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Being the Intentional Parent Your Child Needs (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date 09/26/2014

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Relationship counselors Bill and Pam Farrel explain how parents can become more intentional in raising their kids by formulating a plan to help them succeed in life. (Part 2 of 2)

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Episode Transcript


Pam Farrel: So I started praying and there in my quiet time and thinking of the healthy families, and so I wrote down all the traits and skills and leadership qualities that were in the healthy kids. And I showed it to Bill when he came home and the list is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. It’s like 100 things long. That day I was very overwhelmed. And I’m like, “Look at all this stuff!” 

Bill Farrel: Which is - isn’t that how a lot of us feel as parents? 

Jim Daly: Oh, yeah!

Bill: We’re just overwhelmed. We - we look at all that needs to be done in these kids’ lives and we just - like how am I ever gonna get it done? Why did God trust me with this? Uh, like it’s impossible.   

John Fuller: That’s a comment made on the last Focus on the Family broadcast about parenting and how you can really lean into some of those challenges and how you can decide to do some things proactively to help your child really succeed in life. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and Jim, Bill and Pam Farrel are back with us. They - they have such great insights and a lot of energy, too. 

Opening Wrap: 

Jim: Absolutely and the thing that I love is the wisdom that they possess. I mean, putting it to Scripture, of course, Bill’s background, both Bill and Pam working with kids in church, as youth leaders and speaking as they’ve done, the 40 books that they’ve written. I mean, it - they’ve got a lot of wisdom, so I am anxious to get back to the discussion.

But let me speak to you. If you have a child, cradle to college, this discussion’s for you.  It’s really about how to do a good job, not a perfect job, but how to do a good job parenting your child to get them ready to launch. Um, and you’re right there with Jean and me and with John and Dena. Uh, you know, we’ve got kids at home, as you do. And uh, this program is really for you. And if you’re a grandparent, man think about what we’re talkin’ about today. Get the CD. Give it to your kids and say, “You need to know this stuff ‘cause we want our grandkids to be as healthy as..." No, you may want to not shout that out there. 


Maybe do it over a cup of coffee and, you know, as grandparents do. 

John: A little more casually. 

Jim: I would know that, yet but uh, first of all, let me welcome both Bill and Pam Farrel back to the program. 


Pam:  Thank you so much. Hey, we are grandparents now. 

Jim:  I know. So, how do you go about doin’ that as a grandparent? 

Pam: You know, the wonderful thing is, um, our son and daughter-in-law invited us out to coffee. And uh, thanked us for parenting and asked us to be a part of their parenting team.

John: Wow. 

Pam: How wonderfully proactive. 

Jim: Well, that is great. Now there... 

Pam: It is. 

Jim: ...might be some coffee chats that go a little differently like, “Mom and Dad, we need you to get out of the way.” 

Pam: Exact - and you know what? We need to receive and hear that, as well. To be a good partner, um, as a grandparent, we need to say, what is my best role? And have that role defined. And offer some alternatives and offer some options and see what our grown kids are comfortable with. Because you know what? This is the time to enjoy the fruit! We don’t have to do everything now. We get to do the fun stuff, hopefully. 

Jim: And it’s good to ask, isn’t it? I like... 

Pam: Yes.

Jim: ...that idea. Ask them what you can do to help support them in raising their children. I mean, that’s awesome. 

Bill: And I would say... 

Jim: I like that.

Bill: anybody who’s gonna ask the question, accept the answer. 


John: Ah. 

Jim: Now that’s a little harder for grandparents. 

Bill: That’s way harder, ‘cause we want to argue with it or correct it. "Well, if they would just listen to our wisdom..." And - and we need to leave all that at home and just say, “Thank you for sharing." 

Jim:  I love that old adage that goes, you know, “Why do grandparents and grandkids love each other so much? It’s because they have a common enemy.” 


