Kevin is joined by his lovely wife, Stephanie, today. They talk together about practical tips that they have learned in leading their kids through the first two phases of parenting.
You’ll gain practical wisdom as they share from their own life experiences as parents and foster parents.
Don’t miss this down-to-earth episode full of sound advice and funny stories!
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Hello, everybody, welcome back to following the lead with Kevin E, I am still Kevin E and as always, what are you laughing at, babe? So who else would you be?
Well, as you can see this week on my podcast, I have my lovely wife, Stephanie. Hey, babe, thanks for being here.
Good to be here.
This is kind of fun, but I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted was, hey, look, the hope in this podcast is to inspire you to follow Jesus in such a way that it impacts the way that you live and the way that you lead both at work and at home. And so this week in our podcast, I wanted to bring on my lovely wife, because when it comes to eating at home, I’m a little bit biased.
But there might not be anybody better than my sweet, lovely wife, Stephanie. So this is actually really fun having you on the podcast.
It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Well, we’re just getting into it, so we’ll see. OK, OK, so, hey, here’s we’re going to talk about this time.
If you’ve been listening to the podcast or maybe you went back and listened. And one of the first few episodes we did in season one, we walked through the four phases of parenting and we did that really with the hope not that people memorize different phases of parenting.
I don’t think that’s important, but I think that it is important for parents to realize that as our kids grow up and change, that our parenting needs to grow up and change with them, that you don’t parent a 17 year old like you parent a 17 month old.
And so one of the probably the biggest questions I’ve gotten the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten has gone back to that podcast where I just laid out those four phases of parenting, really, people asking, you know, how do you go from one phase to another and and what that looks like.
And so maybe you kind of give them a quick overview of us in case they don’t know us. Why don’t you talk about our family, just how long we’ve been married, our kids, and whatever else comes your mind when you think about our family?
Yes, we have been married for 17 years. We have five kids of our own and one foster placement. Right now, our kids range in age from 10 to 15 and then our foster placement, he’s 18 months. So we are busy with all the phases. That’s right.
And three of our kids are biological. Two of our kids are adopted from the foster or foster care experience. And then we’ve continued to foster.
So how long we’ve been foster parents now we 11 years, 11 years, we’ve had about how many kids come through, probably about 15 kids come in and out of our home, OK?
And so many times they are here with us for a year, year and a half. I mean, you know, six.
I mean, down to what was our short sweet I think six weeks has been our shortest placement.
And I think I bring that up only because when it comes to we laughingly tell people, you know, we’ve been in diapers in our family for almost six years now.
I mean, yes, for a long time. And so which is it? You know, it says a lot about you, baby, about how many kids, young kids you’ve helped love and train and serve and bless, but also in addition to our five kids of our own.
And so so let’s back up so above our fireplace, you know that we have a Bible verse, Psalm 71, 17 and 18. I don’t have it in front of me right now, but it says do remember how it starts. So, oh, God, since my youth you have taught me. So I’m into old age and gray hairs.
Let it be known.
That’s right. So how does the translation of the fireplace so even old age and gray hairs do not forsake the entire proclaim your might to the next generation, your power to all those to come.
We have that verse above our fireplace because our heart is in parents has everything to do kind of at the heart of this podcast that as we follow Jesus, we don’t want to just parent as the world might suggest, or maybe cultural examples we see. But we want to be intentional about proclaiming the goodness of God in our home, the power of God in our home. So it’s going to impact the way that we parent at the same time as you and I have gotten to share with a lot of different families through small groups in our house to speaking at conferences to moms groups that you’ve spoken at or I’ve spoken to to just various settings, one on one.
A lot of people call you, I know, as a mom and just, hey, what do I do with this? A lot of people’s questions we like this tend to steer towards the let’s talk about a theology of our home or let’s talk about a philosophy of parenting that honors God and what we do here. But a lot of parents are like me. That’s great. But can you help me out with some practical issues in our home? I mean, I guess maybe you’ve experienced the same thing as you’ve talked to people.
I guess, right, I have, yes, for sure, I think Marco Polo is probably my new favorite app that I like young moms on just because you can ask a quick question and then respond at leisure, you know, or immediately and then just be able to get back, you know, and then you can parent in the middle of that, like, OK, this was my issue. How do I deal with this? I can respond.
They can go deal with that issue. And then, you know, the success of that or let’s work through that as well.
And you do people I mean, we have old friends, new friends that Marco you or the text you or that call you.
