Focus on the Family Broadcast   >>   All Episodes

Helping Your Kids Navigate Life's Challenges

Air Date 05/31/2019

Get Social and Listen

Best-selling author Josh McDowell describes how fathers can better help their children thrive in a discussion based on his book 10 Commitments for Dads: How to Have an Awesome Impact on Your Kids. He explains why a dad should be responsible to his kids, rather than for them, and how he can be a more authentic role model.

Listen here, watch recent episodes on our YouTube channel, or download our app.

Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Josh McDowell: I’m responsible to love my children. I’m responsible to model Jesus Christ before my children. I’m responsible to build convictions, not just beliefs, into my children.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Josh McDowell has been inspiring parents and teens for decades with tremendous advice. And he’s here today on Focus on the Family. And he’s going to help you, as a dad, to guide your children, spiritually. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I just heard all the moms in the audience go, “Finally!” You know? Do you and Dena ever have a chat like that (laughter)?

John: Unfortunately there is some spiritual-training conversation that has to happen still.

Jim: Yeah, often our wives think, sometimes because they don’t see it in action, but they think nothing’s being done, you know? And so we get the guilt trip saying, “You got to do more for our kids.” And sometimes that’s true. Dads can also be very distant when it comes to that intentional training of our kids spiritually.

Josh: Every time my wife would say to me, “Honey, we need to talk.” Ugh!

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: And I’m always thinking, I got to go back to Promise Keepers again.

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: I never really understood why she’d say, “We need to talk,” because she’d do all the talking.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: Well, this is the one, and you hear Josh McDowell’s voice. That’s our guest today. Josh has written a wonderful book, a resource, a tool called, Ten Commitments for Dads. And this is the one, Mom, you want to buy and lay on Dad’s pillow, and so, he’ll lay his head on it and go, what’s this, honey? Well, it’s just, you know, something I heard on Focus on the Family today. So, we’re going to cover the topic and the tools that Josh has written about and inspired literally tens of thousands of fathers to do the best job they can do raising their kids.

Body:

John: Mmhmm. And Josh, you’ve got four children of your own. You and Dottie have raised them to adulthood, and how many grandkids?

Josh: Only 10.

Jim: Only 10.

Josh: We - we’re going to have some more coming - I’m praying for it.

Jim: What’s the age range of your children?

Josh: Oldest is - my children - up to 41...

Jim: Yep.

Josh: And my grandchildren - oldest is 12.

Jim: Well, the proof is in the - in the pudding, right? Your kids are all walking with the Lord, and I’m sure they have their battles and their challenges, like everyone in this life.

Josh: But you know, I never knew your children could become your heroes in life.

Jim: Wow, that is well said.

Josh: My five greatest heroes, and I know everybody in the world - kings, princes, everything - my five greatest heroes is my wife Dottie, my three daughters and my son. And what is weird - I said this to Dottie the other day - we have - every Sunday night, we have family night. Everyone comes together, you know, we have a big banquet. We talk and share and everything. When I’m on the road, I Skype. When Sean’s on the road, he Skypes. And I said, “Honey, this is kind of weird.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Our children are raising our grandchildren exactly the same way we raised them.” And I said, “I don’t know how this is possible, because Sean just said some things to my 12-year-old grandson - things that I said to him when he was 10, 11, 12 years old.” And I said, “How does he even remember that?” It was on some principles of parenting. And I guess God the Holy Spirit has a way of embedding things into our children’s fabric of their very being at a very young age.

Jim: Well, and that’s a wonderful thing to remember. It’s not so much what you say, it’s what you do that kids see in their parents, right? And that’s either going to be hypocrite...

Josh: Well, I put it this way: what you say better back up with what you do.

Jim: Correct. I mean, that is so true.

Josh: Or you will be a big hypocrite.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s wonderful that your kids caught that, and they’re applying those great lessons now. That’s wonderful. And by the way, welcome to the broadcast (laughter).

Josh: Well, thank you.