Think about it if you don’t get it right off. Uh, it’s the kids and the parent. But uh, you guys, we talked last time about so much good stuff. We talked about character development. I want to start there again, because especially in Christian homes, that’s so much of the discussion, after the kids are down in bed and mom and dad go to bed. It’s the pillow talk. And it usually goes somethin’ like this. “Honey,” speaking from the wife to the husband, “I need more of your help in the spiritual development of the kids. I know you’re busy, but they need their father to talk to them about the Lord.” How do we begin to create a plan - and that sounds exhausting. Create a plan for our kids’ spiritual development? Ugh! Can’t we just do it kind of off the end of a napkin here and write it down? Does it have to be a plan? 

Pam: It does work better as a plan. I mean, that’s kinda how it came out in our life is, Bill was a youth pastor and I showed him a list of 100 character qualities I thought needed to be in our kids’ lives. And I said, “This is a lot of stuff. How do we do it?” And Bill said …  

Bill: Um, well there’s three categories that that trait falls in. They - we want ‘em to learners, leaders, who love God. And what I would say to you, Jim, about your opener is we do want to have a plan, but we want to simplify it. One of the mistakes we see parents make is they get too complicated with their approach to parenting. It overwhelms them and it certainly overwhelms their kids. Because kids are pretty simple in the way they approach life.

And so, we put together this plan for developing character in our kids’ lives, which I would say to parents, that really is your primary goal. ‘Cause like, there’s a lot of stuff you could get involved in with your kids, but the primary goal is to give them the character to develop their own lives as they grow up. And - and so, if you can figure out a simple plan for doing that, it’ll make parenting easier on you.  And it’ll make it more effective in the kids’ lives. 

Pam: And so, learner, leader, love God. Those are the three main traits that we wanted in our kids’ lives. And so I thought what would, you know, honey, what would make it fun, ‘cause I don’t want our things to think they’re born into like Farrel boot camp. Um, so what would make it fun? Well, presents, yeah, like Christmas or birthdays. So, we have a Learner-Leader day once a year, right before school starts, where we negotiate privileges and responsibilities. We have a Learner and Leader chart that people can download at LoveWise, and we’ll put it on your website if you’d like. And um, where you negotiate privileges and responsibilities. And there’s a list of what kids can do at different ages and stages. Like "Mom, you’re not the maid. Dad, you are not..." 

Jim: You’re not the butler. 

Pam: That’s right. Our kids need to be like earning their own way in learning some of these skills and they can do a lot more than you think. And we want them - my goal was to have my daughter-in-laws love me some day because I raised - had raised good husbands, yeah. And um, so learner, leaders that love God. And we choose one character trait off of that list, um... 

Bill: Which is the key to this, is you choose one character trait at a time. 

Pam: Per year, per kid. 

Jim: Per - one per year? 

Bill: So, for instance... 

Jim: That sounds simple. 

Bill: ...this year, we’re working on initiative. And as a parent, you can tie everything you want to work on with your kid to initiative. Next year we’re workin’ on honesty. And if you choose one, everybody knows what the target is and nobody’s overwhelmed by it. And I would say to parents if you develop one character trait in your kid’s life this year, it’s like a magnet. It will draw others to it. And they will develop other character traits, just by the process of working on this one. 

Jim: Wow. 

Pam: And so we - then we would choose the character quality that we thought that child needed after much prayer. You know, we would pray together uh, what we thought, growth and development needed to happen in that child in that year. And then um, we would take them to like or Logos Bible software, and we would encourage them to choose a verse that... 

Bill: For the year. 

Pam: ...for the year that they wanted mom and dad to pray over them. And we posted that verse on everything they owned that year, so they would see it often. And um, that became the focus for that child for that year. I’ll give you a little example. One of our kids was kind of rough around the edges. You know, used his shirt for a napkin, you know, a sleeve for a Kleenex and we’re like, "Aah! No woman ever’s gonna marry you!" So we…  

Jim: Just the sleeve. That’s pretty good. Not the arm and the hand as the Kleenex. 


John: Tablecloth. 

Jim: That’s where we’re at.

Pam: So, his trait that year was "Be a gentleman". And so, I did - I exactly - be a gentleman. And so, I did - so I did all of the Miss Manners kind of things um, with him all year and table manners - which fork to use and all that and… 

John: Did that all work, by the way? 