I mean, I hear the conversations happening in our house quite a bit. And so I want to try to put those on display here. And so one of our incapacities is want someone teven when it comes to parenting someone twenty seven. It’s a some of us I’ve talked about before on his podcast, the Jews, as they were going to offer their sacrifices and festivals during the Old Testament times, they would often sing these songs as they’re going up to Jerusalem.
And so it’s it’s fascinating to me that they’re singing a song like Someone Twenty Seven that starts off with unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers build in vain. It keeps going. But in verse three, it says, Behold, children are a heritage for the Lord. One translation says, are a gift from God. The fruit of the womb is a reward like arrows in the hand of a warrior. So are the children of one’s youth.
And then it says, basically, happy is the man who fills us quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed and it keeps going. So someone twenty seven to me, I love it because it’s a reminder that, you know, we’re going to eventually launch our kids out. And the Bible uses a description here like a weapon of war, that they’re going to be really potent for something. And our heart parents is that we launched them out into the world to bless the world and to be a vessel that reveals who God is.
And so what do you think about that baby when you think I mean, let’s think about that someday we’re going to launch out, whether it be Walker or Madrie or Levi, whoever. What comes to your mind when you think of someone twenty seven like that?
Oh, I think probably what comes to my mind is the preparation that we get, the honor of walking alongside our kids in that is preparing them for what that’s going to look like within, you know, the different aspects of their life, whether that be friendship, whether that be education, just familial relationships. How do you deal with conflict? We now need to prepare them so that when they are launched, they’re prepared to be able to interact and deal with those situations, even if it may be grief, you know, losing a pet, losing a grandparent.
Like, I feel so privileged and thrilled with any issue, even if it’s a big discipline issue, I would rather discipline, you know, our kids and have them, you know, walk through a big line issue, a stealing issue, anything like that in our home so that they know, OK, when they’re out of our home, this is how it was dealt with or this is how I experience that they’re going to have the words to do is a great point.
I mean, in other words, someone twenty seven. The idea of launching our kids out is potent instruments into this world doesn’t begin the day they move out. It begins the day they’re born with us is that we want to be a part of shaping them their entire life and then eventually launching them out so they can lead lives that honor God for their entire life. And so so let’s talk about these phases of parenting and then we’re going to really just capitalize and focus on phases one and two today.
I mean, I’ve already done that. Other podcasts, you might look it up again. One of the first ones in season one going through these four different phases. But as a quick refresher, we talked about phase one is really a foundational phase of parenting. And the role that we play is like a commander that we’re really teaching our kids or, you know, telling our kids when they’re going to eat, when they’re going to sleep. It’s a high discipline years, high training years that goes to about the ages of five or six.
The second phase is what we call the fitness phase in the role that we play as a coach. And so it’s going to look different when you have a eight year old and if you have a two year old, that’s what we’re going to focus on here today, is those differentials. Phase three is the formative stage, the role that we play as counselor. We have some kids in that formative stage right now playing a counselor of a 15 year old and a 13 year old is way different than a two year old, you know, obviously.
And then lastly, the last phase is the friendship phase, which we look forward to being at with our kids as they grow older. And the role that we really play as consultant, we’re no longer telling them what to do. We’re really in a lot of ways, waiting to be consulted and and being there to to love them and and as a resource for them. But they’re really living life now as adults. That’s the hope here, is that we prepare them through those different phases to go out.
And so. So phase one here at the foundation phase, the role that we play as commander, so so they when I say the role they play as commander, it seems like a bit of a harsh term, a strong term. What does it look like for a parent to play the role of commander in their home with young kids in their home? What does it look like to you?
I think for me and talking to other moms, I think the word that I would come, it would be structure, like having a structured environment. And I’m not saying that, you know, your kid has to go to bed every day at six thirty or eat right at five o’clock. But if you have some structure involved, it’s going to look like that as well. As I think with that commander, you’re more than telling. You’re telling them because you’re keeping them safe.
You’re keeping their tummies full. You’re keeping them from running out in the street, ingesting poison, chewing on a balloon, eating flour, whatever. You know, toddlers are going to be crazy. Doing that is your job is you’re keeping them safe. You’re telling them what to do. You’re providing structure. I think a lot of parents when I’ve talked to young moms with toddlers, this is a struggle for them, is providing structure instead of letting their child kind of lead the way.
