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Teaching Kids to be Grateful (Part 1 of 2)

Teaching Kids to be Grateful (Part 1 of 2)

Author Susie Larson shares practical ways for parents to teach their children gratitude, especially during tough times. (Part 1 of 2)

Teaser:

Child #1: I’m thankful for my country.

Child #2: I’m thankful for my family.

Child #3: I’m thankful for my dog, Briar.

Child #4: I’m thankful for my mom and dad.

Child #5: I’m thankful for everything that God made.

Child #6: I’m thankful for my school.

Child #7: I’m thankful for all the animals in the world.

Child #8: I’m t I’m thankful for the people who help us through the hard days in our lives.

Child #9: I’m thankful for my friends.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, quite a list of thankfulness there, isn’t it and a wonderful way to begin this week with those children expressing from the heart some things they’re grateful for. This is “Focus on the Family” with Focus president, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and today we’ll be helping you encourage an attitude of gratitude in your children.

Jim Daly: John, you know, I think our children pick up from us what we’re thankful for. They hear it in our tone. If you’re not thankful for the garbage man that knocked over your garbage, you probably are expressing that or the real thankfulness that they’ll hear if somebody who’s done something for you and you really are grateful.

Learning to be grateful for the big and small things applies to everyone, no matter you rage. And today I want to acknowledge that we have someone, a team member here with us, Lisa Anderson, who heads up our Boundless effort for singles. And I want to say, welcome to you, Lisa.

Lisa Anderson: Hey, thanks, Jim. It’s always great to be here and I absolutely love Thanksgiving, though I’m not always the best at being thankful. Um …

Jim: So, what are you so thankful for right now?

Lisa: I am thankful for a number of things. I’m thankful for I’ll say my friendships right now, because living away from my family, I actually have the privilege of having my mom visit, but that’s kind of few and far between, those visits. So, to have friendships here that I get to cultivate and have people in my life is something—

Jim: Do you get to—

Lisa: –that’s important to me.

Jim: –go to someone’s home or spend time at Thanksgiving with people you care about?

Lisa: Yeah, I usually mix it up. Sometimes I go to friends’ homes or their family members’ homes. And sometimes I host Thanksgiving. I think I’ve only made one attempt at a full turkey yet though, so, I’m not thrilled.

Jim: Well, you should never—

Lisa: I excel in side dishes (Laughter)

Jim: –you should never eat a full turkey.

Lisa: Well, I know.

Jim: I tried once; it didn’t work. I’m kidding (Laughter).

Lisa: That is not good. No, I excel in side dishes and desserts.

Jim: Those are good actually. Do you do yams and all that?

Lisa: I do actually. I do like this sweet potato and apple casserole.

Jim: Ah, well, to get to it, our discussion today is going to encourage all of us to look for the many, many blessings in everyday life. And sometimes we just miss ’em and it’s not just busyness that keeps us from being thankful. It can also be hard during a time of difficult, loneliness. Some people right now as we head into the holiday season, they will be exceptionally lonely, because they don’t have people to spent the time with and that can really get you down.

But you know what can lift you up is the Scripture and especially there in Ephesians 5:20, where we are encouraged to give thanks for everything—the difficult stuff and the fun stuff, the easy stuff. In all things give thanks.

And to help us do that, our guest today is well-known author and speaker, Susie Larson. She knows about going through hard times. You’re gonna hear that today and it was during those difficult days in which she learned to give thanks even when she didn’t feel like it. Susie has her own radio show up in your own neck of the woods, Lisa, up in Minnesota.

Lisa: I was born there, Northern Minnesota.

Jim: I’ve got two “Minnesotians,” but Susie, welcome to the program.

Susie Larson: Great to be with you, so glad to just join you guys both today. And I’ve been on the other side of the mic, so this is sorta fun. (Laughter) I’ll try not to, you know, turn it around and ask you questions.

Jim: Well, you know, it’s all fair game, but let me ask you right off the bat, you grew up in a rather difficult situation. You didn’t have a lot and when you got married, you didn’t have a lot. How did you begin to instill in your kids that attitude of gratefulness, when maybe from a materialistic perspective, you didn’t have much?