Pam: Yeah, it took a while. Okay, so here’s the outcome: so, you know, Zach, you walk on the outside so the car hits you, not the girl, you know, that kind of stuff that um, you teach your kids. 

Jim: The car kits you and not the girl. 


John: That’s a gentlemanly thing. 

Pam: You know, chivalry. 

Jim: Now most boys are going, why... 

Pam: What?! 

Jim: we do that? 

Bill: Yeah. 

Pam: Anyway. 

Bill: And - and - and I would say to you, during that year, there - there wasn’t an enthusiastic buy-in, like "Oh, yeah, thanks so much for teaching me. This is awesome!" 

Pam: Right, right. It didn’t…  

Bill: They - they just reluct - he reluctantly worked his... 

Jim: So, don’t give up. 

Bill: ...way through all of it. 

Pam:  But we had a science fair coming up and he’s like, “Mom, you hate it when I burp and I’m supposed to be a gentleman this year. So, what if my science fair project is on what makes you burp? And then I’ll quit doing it.” I’m like, "Great call." And so, he won the whole school science fair with that project that year. And after the science fair, there was a party for like a birthday party. So, my two older boys went to this birthday party. Well, there weren’t enough chairs for the moms, but Zach remembered, “Oh, yeah. You’re supposed to stand up and give the moms your chairs.” So, he elbows the older brother and my boys stand up to offer their chair. Well, my friend, Tammy, she didn’t take the chair. She ran straight to her cell phone and she’s like, “Pam! I think there’s hope. Zach might get married someday.”  


So, it takes a while, but eventually, they catch on. 

John: Oh, my. 

Bill: And again, developing character, it’s uh, it’s a challenging process. Like kids don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I want to become stronger today. I want to become better today. I want to become a better person.” No, you - you have to work this into their life. And so, staying diligent with it and staying at it for a period of time, gives them the message that, "You know what? My parents are gonna - they’re serious about this. They’re stayin’ at this until I learn." 

Pam: And we wanted to celebrate them on Learner-Leader Day, so we chose a gift, a Learner-Leader gift, that applauded the uniqueness that we saw God building into their life. For example, one of our boys early on we figured out he’s great at sports. So, some of his Learner-Leader gifts - we wanted our Learner-Leader gift to be three things. We wanted it to be personal. I thought of you, child. We want it to be practical - something we would buy anyway, not a big cost to your family.

Bill: So, don’t add to the family budget. 

Pam: And we wanted to be prophetic or speak to the promise of potential of that child. So, he’s great at sports, so you know, a gym bag with a verse on it, like “Excel still more.” Or maybe Sports Spectrum, which is kind of like Sports Illustrated, but without the swimsuit edition! You know, those kind of poster of a Christian athlete that’d been signed to him. 

And um, he um, comes to us and he says, “Mom and dad, I - like the kids at my school, they - they like have dreams on their hearts, but they don’t have the self-discipline to get there. And um, I’m thinkin’ that maybe they just need Jesus. And so, what if we had some pizza parties for the kids?” And so, at our house, we invited all those teams over one at a time and at the end of those three pizza parties, over 34 of his friends had come to know Jesus in a personal way. 

Jim: Wow. 

John:  That’s tremendous.

Pam: And Brock and some of his friends founded Fellowship of Christian Athletes um, on that campus which grew to be about 200 strong. And um, at the end of Brock’s high school career, he was given an award called Knight of the Year, which is above Valedictorian. And he was given Athlete of the Year award. And he ended up with a scholarship to Liberty University to be their quarterback. And now, Brock is a coach at a high school, teaching how to become leaders. Developing character in the next generation. 

Jim: How do you though - how do you um, you know, maybe your student or your child isn’t athletic in that way. Hopefully, they have some academic ability, but maybe they’re just average kids. Um, did you have one of those? 

Pam: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Okay, talk about that, as well. 