Oh, well, they wanted to do this or they wanted to do that. That’s not going to help because when children start school at age three, four or five, they’re being told what to do by either a child care worker or a teacher. So why wouldn’t we as parents want to step up in that commander role as well, just as education does or, you know, child care workers do like we’re going to tell them, no, this is when we eat.
This is when we rest. This is when we sleep. This is when we pick up our toys. We’re choosing to provide that structure for them. And in that, there’s going to be felt safety and actual safety.
Yeah, Tim Kimmel, I’ve had it on the podcast already in the past as well. Great guy we love. Obviously we get to teach grace based parenting to families all over. And one of the points he makes is really, especially with young years, part of what parents are providing is a secure love for their kids. And because kids need security. And so we get to experience kids who come from an insecure environment through the foster care system. They come to our house.
And I know that’s one of the first things on your mind is providing security for them. What do you see even like with foster kids that show up? Because I think sometimes if we look at when it’s not there compared to when it’s there, you kind of see a difference. When kids come to us that are young, oftentimes our placements are less than a year old through foster care. Try to describe the state of a lot of those young kids.
Yeah, I think not experiencing that secure love.
Yes. Chaos is what I would imagine that their life has been chaotic. They have lived in chaos, whether that is living in an environment of drugs, whether that is being moved from, you know, family member to family member to friend. And so when they come into our home, I’m thrilled to be able to offer them structure. And so immediately it is this is your bed, whether they’re four months old. Yes. I’m going to we’re going to begin working on, you know, ways that you can learn to self soothe.
Some of these children have been self soothing with bottles of Coke. We’re not going to, you know, do that. So it’s starting from the moment we get them. We’re going to have snuggles and touching, just, you know, feeling super, you know, close to us so that they know that they are safe and they can snuggle. But at the same time, we’re going to provide this is when our day starts. This is when we eat so that they know food is always coming, someone is always there.
And so I think it’s going from chaos to structure. That’s just kind of what I’ve seen bringing in kids and that works with your own kids, not just foster kids. They need that from you.
Mm hmm. You know, even as you talk about chaos with a lot of the kids we see from the foster system, a lot of parents, not foster parents, they just have kids of their own. What is chaos? You know, with well-meaning parents? I call them well-meaning godly people who have young kids. They experience chaos as well in their homes at times. What does that look like for parents in this commander phase? What are they dealing with often?
Probably dealing with tantrums and a child who a toddler who is beginning to realize, oh, I have a will, I want to, you know, do what I want to do. And is it easier for the parent to go ahead and let them and deal with the repercussions later? Yes, but is that teaching them are we going to be prepared to launch them and go into that coaching phase if we’re letting them lead the way? There’s going to be times that, you know, I mean, I’m a big clapper.
Like if a child or toddler is doing something inappropriate, I am going to get their attention quickly. And so just clapping can get their attention. I’m not having to shout, but it gets their attention, partly because so many young kids. They’re living in their back, the back of their brain, which is just emotional responses, they’re not up here in executive function in the front of their brain. And so if I can reset that with a big clap, OK, let’s get you back here, OK?
No, this is what Mommy is asking you to do. This is the expectation that I have for you so that then we can move from that commander phase so that once they’ve got that, the structures there, the foundation is there, then we can move on into that coaching phase.
OK, so again, let’s stay in this first phase here just for a second, because something else, Pariaman, even as you’re talking when we think about chaos, I remember we talked to quite a few different parents at different times that their kids were acting out and there’s a lot of tantrums. They’re home and they’re saying, hey, help us out here. And one of the things you saw was like a gazillion toys. Somebody came over to our house one time and looked in some drawers, I think I remember correctly in the bathroom.
And they talked about, you know, you don’t really have anything.
I mean, there’s a little bit in there, but not much talk about that from a secure love standpoint for kids in this first phase, how we can serve our kids by providing a structured environment in the midst of a good jillion toys. Hey, everybody, we just want to interrupt this podcast for a quick update. I’m Compass Snakes and I work for the Mentoring Alliance. We are so glad you were able to join us at the following to lead with Kevin E.
We hope you’re enjoying today’s show. We would love to have you learn more about what we do here at the Mentoring Alliance. So please visit our website at the Mentoring Alliance dot com. If you want to contact Kevin, please feel free to send him a message directly to Kevin at the Mentoring Alliance dot com. Let’s get back to the podcast. Yeah, well, and I don’t do well with Messe, I’m probably a minimalist, as you would say, because things disappear in our home quite frequently, but I just found for me I didn’t want all the toys because I was the one that was having to clean them up.
