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Empowering Your Family Through Love and Respect (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date 03/14/2014

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Author and speaker Dr. Emerson Eggerichs shares stories from his childhood and parenting journey to paint a vivid picture of just how vital love and respect are to a family as a whole. (Part 2 of 2)


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Episode Transcript



Dr. Emerson Eggerichs: I just received an email from a woman who said “God lied to me.” Because she thinks, Proverbs 22 for instance, “Bring up a child in the way they should go and when they’re older, they’ll, you know, not depart.” And so she said, “God promised.” And I said, this is a principle. This is not a promise. But now she’s concluded God lied to her. And it’s very important, because I believe parents are not understanding what the Bible is saying. And here’s the radical point I’m making: you can parent God’s way even though your child rejects Jesus Christ and rejects you.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, those insights come from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs on our last Focus on the Family broadcast, describing how love and respect can really change your family dynamic. He’s back with us again today and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, Emerson’s work in marriage particularly, when it comes to love and respect, is well-known and has brought great comfort to many, many couples and has opened up the pathway for them to share a better relationship.

And that’s what it’s about. I love the idea that we’re all working uh … in concert in the Christian community to strengthen marriages, to strengthen a parent’s ability to raise a child that is healthy, spiritually, emotionally, physically. And uh … today, we’re gonna talk again with Dr. Eggerichs about his book,Love & Respect in the Family. And I think this is one of the great dynamics of what Emerson has touched on with love and respect, not just for marriage, but it also applies to the family. If you didn’t hear the last program, go ahead and download it or get a copy of the CD. You can call us and John, you’ll give those details later.

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: But um … I think it was a very insightful discussion. Emerson pulls from the New Testament. He looks at Ephesians and Corinthians, those great Scriptures that provide insight on human relationship, not just in marriages, but also within the family.


Jim: Itis a pleasure to welcome you back, Emerson.

Emerson: Thank you.

Jim: Good to have you.

Emerson: Oh, I’m excited to be here.

Jim: (Laughing)You know, just uh … if we can recap last time, you talked about that ah-ha moment, what sounded like an ah-ha moment, as you’ve worked for the last over a decade in applying that idea of love and respect to marriages. But then seeing that in families, that same principle applies. Give us that quick recap of why you had that moment to say, wow. All of human relationship, tends to spin around love and respect.

Emerson: Yeah, well, and it was an ah-ha moment and it was revolutionary in my thinking. I mean, it was just absolutely stunning. I remember calling Sarah in, my wife, to hear what I just saw in Scripture. But the love and respect in marriage was based on Ephesians 5:33, where a husband is to love, a wife is to respect. And of course, there’s real controversy on the second part of that verse about respecting a man. But every man serves and dies for honor. We’ve made that case in theLove & Respectbook on marriage.

But as I was going through Scripture, I realized children are to honor father and mother. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. Jesus quotes it. Um … Paul quotes it. And then as I pointed out, Titus 2, the parents are to love their children. But parents are not commanded to honor uh … their kids. It doesn’t mean you can dishonor them. They’re just not commanded to do that. And children are not commanded to love parents. And I suddenly realized, whoa! Here again is an insight. And then I saw the correlation, the connection.

When a child feels unloved, yep, that child reacts in ways that feels disrespectful to mom (Chuckling) and dad. And when mom and dad feel disrespected, and we don’trarelyfeel unloved, you know. It’s … it’s your just not payin’ attention. You’re disregarding. I’m feeling you’re disobedience as … as disrespect and I’m feeling offended. But then we react to that negatively in a way that ends up feeling unloving to the child. And this thing can spin very quickly. And I experienced it as a boy, experienced it even as a parent toward my kids.

Jim: But you know what, I appreciate that uh … for you and Sarah, is your willingness to be vulnerable. I think in the Christian community, Emerson, one of the mistakes that we have made, especially in leadership is our inability to speak candidly about our own shortcomings.