Bill:  And - and we share that story, because some people who are listening are raising natural leaders. And you need to harness their leadership ability. But if you have more than one child, I guarantee you, you have at least one that was difficult to raise.

Pam: Spirited, that’s what I like to call it! 

Bill: Yeah, but we had one kid that - love to death, but he had the ability to get under my skin and irritate me at the - like he seldom made sense to me.

Jim: And you’ve... 

Bill: And he would…  

Jim: his permission to talk about this, I’m sure. 

Pam: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. 

Bill: He’s actually told us, you - you tell my story and tell parents don’t give up on your dif - difficult kids. ‘Cause this is the kid that like - like all of us have that day in parenting that we pray our kids don’t remember. And mine was with our middle son, Zachary. I - I still - I don’t even remember what he did, but I was so upset at him that I - he was actually on his bed. I was over him and - and I was about to go out of control. And I saw the terror in his eyes and I stopped. 

Pam: He - Bill said, “He’s yours, Pam. I’m walkin’ away.”

Bill: And I just had to walk out. Like I had no parenting skills left at that point for this kid. I just had to walk away. And that was kinda normal with him. He was always doin’ stuff that was irritating and frustrating and was unnecessary. 

Pam: And so, he was - he was our child that is ADD, ADHD um, so he struggled with school. We were doin’ the whole Learner-Leader thing and he was coming right along until he was about 8, he started spiraling down. Bad attitudes, bad grades, just really negative. And so, um, I began - both Bill and I began to pray: what do we do with this kid? We’ve tried like everything. We’ve done all the cool little star charts and like all the positive reinforcement. We did everything we’ve ever heard on Focus on the family, we’re like, "I can’t do this!" 

Bill: And it’s not working! 

Pam: It’s not working. And so one day, Zach, I mean, he wasn’t very verbal and he had a medical issue that he couldn’t control. And so, he had this underlying anger. And one day I walked in and he was beating up his brothers again. And I’m like, “Zachary, honey, this is inappropriate. You need to go upstairs. Mama come talk to you.” Well, he ran upstairs. He knocked all the pictures off the wall. He slammed the door. He picked up a baseball, put it through the door - a hole in the door - as I walk in. 

John: Oh, my. 

Pam:  And I’m like, “Zachary, honey, you cannot do this. If you’re upset, you’ve got to learn to use words." ‘Cause I’m thinkin’ in my mind, "No woman in her right mind’s ever gonna marry you! You’ll live with me forever! Use your words!” 


And he put his hands on the little 8-year-old hips. He’s like, “You want words? Well, I hate myself and I hate my life and if God made me, I hate Him, too.” And I said, “Um, just a minute.” And I just ran downstairs. I threw myself across the bed and I prayed. “Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a pastor’s wife. I’m a director of women’s ministry. I write all these Christian books and I’m raising a little wild man of an atheist upstairs. I could use some help here! Lord, I know that every person is a treasure. Your Word says, you know, in Psalms that we’re fearfully and wonderfully made. And in Jeremiah that you knew before Jeremiah was born that he would be a prophet. So, every kid’s a unique kid. They’re a treasure. But I can’t see the treasure. And Zach’s not seeing the treasure. Help me help Zach see the treasure.”  

So, I called Bill on the phone. I’m like, “Honey, this is my idea. Like, the Holy Spirit just whispered that Zach’s a treasure. What if we draw a treasure map and I’ll take it upstairs and we do a treasure hunt with Zach? So, I drew up this treasure map. I took it upstairs and I’m like, “Zach, you are a treasure to the world” - I said by faith. And uh, “You and your daddy and God and I are gonna go on this treasure hunt. And every day I’m gonna ask you two questions: what’s one thing you did well, and what’s one thing positive about your day? And we’re gonna write it down on the treasure map. And we’re gonna look for the repeating pattern that God has laid in your life because you are a treasure to the world, son. And so, Zach, what do you think of the idea?" 

Bill: And in typically 8-year-old fashion, he said, “This is stupid.”


Pam: "So, Zach, what’s one thing positive about your day?" 