And yes, I can teach and train our kids. But that’s an ominous thing for a two year old to see all of these blocks in books and, you know, stuffed animals laid out. And so if I was able to choose like we’re going to have six basic toys in that B books blocks, I guess blocks is kind of like Legos as well. And then dress up clothes is another great one. And then I am a big fan of just being outside, like, get your kids outside.
They don’t need a lot of toys because that’s just creating a chaotic mess for your kids to have to feel through and then it just doesn’t make you settled either. I feel like less is more giving your children the opportunity to be creative with a small amount of things than with every colorful plastic toy that you can imagine with teeny tiny pieces. I can’t do that.
So, I mean, all kind of laughed at us about this before and tell about the drawers. I what somebody said about the drawers at one point.
Well like where, where’s all the stuff in your bathroom. I mean we have a toothbrush and toothpaste and I colmer brush. I don’t have 30 bows. I was like I don’t have time for 30 bows and all the different things. And now as our girls have gotten older, I would say yes, now we have fingernail polish and earrings. But it was more like, where is it all, are you hiding it like no, we just don’t have it.
In fact, it kind of makes me want to go home today and clean out our bathroom there probably to pull.
Oh, no. So another thing that comes on mind is our current foster son. He’s been getting visits with his biological dad and hopefully going back to his biological dad here at some point soon. And he started, you know, of course, is a, you know, well-meaning guy who wasn’t involved in the trauma of this young boy before we got him. He wants to get his son some toys. And, you know, hey, look, what does he like?
And he’s he’s wanting to, you know, probably overextend himself to buy a bunch of toys. And what did you tell him about what our foster son loves to play with right now?
Oh, he basically just plays with barbecue tools and he loves to play with sticks, rocks and Tupperware. Those are the things in our house. He loves to get the spatula, the barbecue spatula and pinchers out. And then a calendar. I give him a spatula with a calendar. And part of that, he sees me in the kitchen. He wants to be like me. And so I’m going to encourage that. And I pull out the bowls in the Tupperware and give him some spatulas and he just kind of goes to town.
There’s no need to buy all this extra stuff when you have things that we’re going to be pushing them towards anyway. And I think it creates great tactile opportunities for them to stir and, you know, be helpful around the kitchen.
OK, so last thing about this first foundation are this first phase, the foundation phase that I think sticks out to me is watching you as a mom with our youngest kids and even foster kids has to do with you know, I’ll watch our foster son, our foster son right now is how old?
Eighteen months. I was going to say eighteen months. I was just afraid I’d be laid off. So now you’re right.
I’m sorry. Eighteen months and four months now we’ll change his diaper and then you’ll give him the diaper and tell him to go throw it away.
Talk about how even for a eighteen month or even younger. Why are you doing that with young kids like that. Why is it important. I love this aspect.
I think I’ve come to love toddlers. That’s probably one of my favorite stages of parenting is the toddlers, because you get to see so much growth and at that age they don’t realize that work is work. They think work is play and I’m going to make it fun. And so I also want to create a foundation and provide that structure for them. This is the expectation in our home. We clean up after ourselves because I know he’s going to be going back to a home that will be nothing like ours and probably entering back into some sort of chaos.
Maybe not what he came from, but it’s still not going to be two parents that are, you know, coming alongside and providing that structure and nurture. So, yes, he can go get his diaper. He go, he’s eighteen months. And I say, go get your shoes. And the shoes are always in the same spot his socks are. And so whether that be for our ten year old, I can give an instruction because they’ve been trained at even at eighteen months we had another foster placement.
He was two and a half and we throw all of our clean clothes on this rug in our house and I throw the clothes out and our little guy, our last placement, he would come in and I would say, Oh, look, this is Madrie shirt, go put it on her bed. And so he ended up helping. Sort all the laundry and then they put it up, as you know, when they would come home from school, but I’m already doing the same thing with Coalson at 18 months where I’m giving him, you know, oh, here, go put this in your room.
This is your shirt and it’s not hung up and put away, but I’m beginning to teach him. This is the expectation of cleaning up. This is how we do things. And he’s realizing he’s an integral part of our family, you know, being able to help out. And he feels so proud of himself. He loves to switch the clothes for me from the washer to the dryer. And yes, am I helping him? Does he slow me down?
Absolutely. But I know that I am teaching and training great behaviors in him that are going to only help him, you know, as he moves on from us here.