Susie: Well, just to clarify, I grew up in a very loving family, a big family and we basically would be considered middle class. But some things happened outside my home at the hands of teenage boys that forever changed my identity and marked my life with such fear.

So, coming into marriage, even though I was loved by my family, when certain things happen that kind of assault your senses so to speak, you lose sight and you lose footing of who you really are. So, coming into marriage, I was a real passionate follower of Christ, but I still had my own fears, insecurities and hang-ups. And it is amazing how parenting will bring your stuff to the surface.

And so, on one hand I had a passion to raise kids to be Christ followers, but I had my own fears and insecurities and God in His wisdom, allowed us to walk through a number of years of health crises. And so, right away going into marriage, I saw my friends who were several years down the road, they had their health. They had a decent bank account. Their kids word name-brand clothes. I thought that was gonna be my story, too and nothing could have been further from the truth. Because of medical debt, we had no money and that’s when the financial hardship was really significant.

Jim: Susie, you’re relating to so many people. I mean, we’ve come through very difficult economic times. We’ve had, you know, a lot of people here at Focus who have written us that have struggled. Some still struggling, many still struggling. So, you can identify with those struggles in such a powerful way.

Jim: But how did you keep hope alive? What did you do?

Susie: It was just an invitation from the Lord I will tell you, because I was the poster child for fear and worry and insecurity and the “what if?” You know, if these things happen to me, what worse thing will happen. That was just a truth and so, especially in the contrast of friends who are doing well financially and having a struggle, it only brought my fears to the surface in a bigger way.

And I remember one morning and I write about this in Grateful Kids, where you know, I was also battling a disease, so I had Lyme disease as a 20-something with three little kids and massive medical debt. I couldn’t …

Jim: What are those symptoms in Lyme’s disease? Just help us understand what you were facing.

Susie: Well, initially they thought it was MS or a brain tumor, so it’s horrifying neurological symptoms. Absolute fatigue, joint and bone and body pain, had memory loss, short-term memory loss. And so, I really mean it when I say the contrast of my life from my friends was significant.

And so, I couldn’t see a way out financially, physically, even emotionally, because this disease, before we knew what it was, was taking over my body. It was like something was in my body, killing me without my permission. How am I supposed to not worry? I had three little babies to take care of.

Jim: How old were your sons at that time?

Susie: Well, I was bit during my third pregnancy and I didn’t know. My face started to go numb during the pregnancy, so I had a baby, a 22-month-old and a 4-year-old. And we had bill collectors calling, ’cause we had more medical debt than income.

And so, it was horrifying, Jim. It just was. I can’t paint a pretty picture of it. And so, my fear was so in my face every day and trying to crawl through my days. I literally did lay on the floor, so it was too much energy to stand up. I’d lay on the floor while my kids played. And I’d just pray that God would get me through the day. It was a dry and weary land.

But I remember one morning getting up, feeling the same heaviness, like how can I find joy today? I know we don’t have any food in the cupboard. And friends have helped, but I can’t ask for help again. And suddenly, it really was the Holy Spirit in me, a flutter of opportunity, because God just spoke to my heart and said, “You do have some pancake mix.” And I went, “That I do.”

And so, I had this idea. I just really believe it was straight from God. I made one big pancake, ’cause I didn’t have enough to make multiple pancakes for three little mouths. And I put a candle in the middle. I remember my boys sittin’ around the table and we were just dyin’ on the vine. My hubby was working two and three jobs. But I walk out with one plate and four forks with a candle in the middle and they’re all like, “Who’s birthday?” you know, they were so excited. And I said, “We’re gonna celebrate, because God is good. We’re all together. Daddy is workin’ hard for us and we have this pancake. Some people don’t have any food.” And so, they thought it was the best day ever. We ate the pancake, went out into the sandbox to play.

And I learned such a lesson in that moment, that Scripture does talk about, “In all things give thanks.” And I think when you’re not thankful, when you actually go farther and you embrace ingratitude, I believe you go spiritually blind, ’cause you don’t see what you have. But when you start to find reasons for thankfulness, where you almost go on a treasure hunt in your day, your eyes do open up, because you have more than you think.

Jim: Hm.

Susie: And I learned something from that point, so I’m saying that to be honest with you. I wasn’t born grateful. I was born afraid. I had a lot of fear and anxiety, but something happens when you give thanks.

