“F is For Family : Mission Statements”
February 16, 2020
By Ed Young
Ed: Good morning, everybody! How are y’all doing? I’m Ed, this is Lisa. We’ve written 14 books on this subject. We’ve had the opportunity to lecture here and around the world about what we’re talking about. We have four kids, we’ve been married for 37 years, two grandkids and two grandkids on the way. We’re not talking down at you, we’re talking with you. We’re coming alongside you because we’re fellow strugglers in F is for Family! That’s it. F is for Family. Today, Lisa, we’re talking about one of the most controversial subjects you can think about. We’re talking about discipline in the home.
Lisa: And it always gets a little quiet when you start talking about trends in discipline. You know, there are all these different philosophies out there. Ed and I remember Dr. Spock, who kind of had that…
Ed: Yeah, he said crawl into the playpen and reason with your toddler. Well, that worked well. And then you have the authoritative parent on the other end of the spectrum. You have the helicopter parent. You have the agent parent that wants to get the kid to Hollywood, or maybe the NFL, the NBA, whatever. So, all sorts of parental styles and thoughts. Usually opinions are stated, questions abound, when you talk about discipline. But Lisa and I are gonna give you the 4-1-1 before you have to call 9-1-1 on parenting. God is our perfect heavenly Father. God disciplines, Hebrews 12:6-8, God disciplines those he loves. He doesn’t punish us. Jesus took the punishment on the cross for our sins. God disciplines and we learn, we should learn, to take our cues from God. Because the reason we have kids and the reason we have families and the reason we’re here is to glorify God. So, that’s what’s at stake.
Lisa: So, when you think about parenting, think about how God parents us. Put aside all the different philosophies, all the different trends, and focus on – how does God parent us? He parents us lovingly, but he loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to behave in a way that’s contrary to glorifying him.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: So, I just think about the children of Israel. God had this amazing plan for the children of Israel. They had been I captivity for 400, was it 400 years?
Ed: 400 years.
Lisa: And God promised them the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, that would have everything they desired. And God, that was his intention for them. But the children of Israel, just like you and I, had a freedom of choice, a freedom of will. They rebelled against God, so they didn’t realize that full, beautiful experience that God had intended because of their rebellion. Well, I am a rebellious person, too. You are as well, so God has discipline in mind for us so that we can experience the life he intends for us.
Ed: You know, our whole adventure in discipline really started, Lisa, October 7, 1986 when bouncing baby LeeBeth was born.
Lisa: She was actually born on October 3, but October 7th…
Ed: Oh, I forgot the date! Sorry, LeeBeth. I love you. You know that. I just sometimes forget those birthdays.
Lisa: That’s OK. Yeah. So, October 7th is when Dr. Reagan.
Ed: Your birthday is December 18th…
Lisa: Thank you. Yes, it is. And yours is March 16th so it’s coming up soon! But October 7th was when Dr. Reagan came in. We’re talking 1986, came into the hospital room…
Ed: How many people were even alive then, in 1986? OK, good, good. That’s great.
Lisa: And so, Dr. Reagan was giving us our discharge instructions because here we were, brand new parents, ready to take LeeBeth home from the hospital. Frankly, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. So, Dr. Reagan began by saying, “Listen. We want her to grow, we want her to be healthy, so the first 30 days of life you do whatever she needs for you to do.”
Ed: Guys, this is the first 30 for 30.
Lisa: Yeah, the first 30 days of life. That was really…
Ed: That’s why it’s called 30 for 30, yeah. Guys, right? ESPN? So, first 30 days he said you do what she wants to do.
Lisa: Yeah, I need to do whatever she needs for me to do in order to be healthy and to grow.
Ed: And the next 30…
Lisa: He said, “From that point on, you start teaching her what you need for her to do.”
Lisa: And I was like, you know what? I think I could survive 30 days doing what she needs for me to do. Then I liked that plan of starting to teach her what I needed her for her to do, what we needed for her to do. But then, the question that was looming large and begged to be answered was, what am I supposed to teach her? I’m bringing her home from the hospital. The first 30 days I’m gonna do whatever she needs for me to do to help her get healthy and grow, but then, what am I supposed to teach her? And that’s a question that all of us need to address. What are we supposed to be teaching our children?
Ed: Let me stop for a second here, Lisa, to interrupt you. I have the gift of interruption. You might think, “I’m single,” or “I’m a student and I’ll just play Angry Birds on my phone.” Hey, this is as much for you – maybe even more so, I could argue – than for the parents and grandparents here. Because we want to coach you and give you the information from God’s word, some practical handles, so you’ll know what to do when you have those bouncing babies. So, it’s not like, “what do I do? Why am I really a parent? Where are we going and moving with this whole drill?
