to you. If you can’t afford it, contact us anyway. We’ll have friends that I hope will underwrite the cost of that.

But, Arlene, it’s been great having you back.

Arlene: Thanks so much for having me. 

John: And stop by the website to make a generous donation and get resources like Arlene’s book, Parents Rising, and while you’re there take the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment. It’s that free tool that Jim mentioned. All of this at Or call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, and we’ll tell you more.

I hope you can join us next time. We’re gonna be hearing from Lisa Harper. She shares about how she came to grips with her own unhappiness and how she’s found true happiness in God.


Lisa Harper: I would paste a smile on my face and use happy inflection and all the while thinking: “I don’t know if I can keep hiking up this hill. It’s just too steep.”

End of Teaser


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Parents Rising

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