Jim: We’re kind of into it pretty deep already. Um, it is amazing how God used, uh, you to touch so many lives over the years. We were just talking about that. I went to KC 83, which was a Campus Crusade event back when I was in college. And, uh, you organized that, as you informed me. And you have been doing it for 55 years, Josh. That is inspiring. Thank you.

Josh: It’s a long time, isn’t it (laughter)?

Jim: But you still - you have such vitality, such youthfulness, and, you know, your attitude and your desire to help kids, particularly - I know, even when you write a book like this, 10 Commitments for Dads, it’s really about the kids for you...

Josh: Oh yes.

Jim: ...Because you want the kids to grow up with parents who know God.

Josh: Over the years, we’ve done - our ministry’s done five major youth campaigns, like the Why Wait campaign is centered on sexual purity and all, Right From Wrong campaign on how to make right choices. But in every campaign we’ve ever done, we’ve always had a major parenting track. Because if you do not help parents, you’re spinning your wheels with young people.

Jim: All we can say is, amen (laughter).

Josh: We’ve got to help parents.

Jim: Yes, yeah. It’s the key.

Josh: That’s why majority of my books are written to parents, not kids.

Jim: Yeah, but it’s for the benefit of the children.

Josh: Oh, that’s right.

Jim: And that’s what I love. Now Josh, with regard to dads, I think it’s important for people to understand that like me, you didn’t have a great role model there. We both had fathers who were alcoholics. You experienced a lot of pain growing up in a hostile environment. And so often, people that are struggling in life - maybe that 20 or 30-something - they think their parents had it better than they do. And we’re here to say, in fact, “No, we didn’t.” The only thing we have is Jesus Christ, who is guiding us and helping us to be a better dad. Would you say that’s fair?

Josh: Oh, absolutely. This is why, in the book here, on 10 Commitments of a Dad, one of the things we have to do is model in a love for our children’s mother, or a wife for our children’s fathers, we need to model that kind of love that is accepting, unconditional love based upon God’s grace and forgiveness where our children feel free to come to us, especially if they - in the area of pornography - they feel free to come to us with any, any question, without any fear of shame, judgment, or starting to quote the Bible.

Jim: Why is it so difficult, Josh, for us, as Christian parents, to exhibit that kind of unconditional love? We talk about it. We can spell it. But so often, in the Christian community, we can’t do it.

Josh: I think there’s two reasons. One, the way our Christian young people in evangelical homes are taught about sexuality - they’re not taught it in the beautiful way it is described in Proverbs and...

Jim: A marriage gift.

Josh: ...Uh, the Song of Solomon and all - of the beauty of God’s creation and purpose of sex - they don’t have a healthy view of the originality of sexuality. And that’s one of the reasons why so many of our Christian young people are turning to pornography - because if you don’t have a concept of the original, it’s hard to detect a counterfeit.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: And so, that’s one reason. The other is they never had a model of it. I mean, the only way I was able to become a model, which is so strong in the book that we’re talking about today - that you must be a model in it...

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: ...Is that I looked at other men - Dick Day, Paul Lewis, Jim Simpson - became models of me of what it means to be a man who loves a woman and a father who spends time with his children. And I became, I think, quite a good father and a loving husband, because of watching others who modeled it for me.

Jim: No, that’s good. I mean, that’s the way it should work, right?

Josh: Oh, with my - my daughter - we have four kids, and our youngest was adopted. If we were young, we’d adopt three or four more. I don’t know what life would be like without Heather. And I was doing a fundraiser for our ministry in Carlsbad, California, and she was a student at Biola - was going down to Tijuana to work in an orphanage that she and some other students helped with. And she stopped. And she - in my second talk, she had to leave partway through it. And when I - when I walked over, there was a note she’d left me on the table. And I sat down. There were about 60-70 business men there in all. And I read it, and I just started crying, just profusely. Everybody thought, what happened? Is he just going through a divorce, or what? And on the note, my daughter wrote, “Daddy, do you realize when I was a little girl, I always wanted Jesus to be just like you?”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Oh man.