Bill: "Nothin’." 

Pam: "Zach, I can think of something. You’re alive" - meaning I haven’t killed you yet, kid! It’s a miracle. And um, so we wrote, "Zach is alive." That was Day One. But then this amazing thing started happening. He started bringing the chart to - the treasure map to us and started writing down all the positive things about himself and his day and…  

Jim: He caught it. 

Pam: He caught it. 

Bill: He caught it. 

Pam: And some of the things that we...

Bill: Took a while till he caught it. 

Pam: ...found out uh, at the end of that time, we saw a repeating pattern, that it all had to do with people. He loved people. Yeah, it kinda threw us off track, ‘cause he was beating everybody up. But people was the key to unlock Zach’s heart. You know, there’s a treasure. When I say to Zach, “Zach, what is your one thing that you want to tell moms and dads that have had it up to here?” He’s like, “Keep looking for the treasure. Mom and Dad, you might be the only one looking.”

Bill: Right. 

Jim: Wow, that’s powerful.

Bill: Because - ‘cause every kid was made for a purpose. Like theologically, we know that. God didn’t create fillers, so nobody has a kid that’s just there to take up space. They - they’re here for a reason. But finding that reason is - is tough, because kids are at war with themselves. And we live in a world that’s harsh on people. And so, helping them find that treasure that’s in them can be a challenge. But once they do find it and they realize it for themselves, um, it’s amazing what can turn in a kid’s life.

Pam: And you know, a couple years ago, he got down on one knee and asked beautiful Kaylee, "Will you marry me?" And the girl said yes. So, the boy did get married one day, too. 


John: Despite your concerns early on! 

Jim: How - how do you… 

Pam: He’s a great husband. 

Jim: How do you trust the Lord and let go and let God begin to work in our child’s life in a way that allows them to grow into that healthy Christian young man or young woman? 

Pam: I was involved in Moms in Prayer all the way growing up and uh, my kids’ growing up years. And I think having a network of praying people around your child is one way you can trust, ‘cause then you’re putting the ball in God’s court. You’re not all alone in it.

Bill: Uh, the things that we did that seemed to be effective is, first of all, when our kids got to be teenagers, we kept them busy in worthwhile pursuits. Because kids learn socially, especially as teenagers. And so we wanted them involved with groups of people that we knew would give them positive feedback. Second thing is we - we made positive statements to them. We - we would say things to them like, "I - yeah, I know when you’re goin’ out with your friends tonight, um, I - I know you’re gonna operate this way because I’ve seen it in your life." 

Pam: "I know tomorrow, when we see that young lady’s family at church that you’re taking out on a date, they’re gonna thank us because you are such a man of integrity and character. I know we’re gonna get a great report. So we parented by faith, by speaking um, not what we saw but what we believed God was gonna make... 

Jim: That’s really... 

Pam: ...of our children. 

Jim: ...critical, because it makes you uh, act differently...

Pam: It does. 

Jim: ...toward your child. 

Pam: It does. 

Jim: Um, a parent that’s very discouraged right now, you get into this loop of condemning them. 

Bill: Yes.

Jim: And you - you keep that mantra going and then, before long, they believe it. "I am no good." 

Bill: Start living it out. 

Jim: "I don’t measure up." Uh, it’s what that shame-based kind of parenting does to a child. Talk about the hazards... 

Bill: But - but... 

Jim: ...of that. 

Bill: ...let me share the third one, ‘cause I... 

Jim: Yeah. 

Bill: ...think it ties right into that. The third thing that we did is we prayed that if our kids were doing something unhealthy, that God would cause them to get caught. 

Jim: So, you can correct it. 

Bill: Yeah. 

Pam: And - and to do that, you have to brave enough as a parent to take your ego off the table. My children’s behavior is not a reflection on me. They need to own their own life. And that is hard for us helicopter parents who want our kids to look all great so we’re lookin’ all great. But we have to be willing to let them fail sometimes. And so, they can fail forward in life. 