Jim: Well, and I would think that none of us as sinners are born grateful. There’s gotta—

Susie: Probably true.

Jim: –be something in our heart that changes even for a person who hasn’t made a commitment to Christ, there’s gotta be a seed in there that says, there’s something out there. I believe in God; I may not understand Him and for that I’m thankful in these areas.

But we’re going really fast. I want to go back a little bit. I know your book, Growing Grateful Kids is about how to instill these values in your children and we will get there. But I’m really intrigued by your quick comment there about what you experienced before you got married, abuse it sounds like. And if you’re willing, can I open that door a bit so people again, can understand how you came into marriage, what had happened to you, because I think it’s important. People that are struggling and we all struggle, to get a perspective of how you could go from such difficulties, such pain and then get married, have expectations and once again, meet with pain, but still have hope. That’s an important message for people to hear. So, let’s go back a little bit if we can.

Susie: Sure.

Jim: What was happening in your life before marriage? What went on?

Susie: So, as I said, I grew up in a wonderful big family. My dad was the mayor of our city for 27 years and loving parents. I remember our backyard backed up to a backyard of a foster home. And my dad told me, he said, “Kids are gonna come through this foster home who have had rough lives. And I want you to be kind. I want you to play with them. Don’t always do what they do. Just know that they may make different choices than you.” And so, I said, “Okay.”

And so, I had different friends every summer it seemed, ’cause kids came and went from the foster home. And we lived in this kinda two-story house that was grand central station with seven kids. And so, kids came and went; friends came and went.

But when I saw those brothers’ friends bikes out front, I just wasn’t in the mood to be teased or bantered with or whatever. And also, some of those brothers’ friends were getting into things that I … made me nervous and I was 9-years-old.

And so, I remember just thinking, I’m gonna go down into the laundry room, get a change of clothes and go up in my room and read a book till my mom gets home from work. And so, I went to the laundry room and I’m diggin’ in the dryer and the door shut behind me. And I turned around it was a handful of my brothers’ friends—no brother. And like I said, we had a two-story house. Kids were everywhere.

But they were staring at me and in a matter of moments, they had me pinned on the floor. And so, that’s as much as I want to say, but I came out of that place so confused about my identity, because in my mind’s eye, even though my dad really didn’t say it, I thought there was two kinds of girls and you were born that way. It was in your DNA, like you couldn’t help it. And I just thought the foster care friends were this way and I was this way. I was born that way.

But when that happened, I was so confused about my value and my safety. I didn’t really understand even at 9-years-old that it was something that happened to me. And so, to be honest, I walked into that situation a couple more times with those brothers’ friends.

And then I was 10-years-old and walking home from school and I saw those bikes out in front again and I thought, I don’t care if God made me this way, those boys will never touch me again. And I was just so confused. I had an awareness that God was real, but I didn’t have a personal knowledge of Him.

Jim: That’s a lot to carry as a–

Susie: It was.

Jim: –9-, 10-year-old girl.

Susie: I remember every night pulling my sheet up to my chin and saying, can this be my shield of protection so nobody can touch me? I just remember that every night. But at 10-years-old, this is probably hard to believe, but it happened. I saw those bikes out there and so I thought, like as I said, I don’t care if God made me this way, no one’s ever touching me again.

And I walked around the baseball diamond and a different group of boys were in the dugout and all I heard was, “Get her.” And I’m sure they were high on something, because they ran me down. I had never seen them before and knocked me down and beat me terribly. They pulled my hair, kicked me in the stomach, punched me in the face. And I was 4′ tall. I was 10-years-old and I’m curled in a ball and they’re laughing wildly and jerking my hair and punching my face.

And if you’ve never had a fist to the face, you don’t know what it is. I mean, we see these scenes acted out on TV and we’re so desensitized to it. I don’t care who you are. It is traumatizing to be punched in the face.

And so, those two incidents in my life changed my sense of self, safety, ’cause I had loving parents. I had a great home, but if you can get beat up across the street and pinned down under your own roof, nobody could tell me I was safe anywhere.

Jim: Right.

Susie: And so, jump ahead, that’s where the fear came from.