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: And the difficulty is a world that’s looking. They don’t know how to hook onto perfection, ‘cause they look at themselves and say, “I can’t be that; I can’t do that. I’m imperfect. I struggle with my kids. I yell at my kids. I get angry at my kids.”

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: And the reality is, we do, too.

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: And how do we talk through it and learn to do it better? And that’s why I so appreciate your book, Love & Respect in the Family, ‘cause you’re giving us the tools to do that. Let’s pick up where we left off last time and uh … we started to talk about this acronym GUIDES that you use in your book. Uh … give us the quick recap. We coveredGpretty well.

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: But let’s pick it up withU. Go ahead.

Emerson: Right. Well, GUIDES is based on the biblical passages to parents about parenting. And we’re taking the position that you can parent God’s way, even if your children don’t respond. And God is calling me to apply what I put in this acronym, GUIDES. I’m to be a giving parent, an understanding parent, instructing parent.

Jim: Physical needs.

Emerson: Yes.

Jim: It’s physical.

Emerson: Well, the … the giving is the physical needs. Understanding basically is the emotional needs. A father’s not to provoke his child to anger.

Jim: Boy, that’s tough though, Emerson (Chuckling). I mean, uh … you know, we have to bridle ourselves to do that, because again, we’re all so human, living in a fallen world. Uh … what tool does a father have or a mother have to bridle that natural instinct to respond when you’re angry, when something has not been done or when the child’s talked back to you?

Emerson: That’s right.

Jim: What … what trigger do you use?

Emerson: --the … yeah, well, from a biblical standpoint, Ephesians 6:2, Paul tells children and he’s writing to the children, “Honor your father and mother.” But then he goes on in 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.”

Jim: Uh-hm.

Emerson: Okay. In Colossians 3:20, he says, “Children, obey your parents.” But then in 3:21 he says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children so they lose heart.” There’s an indirect point that Paul’s making and to parents. Your child is not gonna honor you perfectly. And you’re gonna get angry. And then you’re gonna provoke them to anger.

The same thing, your children are not gonna obey you perfectly. And then you’re gonna get exasperated and you’re gonna have a tendency to exasperate them so they lose heart. And if they lose heart, you’re probably gonna lose their heart.

So, here’s one of the points Paul is making. There is a line that we’re not to step over as parents. There’s a line of provoking my child to the point that they are so angry that I … I provoke them to anger. There’s a line that I’m not to step over. I’m not to exasperate my children so they lose heart. There’s a line.

And every parent has to figure that out. And on any given day, we are sinful people as parents. But if there’s a pattern, a pattern, like my dad had a pattern. He didn’t have a buffer zone. Uh … I would want to play with him and then he would just explode. There wasn’t any warning, okay. I’m the victim of that. I understand the pain of that.

One time we had a swimming pool and I wanted to … you know, he got in. He rarely got in because I irritated him. I was about 8, ‘cause I wanted to play.

Jim: Right.

Emerson: And I was all over him and he got … it was okay and then suddenly, he just pushes me under. And--

Jim: Oh.

Emerson: --I’m thinking he’s still playing. I … I knew he was angry, ‘causes … “Leave me alone.” And then I went under. He pushed me under. He’s 6’2”, 240 pounds. And now I’m under there. I’m thinking he’s still kind of teasing me and playing. And I could hold my breath for a long time. So, about a minute, I’m … I’m gonna try to prove to him, I can hold it a long time. And now I’m ready for air. So, I’m … I try to get up and he doesn’t let me up.

Jim: Hm.

Emerson: And I’m trying to get up and he is just standing on me. And I’m thinking, I’m gonna inhale water here. I’m gonna drown. This is dangerous. I’m gonna die and then he let me up. And I remember coming up and getting that air and I’m looking at him as I’m kind of falling back in the water a little bit. A daddy shouldn’t do that to his boy. And I realized my dad was out of control. I realized, this is not how a parent oughta be. My dad lost my heart. He exasperated me to the point that, I closed off my heart. I lost our … do not exasperate your children so theylose heart. He lost my heart because he exasperated me.