That same amazing coach now that’s training hundreds of young men, Brock, he had a day in high school that he made a significant error in leadership. And his FCA coach-counselor person - sponsor - called him out on it. And he was broken. I had to take him to the doctor for another reason and he was in tears. This boy who never cried, was the starting quarterback, who was tough as nails, cried 30 minutes to the doctor and 30 minutes back. And I let him do it and instead of like, "What can I do to help?" I simply said, “Brock, let - I want to pray with you. Are you open to that?” “Yeah, Mom.” “And I’m just gonna pray that God would lead you and God would show you what you need to do in order to fix this situation. God will lead you. Daddy and I have made mistakes in our leadership,” and I shared a few. “So, I know He’s gonna lead you.”\ 

I wasn’t gonna run in and talk to those kids on that campus. And I wasn’t gonna run in and meet with that, you know, sponsor. Brock was the leader. I needed to let him be a man at that situation. And we have to, as parents, be willing to let our kids learn and sometimes it’s learning through pain that makes them that great leader later on. 

Jim: Well, and it’s very difficult to do as a parent, especially in the Christian community, because we want to project some kind of perfection that just isn’t there. We talk about that often when we uh, are talking about parenting. And we’ve gotta get more to reality uh, because also people will see that and other parents say, “Okay, they’re makin’ through.” And it gives you an opportunity to help mentor others when there is uh, there are things not working perfectly. Life isn’t perfect and I think it’s... 

Bill: That’s true. 

Jim: ...important for us to remind ourselves about that. In fact, one of the critical points in marriage can be when you’re parenting with that helicopter mentality, when you’re over-controlling and the kids are acting out, it can begin to put a strain on your relationship as a couple. And the dialogue typically goes like, “You - you - we’re - we’re failing as parents.” Or worse, “You’re failing as a father” or “You’re failing as a mother.” Talk to us as couples for the next few minutes just about how to protect your marriage in this parenting endeavor and don’t charge each other with failure. How do you encourage each other to do better? 

Bill: Well, first of all, I - raising kids, it - it is the toughest challenge on earth. And so, as parents, we need to give each other a little bit of room and say, “You know, we’re in this together and our goal is to get these kids raised to be the kids they’re supposed to be.” So that's - that’s the first thing. Second thing is, as parents, if you can set goals for your kids, because these critical conversations tend to take place because we don’t have the agreed-upon goals. 

So, if I were to use Pam and I as an example: Pam has expectations for her kids; I have expectations for our kids. If we haven’t negotiated those into goals, we’re just gonna fight over the expectations. And so sitting down as parents and saying, “Really what are our goals for our kids and are they realistic?” Because if you have goals set together, you’ll buy into it and you - and you’ll move forward. And if you’re really not sure, especially if you’re raising teenagers, it’s okay to ask them. Like, "What do you think our goal should be for you?" 

Jim: It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s a good thing to do. 

Bill: It does, but again, they - they’re always thinkin’ about their life. And so, sometimes you gain insight from your kids that you - you can’t find in the pressure of being a parent. 

Pam: And sometimes, um, you need to trust your spouse, because maybe that child is wired a lot like them. And um, Bill really trusted me. I am very social. I was super strong-willed. Ask my mom. I was like grounded for half my life. And um, so, when it came to our strong-willed son, Bill trusted my intuition and my Holy Spirit leadership. Now our third son, I mean, it’s like Bill in stereo. That boy…  

Bill: Pretty awesome. 

Pam: He is - is - he is an incredible young man. He’s brilliant. He’s an engineer, um, workin’ on his Master’s degree right now, so I don’t get him at all. I almost failed math. So, I have to trust Bill’s instincts in raising precious Caleb and letting Caleb fly because he’s wired so much differently than me, I have to...

Bill: Because he... 

Pam: ...honor Bill. 

Bill: ...he’s the one that gets stubborn. If - if you push him in a direction he honestly believes he shouldn’t be going, he just digs his heels in. 

Jim: Yeah. 

Bill: And Pam’s instinct is to push harder.  

Pam: On Bill and Caleb. 