Josh: And I - I couldn’t hold it back. It’s the most beautiful...

Jim: What a statement.

Josh: ...Thing I’ve ever read from anyone in my whole life. And then when I wrote the book - what’s it called? - Straight Talk with Your Children about Sex, meaning the age of the Internet...

Jim: Sure.

Josh: ...and pornography, and I sent a cameraman around, a videographer, to each one of my children’s home because I share a lot of personal stories. And, you know, you can exaggerate without realizing it.

Jim: Sure.

Josh: And I really wanted them to be true, because they’re so good, I don’t have to exaggerate them. And so one of the questions was, “When was the first time your father ever talked to you about sex?” And my three daughters and my son answered, “I don’t know. He always did it - at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, on the way to church, on the way back from church, on the way to a ballgame, on the way to a movie, on the way to school.” And what they were saying is it was just a part of our natural conversation.

Jim: Sure.

Josh: And then the question - what was your greatest motivation to stay pure? This is what I deal with in this book, 10 Commitments of a Dad. What was your greatest motivation to stay pure? And my four children all answered, “Because I always wanted what my father has with my mother, and it’s worth waiting for.”

Jim: Wow. And they saw it, and they could feel it.

Josh: But they had to know about it.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: And that’s why we - I would always...

Jim: Experience.

Josh: ...tell my kids...

Jim: Right.

Josh: ...how much I enjoy sex with their mother.

Jim: (Laughter).

Josh: No, if they don’t know about it, they don’t know what is causing what you have.

Jim: Yeah, and some kids, that could make them cringe. (Laughter) But I’m just saying.

Josh: Yeah, but that almost every time a kid cringes on a talk about sex, they’re saying, “Tell me more.”

Jim: But it’s a beautiful story. It is God’s wedding gift to that couple. I mean, that’s how I’ve described it to my own children. I am trying to encourage them - save that present. I know you like to get up early at Christmas and open those presents as quickly as possible. This is one you want to wait. And let God bless you in your marriage and unveil that present at that time.

Josh: I always say, I’ve got enough baggage in my mind. I don’t need any on sexual immorality.

Jim: Right, there you go. Josh, I do want to get into the content more of the book. And in there, you talk about being responsible as a parent to our kids, rather than being responsible for our kids. That is huge.

Josh: Oh, I think that’s what made fathering so exciting for me.

Jim: But for some, that’s going to be...

Josh: Well...

Jim: ...daunting.

Josh: Most parents grow up thinking, “I’m responsible for my children.” I’m not. I’m responsible to my children.

Jim: Give us the distinction.

Josh: I will. And what they do with that is their responsibility, not mine. I’m responsible to love my children. I’m responsible to model Jesus Christ before my children. I’m responsible to educate my children. I’m responsible to build convictions, not just beliefs, into my children. And when I do all of this, then what my children do with that is not my respon - you could go nuts as a parent!

Jim: Well, many parents are going nuts, Josh. That’s the...

Josh: I know.

Jim: That’s the thing. And how do you move from the “to” to the “for”?

Josh: And maybe some of them ought to...

Jim: ...Or from the...

Josh: ...because they’ve never been responsible to their children to build these things into their children’s lives.

Jim: Well, and it’s the great trap that a lot of - and I’d say - you know, I don’t want to be specific - but a lot of moms are struggling in this area, particularly - that we feel responsible for our kids, not to our kids. And how do you get out of that trap when it’s...

Josh: Oh, obviously...

Jim: ...you know, how they dress, how they look, how they are behaving? “You said what to the teacher today? How could you embarrass us like that? We don’t say those words to teachers.”

Josh: I would say...

Jim: “We don’t say them to anybody.”

Josh: I would say, “Mom, Dad, sit down together.” Dottie and I did this, years ago. What do we want to see built into our children? Biblically and just common sense, what should our children look like at 20 years old, at 16 years old? And so we made a list and everything.