Jim: Hm.

Emerson: And so, one of the things I feel deeply in writing this book is, I know what that feels like. I am one who recalls, as you do, these vivid stories, okay. And so, I’m strong on this point. Parents, we all are sinners. We’re gonna blow it, but if there is ahugeblowup, or if there’s a pattern of always stepping over on the edge of that line, this is your issue. This is not your child’s issue. This is your issue and I appeal to you, that this is really something God’s using in your life more than He’s using you in your child’s life.

Jim: Hm.

Emerson: And it is crucial that you step back and realize. And I tell you, you’re not the enemy here. You’re probably the victim of the thing. You probably had an old man like Jim, you and I had these issues. But we had to come to a point where we realize, you know what? I’m carrying into this parenting things that maybe I’m uh … wounded from. And so, I’m … there’s gonna be a ton of empathy. We’re gonna give grace upon grace, but there comes a point when [an] adult says, it’s now a time for me to grow up here. And if I’m provoking my children to anger, if I’m not understanding them, their age, their stage, I need help. And I need to get that help. And I think Focus on the Family ispar excellent[sic].

Jim: Wow.

Emerson: And there is insight in this organization that there’s no excuse not to get. And whatever the issue is, I appeal to that parent to turn to Focus on the Family for that insight. They are ready and they’re gonna respond. But you know what? I don’t know if my dad was willing to be honest with himself.

Jim: Hm. That’s a big first step.

Emerson: And so, the appeal here is, that if you’re in that camp, don’t ruin your children. And here’s the deal. You … they’re gonna grow up and I want you to envision Thanksgiving and Christmas as adults. You want to keep their hearts open, because when you get to be 64 and they’re coming home with the grandkids, there’s no greater joy. These are little people that you’re raising to be big people. Don’t lose their heart. Be understanding and do what you need to do in order to accomplish that, please.

Jim: Well, that’s well-said. In fact, the way that I like to express that, Emerson, is you need to maintain that tether of love. I mean, if that gets severed, you’re in trouble--

Emerson: Beautiful.

Jim: --as a parent.

Emerson: Beautiful.

Jim: And you’ve got to at all costs, even biting your lip, even kind of succumbing [sic] to your own desires, you’ve gotta maintain that tether of love. As you move down the understanding principle, let’s just hit those real quick. Understanding--

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: --is?

Emerson: --Paul … well, that’s the understanding where you don’t provoke your child to anger.

Jim: Right.

Emerson: You don’t exasperate them. So, you know that line. You understand their age and stage. And there’s so much insight out there. Iis instruction. Bring your children up in theinstructionof the Lord. And what I’ve found, Jim, we’ve surveyed people and this was the one that parents found that they wanted the most insight on, which surprised me. I thought maybe some … discipline would be No. 1. But parents really do want to instruct their children and we talk about that in the book.

TheDis, bring them up in the discipline of the Lord and what is discipline? TheE, of course, is that encouragement. Paul said, I came to you as a father among his children who encouraged. I encouraged you as afather. And then the supplication, all the children that were brought to Jesus for prayer and so, Jesus blessed them. And as parents, we need to bring our children before Christ and ask Him to guide them, to bless them. If … it’s been surprising. Sarah has talked with mothers who have said, “I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for my children.”

Jim: Ah.

Emerson: And so, we need to challenge that parent out there, that uh … don’t neglect that last one on praying, supplicating for your child and asking God to do something in their life. There’s no guarantee, but uh … James says, “You have not because you ask not.”

Jim: Hm. And I think for a child to see that is good, too. I just know driving my boys to school in the morning, that’s one of things I’ll try to do every morning, is to pray with them and to let them know and to intercede on their behalf. But they can hear that, too.

Emerson: That’s right. And we talk about the fact that Jesus says, you need to pray in the closet, right? And so, you don’t go on the public squares and say, I’m prayin’; I’m praying. But one of the things that I do encourage is, your children should know you’re in the closet.