Because part of the what we say about the phase, the first phase of parenting is you’re really your goals to move your kids from discipline to self discipline to where you know, and I and I hope people, especially moms, hear you loud and clear when you say you love the toddler years. I mean, I feel like in our culture, we just we express such curses on different ages of our kids. We hear about the terrible twos and then we hear about how terrible the teenagers are.
And and, look, there are different aspects of young toddlers that are difficult, no doubt. And there are aspects of teenage years that are difficult, no doubt. And we are right smack dab in the middle of both of those with two teenagers and on a kind of a preteen and then yet an 18 month old in our house as well. So it doesn’t have to be a curse. You know, we can’t we can see the aspects of it that are difficult.
But also, this is an awesome time to really provide structure, to provide nurture for these kids, both our biological and our foster kids. And I think it’s important for parents to hear that as well. This is a these are good years. Don’t wish them away. Be fully present in these years. So babies, we were talking about even this podcast in general, you brought up a great point that brings us or brings me back, I should say, to this transition.
And one of the things you said was how to deal with one of our team values here. You’ve heard me talk about it, mentoring. Let’s talk about the team value.
I’ll describe what it is, but talk about it from what you mean when you when you go from the foundation phase to more of that, what I call the fitness phase, we play more of a coach, talk about this team value that we have here.
Well, I guess your team value is on your own growth. But I say to our kids, I need you to own your own education. That’s your grade. I’m not going to hold your hand. Yes, they’re going to send me an email. Hey, we’re missing an assignment and we don’t permit zeros at this school. I can tell you, hey, I got this email, but I’m not going to help you find it and I’m not going to help you do it.
Own your own education. And that’s the same. I want you to own the cleanliness of your room, the cleanliness of your body. We brush our teeth. We’re not going to have yellow furry teeth here. And so beginning to teach them furry teeth.
Oh, that’s kind of what it looks like. And you know what I’m talking about. You know which kid we’re talking about here? I did. Yeah. So, I mean, I want to teach that starting so that they know, OK, this is the expectation. I’m going to come alongside you. I need you to own this is your room. You’re a part of our family, but you’re not going to you know, yes, your room can be messy.
It doesn’t have to be the standard of how I make my bed. But you live in our home, and I want to teach you what is appropriate only because, like you said, we’re going to be launching them. They’re going to get a job someday. I mean, I told this to one of our kids, like, if you don’t want to be fired from your job, you’re going to have to show yourself trustworthy. And that starts now.
And so whether that you’re talking to a ten year old or a six year old, I’m having them look to the future. This is why we are we are going to work on some of these, you know, character qualities, you know, in their hearts so that they are prepared for a job someday.
Yeah. So we as you know, we’ve done a different couple of different podcasts. And this you can look them up in the past about our team values here at the ministry that I get to call Mentoring Alliance. And one of the things that we kept hearing about in some of the staff we had in the past, like, well, nobody teach me how to do this or nobody’s teach me this or nobody’s invested this in me. And so as we got together, a task force that people from our staff and put together the Inamed and identified and defined these 19 values that we have, one of our favorite ones that’s gotten the biggest legs know, in other words, that people talk about most often is this team value that we call own your own growth.
We have t shirts, hashtag oog, own your own growth. I like. Yeah. And what we say about is lead yourself. That’s the imperative of this team. Value that we have is lead yourself. And here’s what we say about and a little descriptor about this team value. We say growth happens best when it’s pursued and we own that responsibility. Do you need direction? Ask for it. You need an answer. Go find it. Need a certification or advanced degree.
Get after it. And our point to our site. Staff here, as we interview people, we’re looking for people that are owning their own growth within our staff team, we’re wanting to instill a philosophy here. If you own your own growth, you know, don’t be just well, nobody is this or nobody is teaching me that you own your own growth. And so I thought that was a great point that you’re bringing up, is as we go from that first phase into the second phase, part of our goal with our kids is to have them own their own growth, talk about even like fixing lunches.
What does it look like? At what age to kids do our kids in the past, what age they begin making their own lunches for school?
Oh, I mean, in kindergarten by five. I mean and they don’t have to do everything, but I want them. Are they going to be great at smearing peanut butter and jelly know? Is it going to be a mess? Am I going to have to come behind them and clean that up? Yes, but if they can start now, by the end, they know what they like to eat. Like you’re making your own your own breakfast.