Jim: How big a list is that? Because if you’re an engineer...

Josh: Well, for me...

Jim: ...You could probably...

Josh: ...It was about...

Jim: ...come up with 300.

Josh: ...Fourteen things.

Jim: Right, good.

Josh: Major things - about 14. Okay. Now, how do we do this? One thing with me, I owe it to my children on how to make a living, not by the time they graduate in university, but the time they graduate from high school. How do we do that? Well, all my children, by about eighth, ninth grade, had a business.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Josh: And boy, they made a lot of money. But they had to pay their taxes. They could use a minimum wage to buy a car. Everything else was set aside for the university and all. Plus, it was common sense for me. I didn’t have to pay so much. But how do you do your taxes? Everything else - how do you make money? And they had to have a business where they hired somebody to work with them and all.

Jim: Wow, that is good.

Josh: Oh, it was marvelous!

Jim: You’re Dave Ramsey here.

Josh: And by the...

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: By the end of high school, my kids were ready to make a living. Now, I have four kids, ten grandkids. And I said, “Dottie, it’s so wonderful to sit here and know our children can afford our grandkids.”

Jim: Wow. That’s well said.

Josh: But we built that into them, back when they were four, five, six years old.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: But that was just one. We’re responsible to them on how to make a living. Now, whether they use it or not cannot be my responsibility.

Jim: Right, that’s the...

Josh: I’d go crazy.

Jim: ...”to” versus the “for.”

Josh: That’s right.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Josh McDowell is our guest on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And Josh’s book, 10 Commitments for Dads: How to Have an Awesome Impact on Your Kids, is available at our website focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or when you call 800-A FAMILY. And Josh, I so appreciate your insights. One of the things you talked about in this book was making time for our kids. And you are a busy guy and always have been. How did you make time, traveling and speaking and doing so much, for your kids? What did that look like?

Josh: I am busy.

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: I’ve given 34,000 talks, made over 20,000 airplane flights. I’ve traveled for 50 years, 300 days a year. I run a major operation. At one time, it was one of the largest humanitarian efforts in the world - everything. And I say to anyone, “If I have time, then don’t come to me that you don’t have time.” But it wasn’t easy for me. I’m so glad I learned the principle of looking to others, watching others. Others who can model things for me. And in getting the time, the best asset for me was being married to Dottie. Guys, I never knew a woman could love a man as much as my wife loves me. I have never, ever seen it in a Hollywood movie. My wife has changed my life. And I’m not saying this in a flippant way - my wife has changed my life more than Jesus has. Now, I know, it’s Jesus through my wife, but if I had married a high - high maintenance woman, or a woman who didn’t have a good, healthy self-image and a good model in parents, I’d be in trouble. I brought so much baggage into marriage and family. I mean, I just - every day I think, “God, how did you do it?” I mean, yesterday, I heard Dr. Jay Stringer. And he was talking about why people, statistically, watch pornography and everything. And I said, “My gosh, I ought to be a 10 times over porn addict.” And - and I watched others, and then my wife...

John: And how did she...

Josh: ...Because I know she loved me so much. When she would confront me with something, I would listen to her most of the time. I’ve got to be honest...

John: Yeah.

Josh: ...most of the time. But my wife, I gave her the freedom to confront me. I said, “Honey, if you see anything in my life as a husband, or as a father, that you do not look at as being a healthy thing, I give you the freedom to confront me.” Now, every time she did it, I have to admit, I reacted. And it’s just - it hurts me that I do react. But Dottie would say, “Honey, you’re not spending time with our children.” The first time she said that, it was a shock to me. And I argued with her not, but she was true. And then my wife not only was willing to confront me with these things, she was willing to help me. And I thank God. He gave me a little bit of humility there to say, “Well, honey, what do I do?” I - isn’t this stupid? I did not know how to spend more time with my kids. And so my wife would say, “Well, do this to your children.” By the time my children graduated from high school, they’d probably been to 35 countries.