Jim: (Chuckling)Right.

Emerson: And it’s okay for your kids to know if you’re in the closet. They need to know that there’s an authenticity to your dependency on Christ.

Jim: That’s a good point.

Emerson: And that more than anything else is what ultimately is gonna win their heart.

Jim: Well, we’ll post the GUIDES principle online, John.

John: Sure.

Jim: Let’s do that--

John: Good idea.

Jim: --and people can go and take a look at that. Uh … let’s move to your negotiable and non-negotiables. Uh …

Emerson: Onto the discipline category.

Jim: Yeah, onto the discipline category.

Emerson: Yes.

Jim: You talk about those two distinctions. I think at times, it’s hard for parents to understand where that line is. Uh … for some parents, especially those who are wired in a black and white orientation, they might be those scientists and those others--

Emerson: Right.

Jim: --uh … everything is non-negotiable--

Emerson: Yes, right.

Jim: --simply because you’re a child--

Emerson: Right.

Jim: --and I’m a parent. And--

Emerson: Right, right, yeah.

Jim: --I’m totally over you and in control. Um … but there should be some big stuff and some small stuff. And parents need to know what are the small things? Give us a guideline of--

Emerson: Uh-hm.

Jim: --what you’ve learned over the years. What are the two camps?

Emerson: Right. Well, I … I … I … I say it this way. We’ve gotta distinguish a moral issue from a preference issue. And what do I mean by that? A moral issue would be, you know, for instance, we’re not gonna lie, steal and cheat. You know, we’re not going to murder somebody, so to speak. I mean, there’s certain moral issues that we have to adhere to, that there’s no negotiation on this, you know.

Jim: The hammer comes down on these things.

Emerson: Well, the culture itself, you … there’s certain things you just don’t … you don’t cheat in school. What teacher, even if they’re the most liberal progressive person on the planet, still is going, “You don’t cheat.”

Jim: Right, kinda linking to the Ten Commandments.

Emerson: That’s … well, exactly. And you don’t lie and you don’t steal. And we talk about helping a child to understand that by applying the Golden Rule. In other words, do you want someone to lie to you? Do you want someone to cheat in the game that you’re playing against you? Do you want someone to steal your toys? Kids get the Golden Rule instinctively.

So, we talk about the fact that you teach these things based on the Golden Rule, which we’re very excited about. But then beyond those non-negotiables, which I put more in moral camp and those are solid issues. It’s not a moral issue, whether they stay up a half hour longer tonight or not, you know. It’s not a … you know, you’re gonna go to bed at 7:30 and that’s a non-negotiable. No, that is a negotiable, because when they’re 18, you’re not gonna be telling them that. That’s a preference issue at this season of life. Yeah, it’s a rule right now they need to obey, but it’s not a moral law.

Jim: Yeah, something you suggest in the book, which I think is a great suggestion, something Jean and I have done, as well and that’s to in … involve your kids in the writing of whatever those family rules might be.

Emerson: They’re more conservative sometimes than we are.

Jim: It’s been fascinating to see that. In fact, just a few months ago, we did that and Trent and Troy were very happy to be participating in that. And uh … they were. They were pretty hard on themselves, which was good and applied some of the penalties even to when you break the rules, what will be the penalty?

Emerson: Kids know what justice is. You ask a child, okay, we have a piece of cake here. It’s just so big. Okay, you cut, but your brother gets to choose.

Jim: Right.

Emerson: I will tell you, the one cutting, that’ll be the most evenly cut (Laughter) …

Jim: Right.

Emerson: See, they know. They know.

Jim: That’s a good one to do.

John: Yeah, when it comes to picking, you know that if there’s any variation, the slightly bigger piece gets picked.

Emerson: Exactly, they know. And so, in making family rules, particularly if they’re upset with their brother, they know what’s just for him to obey.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Emerson: They do know that and you allow children to … they instinctively know this. And I appeal to parents, use this … this sense of justice in kids and also the Golden Rule. They know; they get it.