Like I’m going to let them, you know, help in the kitchen, make scrambled eggs. You know, they can make mac and cheese. I’m going to let them be over the stove top. Yes. With supervision. But I need them doing a lot of things if you want this. I mean, we had one of our kiddos. I mean, she said, I don’t like it when you tell me what to do. And I said, OK, I won’t tell you what to do.
Then I need you to take the responsibility for yourself. You don’t want to be told, oh, you need to clean up your room. Oh, remember to take a shower and brush your teeth. If you don’t want to be told that, then I need you to step up and actually do it. If you don’t know what to do, ask question kind of like you had in your list, you know, lead yourself. Well, we’re giving the opportunity for our kids to lead themselves well, and that’s what they want.
Many children do not want to have a thumb on them or do not want to be nagged by a parent. So give them the opportunity, you know, to be in control of that. Those kids that want to have a lot of control give them the control, let them fail so that then they can see, oh, this is the expectation. This is how I’m going to succeed in this.
OK, so let’s let’s play it out then. Our kids then are kind of into the phase two of parenting and what we mean by a phase two, you know, roughly around the ages of five or six, you kind of move into a different style of parenting to about the age of 12 or so.
So our kids, let’s say, are in elementary school. I think one of the things I mentioned on the podcast before is when we would have parent teacher conferences with our kids teachers. One of the questions that, you know, they would run through a litany of things. Here’s how they’re doing. A reading here are doing this. And we would always say we have one question for you here. And that question is, is our child being a blessing to you and to the kids in your class like that’s important to us?
Is are they being a blessing? Look, I’m glad they’re getting good reading grades or not getting good reading grades. We know how to work with them better. We’ve had both ends, ends of that spectrum, kids that are behind and learning, kids that are advanced and learning. We’ve had kind of all that. But we recognize as parents, you know, that’s not the end goal for us is just kids making great reading grades. I mean, that education’s important.
You know, we both have advanced degrees. I mean, it’s not that we don’t think that’s important, but it’s not sovereign to us. So we would ask the question, are our kids being a blessing? How are you how do you see your role as a mom? Babies, you’re working with young kids in our home. How do you see those preparatory years helping to be a blessing, maybe said differently? In what ways are you preparing them that can then be a blessing to a teacher in a classroom setting?
What does it look like to you?
Well, and I think just even in our home responsibilities, probably one of the biggest things is them taking responsibility for their environment so that when they are in a classroom, they are aware of what their desk looks like or what another student may need help with. They’re taking responsibility for that because they’ve been trained in that, whether that’s helping out with laundry, unloading the dishwasher, three year olds can unload a dishwasher really well. They don’t have to do the glass plates, but they can do plastic bowls and silverware and you can set them up for that.
So it’s coming alongside them with and giving them responsibility so that they can be successful at that. And then that’s played out in the classroom. I think compassion is probably another really big thing is, you know, with us fostering that has really opened up a world for our children that they realize, OK, I want to be compassionate to this person, why are they treating me this way? Maybe they’re being hurt at home and this is the only way they know how to respond.
How can our children come alongside and be compassionate and love others that may be considered a bully or maybe, you know, just don’t have the nurture that our home provides? They get the opportunity then to share that and we get to coach them in that. Whether they come home from school and say my feelings were hurt or a chair was pulled out from under me, how do you then approach that child or that teacher? You know, if maybe you don’t like the grades you got, you know, from your teacher, then.
I’m not going to call their teacher, if you don’t like it, you need to go and talk to your teacher and say, I don’t know why I got this great. I’m not pleased with this. Can I do extra credit? I’m wanting to give them a voice in our home so that they can have a voice outside of our home.
Yeah. And I tell you, even as a dad and you’ve heard me moan and complain about this in the past, you know, the temptation for us is to be, you know, the old school terminology was helicopter parents, you know, in the 90s that just hover and smother kids. That’s been replaced by, you know, people call it different things from bulldozer parenting to lawnmower parenting with the idea being is that parents these days want to kind of go in front of their kids and knock everything down.
That’s troublesome to make the the grass really smooth and green like a golf course green that you’re putting on. And they want to make it smooth and eliminating all difficulties for their kids. So hovering is no longer good enough. Now we need to go knock down the pins in front of them and make it smooth. We’ve tried to fly against that to to try to do the exact opposite. So we’ve done things like, you know, I laughingly told people I walked in the first day of class with one of our kids, our oldest, and the teacher said, yeah, there’s a boy in here from China who doesn’t speak any English.