Bill: And you know, I - I get what he’s doin’. And so, instead of pushing him harder, that’s the time to pull him aside, reorient his goals to - to - ‘cause once you turn Caleb, he takes off. 

Jim: Yeah. 

Bill: But if you try to push him in a direction he knows he’s not supposed to do, he doesn’t verbalize. He just gets stubborn. 

Jim: So, you gotta ask him the right questions. 

Bill: Yeah. 

Jim: Wow, we have really hit some great, great topics and uh, I know people have been blessed and helped. I know I have. I know you have, too, John. 

John: I have been, yes. 

Jim: And uh, you know, you talked about uh, getting a plan together, mom and dad, so you know where you’re going. Don’t live on each other’s expectations and you end up fighting. Pull the plan together. Talk about it. You have resources to do that at your website. We’ll mention the website here in a moment. People can go there and download what they can. 

The value of teaching your children about being a learner, a leader and loving God, I like that. That’s simple. Picking one thing to teach them during the year. I’m gonna do that this year. Um, now Jean and I need to agree on what that one thing will be. But also trusting God for the outcome. I think these have been very helpful tools, all captured in your book, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make. You guys have done a great job here. I’m gonna pursue it and I hope many, many other parents will, as well. Thanks for bein’ with us.

Bill: Thanks, Jim. 

Pam: Thank you.

Bill: And I would just encourage every parent out there to just take a deep breath and remember: God’s on your side in this venture. 

Pam: And it pays off. There’s a payoff. I mean, now as grandparents to hear my kids, Brock and Hannah, raise our grandkids. “Honey, I want you to obey right away, all the way with a happy heart.” And to hear those grandkids sing like, “Sing wiss me, Nana. Howy, Howy, Howy.” There’s a payoff on those days that you feel like you can’t go on, mom and dad, think long term. God is with you. 

Jim: And that’s a legacy. 


John: What a wonderful conclusion to our 2-day conversation with Bill and Pam Farrel on Focus on the Family as they talked about their book, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make. And you can get a copy of that and a CD or download of everything we've discussed these past couple of days at Or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY - 800-232-6459. 

Jim: Now I really wanna recommend you get the Farrel’s book. It is so encouraging. No matter what stage of parenting you’re in, you're gonna find help there. And we can put a complimentary copy in your hands, if you send us a gift of any amount today. That’s our way of saying “thank you” for helping us equip families like we’ve done today. If you can't afford it, contact us. We'll find a way to get it into your hands because becoming a better parent is important. 

And here’s an extra incentive: thanks to the generosity of some special friends, we have a matching gift this month, which means any donation you make to Focus on the Family will be doubled! So please, let us hear from you today. Make your 25 dollar gift be a 50 dollar gift, and so on. It is a wonderful way to help people in need. 

John: And you can make that contribution at or when you call 800-232-6459 - 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. At the website, we've got a free parenting assessment for you. It's very easy, takes only a few minutes, and it identifies 7 traits that are essential for a healthy family and pretty much how you're doing in those areas. 

Well, coming up next time, we're gonna hear from Dr. David Clarke offering real hope to hurting marriages. 

Closing Voice Track:


Dr. David Clarke: So you're in a situation like that with your marriage. It seems impossible. There's just no way out. Look what's happening. It's been years like this. And Satan is pushing. You're done. God may not be done and is not gonna be done with that marriage. There’s always a chance with God's help.
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Bill Farrel

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Bill Farrel is an international speaker and co-author of the best-selling books Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and The Marriage Code. He holds a Masters of Divinity in Practical Theology with an emphasis on counseling, and is a former small group pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. Bill and his wife, Pam, have three children and several grandchildren. Learn more about Bill and his work at


Pam Farrel

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Bill and Pam Farrel have been working together to help couples and families for more than 30 years. The Farrels are popular speakers, authors and the co-founders of Love Wise, a ministry dedicated to helping people build successful relationships. The couple has co-authored numerous books including The Marriage Code and Red Hot Monogamy. They have three children and two grandchildren. Learn more about Pam and her work at