Jim: Hm.

John: Well, we … we’ve got some great parenting advice today from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. And he wrote the book calledLove & Respect in the Familyand we’d be happy to tell you more about it when you call us here at 1-800, the letterAand the word FAMILY. And for a gift of any amount today when you donate to Focus, we’ll send a copy of that book to you as our way of saying thanks and our … our hope would be that you’d find this helpful for yourself and for others, as well.

Jim: Emerson, in the GUIDES acronym, you talk about encouragement. Uh … I love that aspect of parenting. Um … I think Jean and I do a pretty good job there, but it can be difficult at times when you’re busy, especially traveling and you’re … you just feel tired and … and yet, um … your children so need that encouragement. Hey, you did a great job on that science fair project or … or just even askin’ ‘em, how did you do?

How do you encourage in a way that they know is sincere and honest? It’s not over the top. Oftentimes parents today, because we believe that encouragement is so important, we’ll do it almost with an emptiness to it, that it’s not sincere, that you know, we’ve gotta tell ‘em four times today, you’re really good. But even they pick up on that. How do you make that encouragement real to them?

Emerson: Well, both Jonathan and David, my sons address that issue. In fact, Jonathan said, I knew I wasn’t that good. (Laughter)

Jim: Well, that’s honest.

Emerson: And then David said, you know, if you praise on an ongoing basis, then you don’t really believe it after a while.

Jim: Hm.

Emerson: And I think we’ve come to this point in the culture where esteem, you know, and helping our children have self-esteem and we’ve moved into in some things that appear to be false praise. I know the Japanese, I remember research was done that um … if you praise too much, it a … an anxiety that it creates in the child, uh … that there is a sense in which it can have a … a boomerang effect. It has a negative effect.

So, one of the things we talk about is, coming to grips with our children’s gifts and abilities and how God has wired them and encourage them to use those in areas that uh … you know, ultimately we believe as parents, God is maybe calling them to.

And I do not talk at all about praising uh … unchangeable characteristics. You know, we … you look so beautiful. That … there’s a place for that, but if we’re always praising the externals, that they didn’t have anything to do with.

So, one of the things that I try to do is encourage the character qualities. Think through, what is it here, you know? I … I just really appreciate the fact that you negotiated that with your sister. I mean, that’s mind-boggling--

Jim: Uh-hm.

Emerson: --your ability to negotiate that and how you brought about peace, even though, you know, you … you compromise a little bit. But I mean, that’s pure genius in my mind. I mean, that blew me away. I just wanted you to know I saw that.

But getting at those deeper character qualities. But then again, I think you know, as you say, we’re not always payin’ attention.And I … I want parents to stop beating up on themselves so much, because again, one of the things we’re trying to say is, you cannot be outcome-based in this.

Jim: Hm.

Emerson: Ifyou’re looking at the outcomes in your children every day and then you’re working back from that, particularly if your identity is wrapped up in your children, we must bring our identity in Christ to our parenting. We must not derive our identity from our children.

And we’ve got to be the parents here, who focus on our actions and reactions. And we apply guides, because Christ is calling me to do this. I’m to be a parent who encourages, because he calls me to do that. This is really about my obedience before Christ.

And so, this takes a whole different mindset. If I’m walking with the Lord, if I’m enjoying a relationship with the Lord and I realize He’s calling me to do these things, then I do it out of obedience toward Him, whether my child responds or not.

And I certainly am not gonna use flattery. I’m certainly not gonna use false praise, because that’s not what the Lord’s wanting me to do. But I’m not looking always for the outcome in my child. I’m gonna be who God calls me to be here.

Jim: Uh-hm.

Emerson: I’m gonna be giving because that’s what God wants me to be. But I’m not gonna spoil my child either, ‘cause Christ doesn’t want me to do that. I’m gonna be this understanding parent, because this is what Godwantsme to do. I don’t know how to do it perfectly. I’m gonna blow it, but you know what? Ultimately, my child is gonna tell me, I … I could never understand them.