I’m not really sure we’re going to do it. This to which I said, great, put our son next to him. Our son speaks Chinese and she, like, lit up like, really? And I was like, no, but it’ll be great for him. It’ll be good learning for our son to learn how to interact with the kid who doesn’t speak English and to and to love him and to help him. We’ve talked to teachers that there is a bully in the class.
Put our kid next to them.
You know, I see these years is we’re moving into the second phase, being a coach. If our kids can experience a little bit of bullying as a seven year old and eight year old and I can walk them through how to deal with those things, I’d much rather do that than when they’re fifteen and having experienced it for the first time because I can no longer knock down all those pins. And so what do you think about that baby? What are some other examples that we’ve, you know, intentionally asked to make it a little more difficult for our kids because we see that as a teaching opportunity as parents?
Well, I mean, I think back to the own your own growth first semester. Well, it was the first semester, first six weeks for one of our kiddos. He’s taking algebra in eighth grade. And the teacher called me personally and said, hey, he’s really struggling in this class. We’re only four weeks in and he’s already in the mid 60s as his average. I really think you need to take him out of his class and he needs to go back to pre algebra, which he had taken the previous year.
And I said she said it’s going to messes GPA up. And I said, I don’t care about his GPA. I think he can do better. We’re not taking him out of this class. I’m not going to have him redo a class. I said I will talk to him. He’s going to have to own his own education. And now here we are. He has high eighties and we’re in the fifth six weeks. But we had to have a serious conversation with him.
No, you’re going to we’re not going to come in and rescue you and give you an easier class that you’ve already taken before. I mean, that right there. I did not want to rescue him from that.
Well, that’s a good point, because it’s not that the goal here is like we need to keep you in these pre AP classes forever is that we know his ability. We know what he’s capable of. We also know that he just gets bored with school easily. And so he just wants to do other things and we’re in. So he was one the easy way out. And we’re like, no, we’re not giving you the easy way out. We have other kids who education doesn’t come naturally.
And so we’re walking with them as they’re trying to catch up in different ages of learning and different subjects that they’re learning is all part of it. But the point of it being is not removing difficulties because we see the difficulties as opportunities for us as parents.
Yeah, we imagine that. Yeah, that’s right.
I laughingly tell our kids, you know you know, we have one kid who was in ninth grade Algebra one, I think you said, or geometry.
He’s in seventh grade. He took Algebra one.
OK, so then by ninth grade, taking Algebra two.
Yeah, our oldest taking algebra to ninth grade. I took because I’m very advanced in my educational abilities. I took pre algebra in ninth grade and so I laugh with our kids about that, that the goal is not just men. You got to take the biggest things at the youngest ages. We’re just with every child. We’re looking at them uniquely and differently as we know your ability level here. And we’re going to challenge you to step up to your ability level, not to regress to things that are easy.
How about, you know, I think about, you know, we have three kids in our family that are white. We have two kids in our family that are black. One of the things I’ve been challenged by by some of our staff here that become great friends that are black and told me, like, you know, Kevin, you call your son who’s black, you call him buddy. Hey, come here, buddy. And they’re like, you just need to know in the black community, we don’t call our sons buddy.
And I’m like, really, I’m like, you know, what do you call them? And he said, one of them said, We call my little man, Hey, come here, little man. And so it’s really got me thinking as a white dad, there’s a lot of things I can’t overcome when it comes to the difference of being a white dad, raising a black son or a black daughter.
But it does get me thinking about just the phrases we use are the names that we use with our children as they grow up that we might need to adapt them. And so, Buddy, probably for me needs to be adapted. What are some things like that? Like I think about bedtimes as kids grow up, they probably need to be adapted to talk about what you think about that baby is a child. Move from that first phase into that second phase.
What are some things that change during that?
Well, and I think you’re going to know each of your kids which kid needs more sleep or not. And it may I mean, we’ve already had one of our kiddos does better if they can read right before bed instead of us reading out loud, if they’re able to read to themselves, that calms them way down and they fall asleep a whole lot faster. Are they staying up later? Yes, but they’re going to have better sleep and fall asleep quicker instead of the tossing and turning.
And they’re getting out of bed if they can go ahead and read. And so am I wanting, you know, a young child to stay up till 10:00? Absolutely not. But, you know, just figuring out what’s going to work for that child and just beginning to loosen some of that commander control that we’ve had in that first phase and realizing, OK, and allowing them, you know, to play a part in that, like, oh, I need more sleep now.