Lisa: And Dr. Reagan was very much into scheduling for babies, and I love that because I’m a very systematic scheduling type person. So, I was like, yes! This is my kind of plan. But God is a God of scheduling. God is a God of order. God does not intend for us to live in chaos. So, for three of our children, our oldest and our youngest twins, we did the whole scheduling thing. For EJ, our son, for some reason we, I think maybe it was because he had some health challenges…
Ed: Yeah, but we didn’t do anything and pretty much for the first, I don’t know, with EJ for the first, I don’t know, 15 years of his life he survived on cheese and crackers. Pretty much cheese and crackers. And what’s so cool is he married a Filipino girl, phenomenal girl, her parents are very active in our church. Now, EJ is like, whoa! Experiencing other foods. “Mom, Dad, why didn’t you tell me?” We’re like, “We did!” But it was cheese and crackers, EJ. Just cheese and crackers.
Lisa: But as far as the structure in the home, it was more like demand fed, like with the mom, “Are you hungry? Do you think he’s tired?”
Ed: I mean, when he would eat meat or chicken, here’s what he would do…
Lisa: He did, literally. He would gag.
Ed: Gag reflex!
Lisa: So, we just gave in and said, here. Eat cheese and crackers every day for the rest of your life. It’s OK. But, and EJ turned out great! He’s an amazing young man, but I can tell you that during that time, chaos was ensuing in our family. When there is structure and order you fire on all cylinders and it is so important. So, discipline is about action before it’s about reaction. So, it’s about the actions we take. In fact, I have two definitions for discipline I’ll share with you. Discipline is behavioral practices within boundaries.
Ed: I love that. Let’s say that together. Behavioral practices within boundaries.
Lisa: In other words, it’s an action, it’s things that we do in order to achieve a goal. Whether you have a goal for your business, your home, for yourself, it flows from that. So, it’s the behavioral practices that you establish. So, in the home we should have behavioral practices. That’s the action. Then you have the reaction, and that’s the second part of discipline, which is the behavioral correction when boundaries are crossed. And that’s what we’re gonna talk a little bit about today. But Ed, we talked about trends in discipline. Everything that we do as a family operates off of our family mission statement. Because trends come and go but God’s plan is for consistency throughout our entire lives.
Ed: That’s right. And that would be a good homework exercise for everyone, just to gather together and write a simple family mission statement. Our church has a mission statement. We exist to reach up (that’s worship), to reach out (that’s evangelism), to reach in (that’s discipleship), based off of two Scriptures, two texts: Matthew 22 and Matthew 28. That’s our mission statement. And I know years ago, oh, you’ve got to have a mission statement for your company. You’ve got to have a mission statement for your team. Vision, values and all that. The family has got to be an entity with a mission statement, it comes from this text. So, let’s just read ours, and you can copy ours.
Lisa: First, if you’re single you should have a mission statement for your life. If you’re dating someone, you should have a mission statement for your dating relationship. You should have a mission statement for you as a couple. If your kids are grown and out of the house, it’s never too late to begin a mission statement. Because, believe me, we are now living, we’re in the empty nest – sort of. Somehow, they keep coming in and out.
Ed: Parenting never stops. I don’t want to rain on your parade but it’s awesome. It just never stops.
Lisa: They’re watching us, they’re watching how we live out the Family mission statement. So, this is ours. You’re welcome to copy it. It’s very simple. “Our family exists to love God, to love one another, to serve God, and to serve one another.” That’s it. So, in our home, everything, every action, should lift up that mission statement. It should come alongside.
Ed: And when it doesn’t, we’ve had to open up a can. And that’s what we’re talking about, a can of discipline.
Lisa: Talk about how we open up a can.
Ed: I am gonna talk about it? I know I will. I mean…
Lisa: Well that’s what we’re here for.
Ed: Oh yeah, OK. The first thing is I think we have to, when you talk about opening up a can of discipline, because God opens cans on us, right?
Lisa: You know what, Ed? Going back to the trends, it’s interesting that God deals with us out of love…
Ed: No question.
Lisa: But sometimes it’s a loving reprimand.
Ed: It’s always, love is always behind it.
Lisa: Well, it’s always behind it. But other times, God is very firm, and some might even say harsh, but it’s about – there’s different variables involved.