John: Hm.

Emerson: Well, I’m not gonna be intimidated by that. You know, my kid said, “You’re the worst parent in the world,” several times they said that. I said, “Yes (Laughter), I’m finally No. 1 at something,” you know. (Laughter) The worst … and … and so, you know, you don’t let these daily things get to you.

Jim: Look at the long term.

Emerson: You’re gotta look at the long term and it’s what I call a game plan. You know, I spoke to five NFL head football coaches and their spouses. And one of them was Tom Coughlin and Judy and … and Tom asked me to come speak to the whole New York Giants team on love and respect in marriage and had a delightful time. Eli Manning was there, his wife, the whole group and it was just a … boy, they honored us. We just … we were tickled to be there. It was a … a special thing.

But Coach and I had opportunity to spend some time alone and talking about game plans. And the game plan that you have as a coach and you stay the game plan. And your quarterback, Eli is gonna get sacked, you know. You’re gonna have fumbles. You’re gonna have interceptions. You’re gonna lose the game, but you stay the course.

God has given us guides as parents. We are coaches, so to speak, G-U-I-D-E-S. This is God’s game plan for us. And in a sense, we could say, there’s no perfect family, but there’s a perfect game plan.

And what we are called to do is to stay the course on this, day after day. On any given day, we’re gonna feel sacked. We’re gonna feel there’s a fumble. We’re feelin’ like we’re losing. But ultimately, I do this because Christ stands beyond the shoulder of my child. And Jesus said, “As you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done it to me.” And both in Colossians and Ephesians, Paul goes from the horizontal to the … the vertical. “As to the Lord.” “As to the Lord.” And He applies it to marriage, parenting, master-slave and then sometimes you’ll see the authority-citizen situation.

And why? ‘Cause that’s where the Lord watches. And it’s there thateverythingmatters. Everything counts. Nothing is wasted. And so, the challenge for parents is to realize, wait a minute. This is ultimately about me doing this unto Jesus Christ and touching the heart of Christ. And in any given day I’m gonna blow it, but I’m not looking at the outcomes in my childper se, although we have to do that. Ultimately, I’m saying, am I doing what Christ has asked me to do in relationship to this child. And in any given day, I’m not gonna know that. Why? ‘Cause Hebrews 12 says, “We do whatseemsbest.” There’s a subjective element.

But here’s the … the game plan. Am I giving as Christ would have me give, as best I know how to do it? Am I understanding, as best I know how to do that, because Christ wants me to do that? Am I instructing, disciplining, encouraging, supplicating? And if the answer to that is, I’m doin’ it as best I know how unto Christ, my prediction is that you ‘re gonna hear from the Lord Himself on a certain day, “Well done.”

Jim: Hm. I mean, that’s well-said. And uh … it does uh … beg that question about, what is parenting truly all about? And it’s really not so much about the kids, is it?

Emerson: Well …

Jim: It’s about us as parents.

Emerson: I say this. The Bible talks about good parents that had good children, bad parents that had bad children. But also says, good parents had bad children. A,you see, you see uh … and then a good parent with bad kids. And you see the … I say this with the … the story of the Prodigal that we all know.

We don’t pay attention to that, but think about it. You had a second son who’s the Prodigal, self-indulgent, sensual, splurged the family inheritance that he was owed or going to receive. But we don’t maybe think closely. There was an older firstborn, who was self-righteous, judgmental and angry, all right?

But think about this. Jesus is the One who tells us this story and He tells us about that father and the compassion that this father had. And then He says, this is what Abba Father is like.

Jim: Uh-hm.

Emerson: This father, this earthly father is like Abba, Abba Father. Now my question is, would we ask that dad to come into a church and instruct us on how to be a parent?

Jim: Yeah. (Laughing)

Emerson: The answer to that is no.