Lisa: So, I mean, this is amazing to me, because I never had a story like that, Susie, but how you get to a place of gratefulness out of that. I mean, I think it’s so easy for us, especially in first world countries, to play the comparison game.

Susie: Yes.

Lisa: And I know for me growing up, it was very much, God is going to reward my good behavior or life is gonna be easy for me if I’m honoring God and the people that have the stuff have the easy life, have the great, you know, amazing relationships and whatever, they’re the ones that God has put favor on because they’ve earned it. And so, to come out of a place of, oh, my word! You know, did I deserve this? What does this look like? Who now is my identity? How do you turn that around? How do you even move out of that?

Susie: Well, that’s a great question, because if you live out a lie, it doesn’t make the lie that’s underneath it a truth. And let me explain what I mean. But once I got into junior high, I had an athletic ability, so I became a gymnast. I could sing, so I joined a choir and I got accepted on the Twelve Tones group. And I became the teacher’s pet in the school office. I did everything I could not only to prove my worth, but to stay busy till my parents got home. I became a striver and I really got accolades for that, but it didn’t help that underlying lie that I believed.

Jim: What were you trying to achieve by being a striver? I think this is important.

Susie: I was trying to make up for the lost cause that I believed myself to be. And my parents didn’t know what happened in the laundry room. They knew that I’d been beaten, ’cause I came home beaten and they wrapped me in their arms and you know. But the two-fold incidents really are what devastated me so much.

And so, I thought I had this big debt column and I thought if I could achieve enough, if anybody could ever find out who I really was, there’d be enough in the asset column to offset the debt column.

Jim: Does it make sense when I say this, because in other situations with friends of mine, they’ve described it this way, that you were trying to make yourself clean.

Susie: Yeah, I think I was trying to make myself worth something.

Jim: Find worthiness.

Susie: Yeah, uh-hm. And so, I became a Christian in 8th grade and started to read the Bible and fall in love with Jesus. I understood why I needed a Savior, ’cause I felt like the worst sinner, but I didn’t understand His love. And so, you translate that into early marriage and I was an active Christian. I believed like you did, Lisa, that I transferred my striving into being a super Christian. I served in every way possible. I was a super Christian.

And so, I really see now it was God’s grace that allowed, so two of my three pregnancies, I was on bed rest—three months and six months on bed rest. During the six months on bed rest, I’d literally gotten up for one day and that was the day I was bit by the deer tick. So, after six months on bed rest, I delivered our third son and went down with Lyme disease.

And in that place where we didn’t know I had Lyme’s yet and my husband, you’ve gotta keep in mind now. We were in our 20s and that man had to come home from work repeatedly because I’m trying to stop labor. So, high-risk pregnancy. We delivered the baby. All the friends have been giving us meals, caring for our kids, had gone away and I didn’t blame ’em. I’m like, go find a new friend (Laughing). I was such a debt and imagine now, with the lie that I believed, I couldn’t contribute anything and I was costing everything. So, the worst parts of my fear and insecurity were being exposed, because I was in no position to help and I needed so much help.

And so, once we delivered our third son, most of our friends sort of like … and I don’t blame them. I mean, they … like I gotta go. And so, that’s why I was crawling through life as a mom, because I almost couldn’t bear to ask anybody for help.

When this thing flared up before we knew what was wrong, my hubby scooped me up in his arms. Came home from work, ’cause I was having a spell. Brought me into ER. They said, “Well, we think it’s MS or a brain tumor. Take her home and schedule your tests.”

Now you have to know, driving home on this grey winter Minnesota day, it was just the darkest, darkest hour of my life, because I felt like I could not outrun my fears and insecurities. Satan was having his way in my life and God had lost my address. And I didn’t know what I had done to chase Him away. But it really confirmed the lies I believed about myself.

And my husband carried me into our bedroom and tucked me into bed and he was ready to walk away and I grabbed his arm and I pulled him close and you will probably not appreciate this, but I said this. I said, “You have to divorce me. I want you to leave me. I’m gonna go live with my parents and I want you to marry someone who loves Jesus and will play with our kids and be funny and be full of life and full of health. But you have given so much, I can’t bear the fatigue that I see on your face. It’s confronting everything I hate about myself and I can’t bear to have my kids see me live on the sidelines.”