Jim: Yeah, that’s...

Josh: I took my kids with me. When I took them with me, I made sure my schedule was lighter...

Jim: Right, so you’d spend time.

Josh: ...So I could do things with them.

Jim: That’s brilliant. And...

Josh: Yeah.

Jim: ...That’s something a lot of us traveling dads should do.

Josh: And almost every day home, I went to school and took my kids out of school one at a time and had lunch with them - almost every day home. And I can’t remember a day ever being home I didn’t pick up one of my kids at school.

Jim: And Dottie didn’t say you’re going to run their SAT scores if you do that too much?

Josh: Oh, no, my...

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: Three of my kids were valedictorian, so...

Jim: Okay.

Josh: ...I don’t think - we pulled them out weeks and weeks a year.

Jim: So it worked?

Josh: Yeah.

Jim: Let me ask you this - in the book, you describe something that I have often talked about on Focus on the Family, and that is the simplicity of the Word of God. It’s not to diminish God’s complexity. He’s so much more complex than we are, and He created the universe, right? But when you look at it, what He’s illustrated for us - the simplicity of Him demonstrating parental characteristics, as He deals with his kids, you know. And let me tell you, these are prodigal kids - Adam and Eve, right on down to us today. He’s got a bunch of teenagers.

Josh: Almost all kids of Christian parents in the Bible and New Testament have a problem with the kids.

Jim: Right. And so, from that perspective, talk about that simplicity and how you see God exemplifying the right way to be a dad, be a parent, for that matter, with their children. What are some of those lessons you pulled out of Scripture?

Josh: One is this - if it is not real in your life, it’ll never become real in the relationship of your marriage, or your children.

Jim: No truth.

Josh: That’s right - is that I needed to learn how to fall in love with Jesus, how to personally live that out in my life. And then every time - not every time - majority of the time, when I do something with my children, I said, “You know, one of the reasons I do this is because this is what God has done. This is what Jesus did.” And I would try to relate my actions back to the Heavenly Father. And it really worked. It really worked with my kids, where I would tie up the good things, and even the bad things. I said, “You know, kids, your Dad blew it here. And yet, I’m not full of shame, because this - Jesus knew I was going to blow it. And He took care of that and eternally passed with a cross.” And so, I would do the good, the bad and the ugly, and relate it back to why Christ died on the cross, God’s love for us, how His love is manifested in a way that I manifest my love to your mother and to you. And it’s explaining my actions to my children.

Jim: Yeah. What motivates you to behave the way you behave.

Josh: That’s right.

Jim: I think that’s great. You also mentioned appreciation, affirmation and accountability. I love the triple As. Describe for us what you’re driving at for parents there - those practical applications of appreciating your kid. There are a number of parents listening right now saying, “I don’t have one single ounce of appreciation for that 13-year-old that could never take the garbage out. He never gets the dishes done. He’s always losing something at school. Doesn’t do his homework.”

Josh: He’s probably doing that, because you don’t appreciate him.

Jim: Right, doesn’t do his homework. I’m just painting the picture.

Josh: Yeah.

Jim: But mention that in a context of appreciation, affirmation and accountability.

Josh: At the baptism, the heavens opened up, and the Heavenly Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well-pleased.” What was God, the Father, doing? Saying, “Jesus, I appreciate You.” Most the time, we parent - and it’s often taught within the church - we parent by catching the kids doing things wrong and discipline them.

Jim: Correct them.

Josh: If you do that, you’re going to have problems. You, first - it doesn’t mean you don’t do that. But we, first, must catch our kids doing things right and express appreciation. “Thank you, Kelly, for doing that. Your mom will appreciate you putting your clothes in the hamper. Sean, thank you for sweeping off the porch. I appreciate that. Now, would you do the other half?”

Jim: Yeah, right.

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: But my philosophy has always been I owe it to my children to catch them doing things right...

Jim: Right.