John: Based on the outcome--

Jim: That’s a good question.

John: --no, we wouldn’t look at him as--

Emerson: Exactly right.

John: --successful.

Emerson: That’s exactly right. So, the word of encouragement to every person listening who is a parent, is that you can parent God’s way and you can touch the heart of Christ. You can actually be God-like and both of your sons reject you.

Now there are sons who reject their fathers, because their fathers are like, maybe your dad was, Jim and my dad. I … I … uh … we’re very empathetic to that. But there are a whole lot of parents living in shame because they’re defeated by what they perceive to be the defeats.

Jim: Right.

Emerson: And even Jesus said, there were two sons. One, you know, you told one son, do this and he said no, but then did it. And the firstborn said … the other said, yes, I would do it, but then didn’t. Which son did his father’s will?

And we’ve gotta understand that there are some children who appear very compliant and we think we’re great parents. But behind our backs, they’re not doing our will. And we’ve got some defiant children who appear to be defiant, but it’s because they won’t do anything behind our back.

I missed it with Jonathan, my firstborn. He would argue with me all the time and he’s the one that I didn’t enjoy. But it’s because he was a boy of integrity and he wasn’t gonna do anything behind my back. And I think parents sometimes get upset with the wrong children. And then our other kids could smile their way through an excuse after you asked them to do something.

Now the question really on the table is, if we have all these compliant kids out there, are we really successful parents? And if we’ve got these children who appear to be the defiant, are we really failing as parents? We’ve got to think biblically here and stay the course. Stay on the … the GUIDES game plan and do this unto Christ.

And I … need to remind us, Jesus said that there were sons and daughters who turned their parents over to the authority to be persecuted for their faith. They turned their own parents over to be murdered. Were those bad parents in the eyes of Jesus Christ? Absolutely not, Jim.

And I have a message here, that we are called to be who God calls us to be as adults in relationship to our children. And there is no absolute guarantee that they will love Christ. But I will tell you GUIDES creates the most loving environment that best motivates our children to choose our faith and our values. But this is not a formula and there’s no guaranteeGod calls me to be who I’m supposed to be in relationship to my kids. And ultimately, my children must choose their own faith. And that’s what Paul is saying. And that’s why Paul appears to children in the epistles. Children obey; children honor. Why? ‘Cause they’re moral spiritual beings, who ultimately make their own choice.

Jim: And that’s the wonderful heart of God, that He is always giving us a choice. It’s unbelievable. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book,Love & Respect in the Family, what an interesting conversation. Thank you so much for being with us here at Focus on the Family.

Emerson: Thank you so much and uh … we’ve been honored to be with you and humbled.


John: Well, I am personally grateful for the wisdom that we’ve heard from our guest these past couple of days. And this concept, we can apply- we need to apply- in our homes and a good way for you to start is to get a copy of the broadcast and also Dr. Eggerichs book Love & Respect in the Family.

And I’ll encourage you to donate to the work of Focus on the Family today and we’ll send a complimentary copy of Love & Respect in the Family to you. We need your prayers and financial support to continue reaching out and encouraging parents and when you join our partnership team, we’ll say thank you by sending that great book to you.

Our website is and while you’re there, look for a link to our 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment which is a great resource for you in terms of identifying and understanding your parenting strengths. We’ll also be glad to talk with you by phone if you need any help. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Emerson Eggerichs

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Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known public speaker on the topic of marriage, parenting, communication and more. Based on over three decades of counseling as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr. Eggerichs developed the Love and Respect Marriage Conference which he presents to live audiences around the country. This dynamic and life-changing conference is impacting the world, resulting in the healing and restoration of countless relationships. Dr. Eggerichs has authored several books, including Love and Respect, which is a New York Times bestseller, Platinum and Book of the Year Award winner, and has sold over 1.6 million copies. Emerson and his wife, Sarah, reside in Grand Rapids, Mich., and have three grown children. He is the founder and president of Love and Respect Ministries.