Ed: If you look at just God’s directives, just take the 10 commandments. We step over those lines it’s gonna be maybe OK for a while, but I’m telling you, the consequences will hit and it’s not always fun.
Lisa: So, we want to just go over a few things that help us.
Ed: Yeah, one of the things kind of goes back to what your dad did for a living. Her dad worked for the Post Office. See, I married her for her money. And also, that’s funny, he had another job. He surveyed land. He was very precise on his boundaries, he was a very precise person, great handwriting, etc. So, as parents, Lisa, we’ve got to mark off the boundaries. (Survey Your Own Land)
Lisa: To set up, in advance. We decide in advance what the behaviors need to be in our family. Again…
Ed: It’s almost like our dogs. We have the underground fence and when they get near it, they have these collars… beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-Arrroo!! It only takes about one “arrroo!” and then they get it.
Lisa: Yeah, just one, because yeah. OK. But anyway, you have clearly marked boundaries, so you know how to behave. And in our home, we tried to communicate those expectations. You don’t want to make parenting boundaries a guessing game. They should be well laid out because every child is different. You have different personalities, you have different responses, different emotions, especially if you have girls.
Ed: You’ve gotta love them. We love girls.
Lisa: But there’s big differences.
Ed: They’re playing chess, guys, we’re planning checkers.
Lisa: So, it’s important to have all those boundaries set forth in the beginning so that emotions don’t make changes in the boundaries.
Ed: Yeah, if you have a guy all you gotta do is feed him cheese and crackers and he’s good.
Lisa: Boundaries. There are certain behaviors that are expected. This past week I was at Michael’s craft store and there was a, I was in there on the paint aisle, and on the other aisle I heard this commotion. It literally was a little girl who was just fussing at her dad.
Ed: She was in his grill, I mean, like…
Lisa: She was talking inappropriately. She was like, “Dad, I can’t believe we have to do this. I don’t want that one! Oh, dad, just buy it because it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s just so lame.” And she was going on and on and on. Now, before I pass judgment… been there, done that.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: Once. Maybe once per child. And I’m not saying that I’m the all dialed in.
Ed: You’re pretty dialed in.
Lisa: I’m pretty dialed in. I’m, OK, this is the last service so let’s just put it all out there. I am way more of a disciplinarian than Ed is.
Lisa: I’m way more. You just ask our children. I am, I am.
Ed: That’s true. I was in time out yesterday.
Lisa: I’m just very … chook-chook-chook…. Very. So, I mean, I’m listening to this. I’ve got my paint and my little sponge brush in my hand and I’m thinking to myself, hold back, Lisa. Hold back. I mean, everything inside of mem wanted to just go up and just pat her on the butt and say, “Bless your heart.” And you know, when a southern woman says, ‘bless your heart,’ they’re not praying for you.
Ed: Watch out!
Lisa: They’re not praying blessings over your heart.
Ed: Head for the hills! If she says that to me, “Honey (if we get into a conflict), bless your heart.” Uh-oh.
Lisa: It is not praying blessings over someone’s heart, it is saying basically, poor child. Really, poor child. So, I just wanted to say, “Honey, the very breath that you have came from this individual. Do not speak to your dad that way.” It was uncalled for. And what should have ensued was dad saying, “You will not speak to me this way. If you continue to speak to me this way, we’re not buying anything.” And I think they were getting stuff for her Valentine’s box. She continued and continued and continued and continued. And so, obviously, she got what she wanted. I saw her in the checkout line. But he should have said, “Sweetheart, we’re getting in the car and you can make your Valentine’s box from anything that we have at home, probably a paper sack from the grocery store.” That’s…
Ed: That’s how you do it.
Lisa: That’s what her behavior indicates. Now, I’m just sorry. That may be a little thing, but that little thing will become a giant thing.
Ed: Yeah, the micro turns into macro.
Lisa: Micro goes macro very quickly, and if you are thinking to yourself, oh, it’s just a little girl. She’s probably… no. Whatever you’re dealing with, with your child as a toddler, just hold on until they’re a teenager.
Ed: And that little girl runs the show, no doubt.
Lisa: Maybe so.
Ed: I would guess.
Lisa: Let me put forth a caveat here. I don’t know what she had gone through that day in school. She was in her little school uniform and she may have had someone bully her. She may have had someone say something hateful. She maybe made a bad grade on a test and hurt, or something had now segued into anger. So, it’s important to validate the emotion.
Ed: That’s brilliant.