Josh: ...And express appreciation. And, John, I got to tell you - and I believe this is a life biblical principle - the more I caught my kids doing things right and expressed appreciation, literally, there were the less things to do - catch them doing wrong and discipline them. I think that’s a life philosophy.

Jim: That, perhaps, is the most meaningful thing you can take away from today’s program. Before we wrap up, Josh, there was one other aspect. You coined it the 4C process in the book. Just, what are the four Cs?

Josh: The first C - consider the choice. Second, compare it to God. You see, the basis of right from wrong is the person, nature and character of God. Compare it to God. Third, commit to God’s way.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: And that can be the difficult one. But fourth - the fourth C is count on God’s blessing. And with our children, when they would make choices, it might take six months later - say, “Honey, remember you made that choice? Look what just happened.”

Jim: Keep an eye out for those things?

Josh: That’s right.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: So you consider the choice, compare it to God, commit to God’s way and count on His blessing.

Jim: Yeah, those are good.

Josh: Those are the four Cs that we raised our children on, in making moral, right choices.

Jim: Josh, I think people are feeling this book you’ve written. 10 Commitments For Dads is full of great dad wisdom. And I’m so appreciative of you doing it, taking the time to write it down for us dads that maybe didn’t have a good role model.

Josh: But here’s the key to use it - Mom, you get the book.

Jim: (Laughter) Exactly.

Josh: Like, Dottie did this with every book, like James Dobson. I never read one of his books. My wife would always read them, highlight it...

Jim: Yeah, there you go.

Josh: ...and I could read it in 15 minutes.

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: And, ladies, get the book. Go through it and highlight things.

Jim: Well, that’s a great idea.

Josh: Then - oh, give it to your husband. But then, also - I learned this, guys. Every time she would take, say, Dobson’s book, yours books, anyone else and highlight it...

Jim: (Laughter).

Josh: ...She didn’t highlight the best part of the book. She highlighted what she saw lacking in my - and I’m not making a joke here - what she saw lacking in my life in my relationship with her or my kids. That’s what she highlighted.

Jim: Yeah, and that’s a...

Josh: Ouch.

Jim: That’s a wise woman.

Josh: Oh...

John: Very wise.

Jim: That is a wise woman. Josh, again, this has been so great. If you are in that parenting situation and maybe some of the things that Josh has talked about today are kind of cutting at your heart, either as mom or dad, we want to get this resource into your hands - 10 Commitments For Dads. And as Josh said, maybe the wise woman in the home might highlight a few things - the executive summary for us dads that are too busy to read.

Josh: The only wise woman in the home.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: But let us get this in your hand. For a gift of any amount. We will say thank you by sending you a copy of the book. And we are grateful, Josh, to you once again for delivering on about 150 books that you have written. And this is just another gem of a resource for people to lean into. Thank you.

Josh: Well, I just love being on Focus, because it always seems like it’s 10 minutes.

Jim: Yeah, I know. It goes by fast.

Josh: Oh, it does.

Jim: Well, we appreciate it. And really, I want to give you a kudo. I know your work with Evidence That Demands A Verdict saved me in a secular university, where I was in a philosophy class. And that book gave me the background information I needed to confront that philosophy teacher.

Josh: Thanks for sharing that. That means a lot.

Jim: Well, you meant a lot to me, so thank you for all the hard labor of love that you’ve provided to all of us.

Closing:

John: And there are so many in our audience that could echo those words of gratitude to you, Josh. Thank you again for writing this book, 10 Commitments For Dads, and for joining us here on the program. And Jim is going to have one more question for you in just a moment, so as listeners, stay with us. And make sure you get a copy of the book and a CD or a download of the conversation and use it as a refresher course in your role as a dad, or mom if you’re listening and want to do that for your husband.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Great way to go.

Jim: Wink, wink.