And I’m ranting and he stopped me, this 20-something husband and he put his finger up to my lips and he said, “You listen to me. You are my bride and you always will be. And if I have to kneel down to kiss you because you’re in a wheelchair, then that’s what I’m gonna do, so enough with this talk.”

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Susie: And that was a game-changing moment for me, because I didn’t know God’s love like that either and it was like Jesus was behind the face of my husband and it changed how I viewed marriage, but it also changed how I viewed God’s love, because it was like God allowed my house of cards to come falling down–all my striving and straining and performing and I was pretty good at it– and showed that massive crack in my foundation. And it was just like the Lord Himself said, “This walk is in response to My love. It is not an ‘ought to.’ It is not a ‘should do.’ It is a ‘get to.’ And anytime it becomes obligation and striving and straining, you will resent it. You’ll resent Me and you won’t be grateful.”

Jim: Susie, I mean, I’m seein’ it in your eyes, your tears about that moment. That had to be a bedrock moment in your marriage. Yet so many people are living right where you used to be, a lot of women particularly, they don’t feel worthy. They feel like they’re letting their families down. They’re not the people they want to be. They’re not the Christians they want to be, for all kinds of reasons that the enemy speaks into their heart.

How did you go from that reality of feeling worthless, that you’re not contributing? You had your husband’s assurance that he was there, just like the Lord would be there for you, but what happened the next day? What was that practical next thing that made you feel like you could climb out of this hole—a hole that probably felt so deep that you could never climb out of it. What gave you hope?

Susie: It was wrestling this thing to the ground. That’s why this message is so important to me, ’cause I actually got sicker. I got worse before I got better. And I had so many days where symptoms were havin’ their way with me. And the fear was huge and but each of those times I sensed the invitation to give thanks. And I didn’t do it pretty. I didn’t. I threw the pillow across the room sometimes. Where are You? Where are You God? How long till You rescue us, as David says in the Psalms, you know. I want to make sure people know, this was not pretty for me. For every day I had 10 episodes of worry, I might have two episodes of thanks. But then the next day I might have been on the top of the mountain again, saying, no, You will come through for us.

But there was making a choice to believe the truth about my adoption in Christ. Do you know what I’m saying, where I had to accept acceptance, because when we go through hard times, it’s so easy to default and believe the lie about ourselves, about God, about our circumstances; I think Ron Deal often says this, that if we do good, we get good. So, if you’re getting bad, you must have done bad.

And I gotta tell you something. I have learned about suffering. You want to hear from people who are suffering, ’cause they have something to say. And it is wrong theology to look at somebody who has a blessed life and assume they’ve done it all right and look at someone who’s walkin’ through the valley and assume they’ve done it wrong. And so, it was one faith step in front of the other to find reasons to give thanks, put my flag in the ground to say, these truths I’m reading, they don’t feel true to me, but You say they are true, so I’m gonna believe they are true.

Jim: Hm. Susie, you know, at that point though, you have young children. You have all this that you’re battling and I just need to know according to your book,Growing Grateful Kids, I mean, you’re coming from a place where you had to learn it as a 20-something. How do you begin to teach that to your kids? ‘Cause so often, we want to protect and to keep our kids safe. So, how do you allow them to struggle, to learn gratefulness? ‘Cause I think a spoiled heart has a hard time being grateful.

Susie: Indeed.

Jim: And we see that in our children.

Susie: Yeah.

Jim: I would think with the mother heart that you have and the experiences that you had to go through, that you would want to keep your kids locked up in a healthy way to say, don’t go outside. There’s bad things out there. How did you actually learn to release your children to the Lord?

Susie: Well, I was having a pity party one day, cause again, when I looked to the left and right and see how my friends and they’re good friends and they had their own struggles I know, but the contrast of their lives to mine was so significant that I was feeling sorry for myself one day, because my picture of meals, I’d hear my friends say, “Oh, we had this wonderful family outing and we had all these courses and our kids enjoyed it.” And my family meal times were my kids coming around the bed. I’m hooked up to the IV and each of ’em carrying a portion of the meal and sitting around me as we eat. And my hubby and the kids making the meal. I felt so worthless.