Lisa: “Honey, I know that you’re upset and I’m not sure why you’re reacting like this, but are you upset about something?” Let her express that. But then you have to move quickly from validating the emotion to standardizing the reality. The validation is that you may feel like this, but the reality is that you must behave like this. That’s the boundary, that’s the parameters, that’s that survey.
Ed: If you read the book of Psalms, for example, David talking to his heavenly Father, expressing his anger, his emotion, and God always redirecting. So, in the Bible love is a decision, obviously followed with emotion, but I think we have defined love now as just feelings. And we let feelings define the family and our feelings can get funky very quickly.
Lisa: And that’s why it’s important to do this in advance. So, we’re talking about discipline. The next thing is the sentence must match the crime. So, if you’re doing something with your children and misbehaving, and they’re having a difficult time, make the punishment or the discipline fit whatever they’re doing. For example, the little girl, if she had a problem with behavior in that store, leave without the supplies. That fits the crime. And then next year when it comes Valentine’s Day and they go to Michael’s to buy supplies, you think maybe the father should remind her, “Honey, remember what happened last year when we came to Michael’s?” “Dad, don’t remind me! That’s not fair!” “No, I just want to remind you because we don’t want to let this happen again.” And then she thinks back and says, you know, I behaved that way and didn’t get Valentine’s supplies, so if I behave this way, I will get Valentine’s supplies. You see how it makes sense?
Ed: That’s right. “Bad boy, bad boy, what ya gonna do? What ya gonna do when they come for you?” So, we have to have the sentence match the crime. One time the girls got into a cat fight in the car. And you know what Lisa did? She pulled over in our neighborhood, put the car in park, and she goes, “Get out.” And she made the twin towers walk home as she followed them.
Lisa: In the car.
Ed: Yeah, in the car.
Lisa: That came after I had said, “Hey guys, we love one another in our family. We need to speak kindly to one another.” Blah-blah-blah. They just weren’t getting it. I said, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to pull the car over…
Ed: Follow through.
Lisa: … I’m gonna pull the car over and y’all are gonna have to walk.” And they didn’t stop. And I pulled the car over and they had to walk, and I followed behind them. And they were safe, believe me. I walked to school every day in the snow, in the rain, back and forth.
Ed: In the snow.
Lisa: And I get it. There are dangers and all that kind of stuff, but I followed behind. But the next time I told them, “Guys, y’all be quiet or I’m gonna make you get out of the car,” you know what they did? Mom said she’ll stop the car and get out. So, this leads to the next one. Consistency plus reliability equals security.
Ed: What a great equation.
Lisa: Our children desire security in the home. I desire security in the home. I desire security with God, so God is consistent with me. His word is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and my parenting, my word, should be the same yesterday, today, and forever. That’s good parenting. When I set up a boundary, stick with it, consistency, I’m teaching them that I love you. My love for you determines that I want to correct this.
Ed: And God is consistent. They’re looking to us as we mirror him.
Lisa: It’s not capricious in any way.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: I was at Target with LeeBeth, our oldest. She was two years old. Now, this was back… First of all, when you check out at a place like Target, WalMart, or any place with long checkout lines, they sabotage parents by putting so many things that are desirable…
Ed: Oh, it’s demonic, isn’t it?
Lisa: … to our children. There’re cookies, gum, there’s little toys.
Ed: It’s right there on their level.
Lisa: There are things that they wouldn’t even want, but because it’s there and colorful they want. It’s just like trying to set us up for failure. So, we were at Target. LeeBeth just hit the floor in a tantrum. She was 2 ½ years old. I’m talking legs flailing. I’m sitting there thinking the floor is dirty! That’s dirty, get up! Not to mention the fact that, you’re making a scene! You’re making a scene! And this is back in the day where you didn’t swipe a card or put in a chip.
Ed: That’s right, millennials.
Lisa: We had to write a check.
Ed: There’s something called a check.
Lisa: And you wrote the check and you had to sign it, and then you put a driver’s license out because they had to verify the check. And all this is going on while the 2 ½ year old is on the floor, having a tantrum. So, I pick her up because guess what? I’m stronger than she is. I’m stronger physically and I’m stronger mentally. And I picked her up and her little legs were just flailing, and her head’s right here and she’s just squirming and I’m holding, and I’m writing that check. And I’m like, Lord, get us out of this place. Lord Jesus, thank you. And then we head to the car, get our things, and I think there was an applause from all the employees when we walked out of the door. We get in the car and I strap her in. I manhandle her, literally, I manhandle her into the car seat, strapped her in where she was safe and secure but still having a tantrum. We get home, 10-minute drive, she’s still crying. And I say, “LeeBeth, I will get you out of the car when you stop crying.” Now, she’s 2 ½ years old. Do you think she understood what I was saying? You better believe she understood what I was saying. She’s smart. I’ll get you out of the car when you stop crying. If she didn’t fully understand what I was saying, she was about to understand what I was saying. Because she was going to see – wow, tears stop, I got out. She just kept crying. And it took time and patience on my part. I unloaded the things I bought at Target. Then I raised the garage and started cleaning the garage, because she was still crying. But she stayed in that car seat. Not for too long, but she quit crying. And the moment I saw a break I the crying I was like, get out of that car seat. Because I wanted her to learn you stop crying, you get the reward of getting out.