John: Focusonthefamily.com/broadcast is the website. And while you’re there, you’ll see our 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. It’s an assessment. It’s free, and it’s a great way for you to get an idea of your strengths as a mom or dad. Again, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Josh, you know, one of the things that’s kind of fun in our house is when the kids get their report card. You know, it’s all electronic now, so you go to the infinite campus, or whatever they’re using for schools. And we go over the grades, and we take a look at them. And then I’ll say, “Okay, now it’s time to grade dad.” And I’ve got kind of a - I think it’s seven - six or seven points. Have I spent enough time with you? Have I taught you the Word of God? Have I demonstrated what it means to be a Christian man? And they can grade me A, B, C, D and F. And I think it’s just a wonderful way to get feedback from your kids. “You got your report card, now give me mine.”

Josh: That’s brilliant!

Jim: Well, I don’t know if it’s brilliant, but I felt guilty (laughter).

Josh: I always evaluated my kid’s report card. And I - I can’t believe I never thought of that.

Jim: Well, what did you - what did you do to evaluate, or have the kids evaluate, or invite the kids to evaluate you?

Josh: At three different ages, I gave my children freedom to confront me. And I would say, like, to Kelly, I’d say, “Kelly, I have never ever been a father of a 10-year-old. Help me.”

Jim: Oh, that is good.

Josh: If there’s anything this year you see that I could do better - I’m not loving you, spending time with you - please tell me. And then, “I’ve never been the father of a 16-year-old. Sean, help me.”

Jim: Was it like that? Or was it, “Sean, help me!”

Josh: No, no, no. It was, “Sean, help me. I give you” - I needed to give my children the freedom to confront me.

Jim: Yeah.

Josh: But when they do, I cannot defend myself.

Jim: And you can’t ignore it.

Josh: That’s right. You cannot defend. But I would do it at two or three different ages with each. And then with my daughter Katie, I said, “You know, I’ve never been the father of a blonde 13-year-old.”

(LAUGHTER)

Josh: Well, no, and a blue-eyed 13-year-old. I would find something unique to that child at 13, because you could only say it once - I’ve never...

Jim: Right.

Josh: ...Been a father of a 13-year-old - when you’ve got four children. And I learned a lot of that from Dottie again.

Jim: I could hear you saying, “I’ve never been the father of someone so bright and intelligent (laughter) as you.”

Josh: Yeah, and...

Jim: That’d be a good one.

Josh: ...And as your mother says, “You’re an exact image of your dad.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I love it. 

John: Well thanks again for listening, and do plan to join us on Monday as Debra Fileta explains the true heart behind marriage.

Teaser:

Debra Fileta: It’s not, “You are greater than me. I’m greater than you. He’s greater than she.” It’s learning to see that “we” is greater than “me.” This is for the benefit of both of us, when I am sacrificial, when I lay down my life. It is for the benefit of the “we.”

End of Teaser

  • Featured Podcast

    The Official Average Boy Podcast

    Focus on the Family

    Hosted by Focus on the Family Clubhouse editor Jesse Florea and Christian comedian Bob Smiley, this podcast encourages children and parents to laugh and learn about God together.

    Listen
  • Featured PDF

    7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment

    Focus on the Family

    Good parents aren't perfect. And that's okay. There's no formula to follow, but there are ways you can grow every day. This assessment gives parents an honest look at their unique strengths, plus some areas that could use a little help.

    Read More
  • Featured Article

    The Involved Father

    Glenn Stanton

    Dads parent differently from moms, and that difference matters greatly for children.

    Read more
  • Featured Article

    The Real Job of Dads

    Timothy L. Sanford, MA, LPC

    A dad's primary, underlying job isn't control.

    Read more
More Episode Resources

Guest

Josh McDowell

View Bio

A former agnostic, Josh McDowell is now a well-known Christian apologist, a popular public speaker and an award-winning author who has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world. He has written or co-written nearly 150 books which have been translated into more than 10 dozen languages including the best-selling Evidence That Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter. Josh and his wife, Dottie, have four children and 10 grandchildren. Learn more about Josh by visiting his website, josh.org.