I’m going to go ahead and go to bed. Now, I know this would help me sleep better. And so it’s it’s allowing your child to come in and help have that conversation with you, you know, as you’re parenting in that way.
Yeah. I think about, you know, when you move from discipline to self-discipline in that second phase, when you’re in that first phase where oftentimes I know it’s bedtime right from the time they’re a baby, this is the time you sleep there four or five years old. It’s bedtime. When you get to seven, eight, nine, all of a sudden you have sports start entering into the picture. You have other things entering into the picture and no longer is.
Let’s just call it seven o’clock, seven thirty. Whenever that time frame is. Maybe for a child that’s young to go to bed, those things need to begin shifting. And as parents, we want to be on the front end of that shift as opposed to all of a sudden our kids start rebelling because we’re saying it’s bedtime and they’re twelve years old and they’re going dead at seven o’clock. Come on, what’s the deal here? We’ve allowed our kids to stay up late sometimes because they wanted to during different span.
They might they might pay the consequences for that. And then we’re able to say, do you understand why we’ve established this is a good routine for you? So letting them experiencing a late night and realizing, oh, this could be the consequences of it the next day.
And they have those you know, we’ve had some kids in tears and say, OK, you’re going to see your body’s tired. This is why we get you in bed. Normally at this time, we let you stay up a little bit late, letting them experience those consequences. Like you say, that’s a good part of parenting. We don’t want to eliminate consequences. We want to let them do that so they can learn from that. And so they look, the point being here is this, you know, it’s a great phase, the first phase of foundation phase where you play more of a command, a role.
It’s awesome and it’s important and it’s good. But we’re going to move into that second phase and we want to be intentional as parents to do that. We want to be intentional in how we refer to them. Maybe it’s but is no longer appropriate. I used to kiss our kids on the lips every night. I still do with some of them. And then when our kid, one of my old oldest, got to sixth, seventh grade, I noticed when I would drop them off to school and I go to give him a kiss, he would kind of turn his head a little bit.
I find that, hey, it’s a little bit awkward, me kissing your lips. I said, yeah. And I said, OK, I’m going to kiss on the cheek now. But I said, but I’m never giving up the cheek. Like, I’m going to continue to kiss you as you grow up, because I think it’s important for you to feel my affection for you. So I’m going to kiss you on the cheek. And he’s like, OK, so here he is in ninth grade and I still kiss on the cheek.
And but things change like that, that we be intense about being affectionate with our kids. But the way the affection looks is different. We’re intentionally making sure they get rest, but we allow them to experience some freedom and staying up later or the experience, the freedom of being tired and the consequence that the experience of not packing a good lunch and, you know, not really doing that well and then not having a good lunch at school, we’re not going to rescue them from that.
We’re gonna let them experience that because we want them to move to self-discipline. OK, any other thoughts before we end for today about helping his transition from one phase to the next?
Well, I think just know sometimes that phase you may be in phase one, that foundation commander role that we play, and you move into that phase two. But depending on what your child is going through, you may have to back it up a little bit. Just know, you know, it’s kind of like a yo yo in a sense. You’re pulling yourself, oh, we need to go back to this phase or you may be moving on to the next phase.
And so just realize, OK, with each child. What’s going to be best for their personality and for the training of, you know, if their hearts, that’s good. Yeah, it’s not rigid. It’s very Graceville, very fluid, very fluid, very, you know, very specific to the child, the uniqueness of the child. We want to love and serve them in a way that really meets them where they are to help bring them to a place again, that we will eventually launch them into the world, hopefully as man is impactful people that love Jesus and whose lives are exuding that by blessing and serving others.
And so, hey, so thanks for being here today with the podcast today.
Fun. This is for me. I’m sure we’ll do it again at some point in future. Hey, I thank you all for tuning in today for following to lead with Kevin E. It’s fun to be here with you, with my wife of all people here on this podcast this week. If you’re new to this podcast, we drop a new episode every Monday, have different topics that are all aimed at this to inspire you to follow Jesus in such a way that it changes things.
There’s no longer religious or wrote or just moral people that we are, that we become different in how we live, how we become different, and how we lead both at work and at home. And so I’d love for you to continue to tune in, feel free to click, subscribe if you like what you’re hearing and share it. If you were with other people on social media, I’d greatly appreciate that as well as I love for you to review it.
Those are also helpful just to see how it’s impactful for people so that other people can hear that as well. So anyway, thanks for being with us this week and I look forward to interacting with you more in the future.