Ed: Is that good? I love that!
Lisa: You see, consistency and reliability equals security for our kids. And never forget as a parent, you’re stronger physically but more important, you’re stronger emotionally.
Ed: Another thing to avoid as a parent, because this is something that once you become a parent you say, “Well, I’m not gonna be like my father.” “I’m gonna be different than my mother.” I get it. What can happen with that mentality is the pendulum can swing so far you find yourself as a rebellious parent, but in reality, you’re a rebellious adult child.
Lisa: Wow. Wow.
Ed: And you’re doing things just to go, “Oh, I’m gonna be the opposite of my parents.” You know?
Lisa: That’s so good. That’s why keep it according to what God says. Not here, not there.
Ed: Yes, it’s easy for all of us.
Lisa: But live in the center of what God plans. Then finally, it’s important to demonstrate, in all discipline, reconciliation.
Ed: Yeah, we call this – and I’m not cussing when I say this – we call this crossing the bridge. There was a bridge. We used to live out from this area and to take our kids to school we had to cross a bridge that was built on top of a dam (d-a-m) and we called it the dam bridge. And I’m not cussing, I’m not cussing. You know, parents, just, we called it the dam bridge of forgiveness. Because usually the fights would occur in the car and as we were driving across that dam bridge of forgiveness (I’m not cussing, d-a-m), we would have a time of reconciliation. And I think about the word dam, because if we don’t reconcile and we don’t walk in forgiveness, it will dam up (somebody help me preach up in here!), it will dam up the things in our lives that need to be flowing.
Lisa: That’s right. And that’s true in every relationship.
Ed: But, in every relationship there’s a dam bridge of forgiveness.
Lisa: Many times, it was me who needed to apologize, because the mornings were hectic. Maybe I was running behind. I would be upset with the kids. Maybe they didn’t like their breakfast. Whatever it was, and I was the one that needed to apologize.
Lisa: So, when we would come to that point, the dam bridge of forgiveness, we would say I’m sorry. Whoever it was. Will you forgive me? And that, when you look at what God has done through Jesus for me, an apology is difficult, but it is so necessary because God so freely forgave me.
Ed: That’s why EJ was such a great husband because all he was doing was eating cheese and crackers, watching his sisters just fight.
Lisa: There was occasion where we were going over the bridge…
Ed: A few times.
Lisa: … that EJ might have needed to say something, but he was definitely the easiest of them all. But all of us need it.
Ed: I want to continue on but part 2 of it… and if you’ve enjoyed this, I have, talking about discipline. Now, we’re going to continue this talk but here’s what we’re gonna do. Next week, our daughter Landra, one of the twin towers, she is going to speak. I mean the raw and the real. We don’t know what she’s gonna say about her family but we’re an open book. She just wrote a book called “A Different Kind of Love Story,” and I want you to know all of the proceeds go to feeding the hungry children… hers.
Lisa: And Sterling is always hungry.
Ed: A friend of ours tried to buy this the other day and they were sold out at Barnes & Noble, so she’s gonna talk about dealing with an eating disorder that we didn’t really know she had until later, and how God has given her victory over that. So, what a great weekend. Especially, even guys struggle with this, with their peers and everything, but what a great weekend to invite someone, you know, moms, daughters, etc. with this. Because as you look at our culture, it’s something that so many, many, many people…
Lisa: It’s a lot more prevalent than you think.
Ed: … deal with and we’ll talk about that. Then, the next week Lisa and I come back to talk about discipline, Part 2. So, thank you so much for your boldness. Thank you so much for showing up, because you knew what was gonna be served up today. Discipline? It’s like, ugh, discipline. You’ve got to be kidding me. Well, it’s fun. It’s fun. Not always but the result is fun, isn’t it? Well, F is for Family. Let’s do it God’s way and discover what it means to flourish.