And one of my friends said, “Listen. In a day where men and boys don’t know how to treat girls or husbands their wives, your boys are getting a front-row seat in what it looks like to serve their mom and watch their dad. Wrap your arms around this thing and find goodness in it.”

And that was just a great word for me and I just truly pray I don’t sound like a broken record, but going on a treasure hunt in that place going, “We’re together. We’re on this bed, enjoying a meal. Thank You, God.” When we go to the grocery store, I did this all the time, because we had no money. I mean, we would live on tomato soup for weeks at a time. When we finally could get several choices about what to eat, I would buckle my kids in the car and I’d say, “Guys, we have choices this week. Some people have never have choices. You know what it’s like. We haven’t always had choices, but we have choices this week. Let’s thank the Lord.”

Well, I’ll tell you, my youngest son, up until before he left the home, when it was his turn to pray for dinner, several houses later where we had plenty of choices in our cupboard, would pray, “Thank You that we have choices about what to eat.” I just think in our hardship, there is a treasure there and I think that’s a way to not protect them. Don’t pretend it’s not happening. Wrap your arms around it and say, “Even here, this is hard, but God will come through for us. And He’s good and His goodness is not up for grabs.”

Jim: Hm.

Lisa: Susie, it seems that, you know, parents naturally trend toward, I want to protect my kids and I want to give them everything I possibly can. And the standard of living we have is what we’re gonna provide for our kids. But it almost seems in your story, what you’re saying, that your boys learned so much through that hardship. It’s almost like we need hardship, especially in an affluent culture to cultivate that. How do you reconcile the balance between the two, of wanting to protect and provide and shelter your kids with knowing that actually God uses some of the hardest circumstances to really grow gratefulness and grow an understanding of, you know, love and care for other people?

Susie: This might be a different answer than you’re thinking, but I always challenge parents, look at your motive for what you’re doing, because we need to be driven by faith. And if we’re driven by fear, if we’re driven by appearance, we’re driven by performance, anything to inoculate our kids from the struggles of this world, that won’t bear good fruit.

And in fact, in the book I tell a story about when I was in the middle of writing this book, I sat in an airport gate going off for a speaking event. And this teacher who’d been teaching for 30 years, retired early because she couldn’t bear it anymore. And I said, “What couldn’t you bear?” And she said, “Season after season, I would have students [who] had more potential in their pinky than most other kids and they would get into trouble. And I would think, here’s an opportunity to extract that thing from their character to preserve the truest parts of who they are, so they could go on and do and be everything they were meant to be. I’d call on their parents. Their parents would make excuses for them.”

And she said, “I have tracked the kids who come through my classes over 30 years,” and she said, “let me tell you this. The entitled spoiled kids whose parents threw them a soft ball, who’d throw them a mat to soften their fall,” she said, “they ended up with the same attributes are the drug addict kids we worked with.” She said, “Both of ’em were weak in relationship, always thought they were the exception to the rule, the world revolved around them and instead of contributing to their circumstances, always drained it of its resources.” She said, “The kids who actually did the best, not that I’m advocating for it, were the neglected kids, ’cause they didn’t always assume that everything revolved around them. And when they got something, they were usually thankful for it.” She said, “I’m only saying we do not do our kids any kind of favor by overindulging them.”

And so, in my words, we have to interrupt their plans to be selfish, but we also have to interrupt our plans to look at our kids as a source. You’re here to make me look good, you know what I mean? Or you’re here …

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Susie: Yeah.

Jim: I know exactly what you mean. You’re listening to “Focus on the Family.” Susie, we have run out of time just setting up the need to teach our children to be grateful and we’ve begun to touch on it right at the end here. Let’s keep rollin’, come back next time and talk practically about how to do this. Maybe your kids don’t have to go through severe circumstances for you to do a good parenting job in teaching your children how to be grateful. Cn you stick with us?

Susie: I would love that.

Today's Guests

Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll explains how listeners can find freedom from self-imposed and unrealistic standards of perfection in a discussion based on her book, Breaking Up With Perfect: Kiss Perfection Goodbye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You.

Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Being Seen by God

Offering encouragement found in her book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed, Sara Hagerty describes how we can experience God in ordinary, everyday moments, and how we can find our identity in Him apart from what we do.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!