“But I did everything right!” she said, before she crumpled into tears on the floor. “Why is everything so hard?” If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer struggles and demands of family life, you’re not alone. Join me for a conversation with one of my favorite people, author and speaker Todd Wilson. You’re going to be okay, we promise! If it’s hard, it’s worth the struggle!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 1 Timothy 1:15-17
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
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Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Todd Wilson is a husband, dad, grandpa, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and down to earth realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions, marriage retreats & family camps across the country as well as a guest on Focus on the Family.
As founder of Familyman Ministries & the Smiling Homeschooler, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what’s most important through a weekly e-mail for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents.
Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool four of their eight children (four have graduated) in northern Indiana and travel America in the Familyman Mobile.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Friday, September 27th. This is episode number 824. This is Meet my Friend Friday and as always I like to have thought leaders and funny people on the show with me on Fridays. Today is no exception. My friend Todd Wilson, otherwise known as The Family Man, is on the show with me today and we’re going to talk all things fatherhood and homeschooling.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So thanks for tuning in today, everybody. Lots of stuff coming up on the calendar and you guys know I’m going to be hosting my women’s event here in Vancouver. Faith that Speaks we’ll be coming to Vancouver on the 12th of October. We are in the middle right now of a venue change and so please, if you have bought tickets for that event, please watch the website because we’ll be announcing that venue change shortly. It was going to be held at the Homeschool Resource Center and we are needing to move it. So please watch the website for that. That event is being held on Saturday, October 12th. After that I’ll be in Lincoln, Nebraska for my women’s conference coming out and see me. You can find out where I will be at heidistjohn.com/events. Also, we’ve got a brand new season of MomStrong International coming up, a brand new study starting. This is a great time for you to jump in. The new study starts on October the first.
All right, without any further ado, I want to introduce my friend to you. I met Todd a long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and immediately was just totally fascinated by his ministry. This guy is so real and I think that’s why he resonates with readers and with audiences around the nation. Todd and his wife Debbie, have been married for quite awhile and we’re going to be talking about that today, and they’ve got a bunch of kids. Todd Wilson, welcome to the podcast, friend.
[Todd] Hey, it is good being with you.
[Heidi] How many times have you been on the podcast?
[Todd] On your podcast?
[Todd] Well I think this would make the first.
[Heidi] I was going to say, zero.
[Todd] Why don’t you give me a cut and squeeze the lemon juice in it?
[Heidi] I know, because that makes me kind of a lame friend. I was thinking why haven’t we done this before because you and Debbie or some of our favorite people, and I totally resonate with what you’re doing. You tend to speak more to the dads. Obviously, I speak more to the moms and we’ve done a lot of sort of cross work and cross promotion over the years. But I was thinking about this. I can’t believe it. Okay, I will rectify this. Okay, well we’ll do this again. So you guys live in-
[Todd] That’s what you always say.
[Heidi] Hey man, you haven’t tried me yet.
[Heidi] Don’t get mad. Don’t get mad until after I don’t do it.
[Todd] That’s right. Okay. I’m good.
[Heidi] We’re fine. We’re fine now. Everything’s just fine.
[Todd] She said that we’re going to be on the show again. Why hasn’t she called?
[Heidi] I gave her my number. Gosh. What’s going on?
[Heidi] Oh, my God.
[Todd] It’ll probably be tomorrow.
[Heidi] Yeah. Okay. I’ll work it. Don’t push me. Okay. You guys, you live in Indiana. And how many kids do you have?
[Todd] We have eight kids.
[Heidi] Eight. Who’d be crazy enough to do that?
[Todd] One at a time. Just one at a time.
[Heidi] That’s right. That’s right. Some of your kids are married now and like me, you’ve joined the, as Andrew Pudewa calls it, the looks too young to be a grandparent club.
[Todd] Yeah. That’s a good thing to tell yourself. But that is true you. It doesn’t matter. Grandchildren are always going to think you are old.
[Heidi] That’s true. And how old is your oldest grandchild now? Because you’ve got two, right?
[Todd] We’ve got two. Renly is like two and a half years old and Hudson, her brother, is maybe six or seven months old.
[Heidi] I got to tell you, these millennials are really good at picking names. We were like, Doug, Judy. They’re like, Renly. That has a good ring to it.
[Heidi] When I saw that name and I was like, dang, that’s really cute. Why didn’t we do that?
[Todd] Well, they told us that it was something with an R and they’d never had heard it as a name. And so we’re all guessing like rutabaga, rhubarb, which are perfectly good millennial names.
[Heidi] Perfectly good. Well, I mean, didn’t what’s her name… didn’t she name her daughter Apple? Who named their daughter Apple? It was a movie star. I’ll think of her name. I can see it in my head. How many years you’ve been married?
[Todd] We’ve been married almost 30 years. We’ll have our 30th anniversary this next summer.
[Heidi] Oh my goodness. So you guys are just about, just right. Jay and I are going to celebrate our 30th anniversary on Monday.
[Heidi] True story.
[Todd] That is old.
[Heidi] I know, right?
[Todd] I know it. I mean you can remember when your parents had their 30th anniversary, and you thought they were ancient.
[Heidi] I know. And yeah, right. Let’s not talk about that anymore. Let’s move on. We’re doing a cruise together. You and Debbie and Jay and I, hosting with FPEA, a marriage cruise. It’s going to be really cool, pulling out of… where are we leaving from in Florida?
[Todd] I think we’re leaving from Fort Lauderdale.
[Heidi] Fort Lauderdale on January 4th, and we’re going to have some fun.
[Todd] I think it’s going to be a blast, it’s going to be a blast. And we’re real excited.
[Heidi] Yep. We’re going to be focusing on, obviously, talking about marriage on that trip and I’m excited. So if anybody wants more information they can reach out to FPEA, and get more information on that.
[Todd] I think so. It might be sold out, but I know they’re already talking about doing it again in 2021 so maybe something you put on your to do calendar.
[Heidi] Yeah, well FPEA was my very first cruise. I just did my very first one last year because I spoke for them, and I know you did the year before. Was that your first cruise also?
[Todd] It was. Never been on one before.
[Heidi] What was your impression, Todd?
[Todd] It was amazing. I just thought it was amazing. I thought the value was huge. You went a couple thousand miles out in the ocean, you stopped at a couple of great, amazing destinations. You got all this great food, you got a hotel room for a bunch of days and it was super reasonable, and you didn’t have your kids with you. I mean, it was awesome.
[Heidi] Winning. Hashtag winning.
[Todd] It was great.
[Heidi] Yeah. We thought so too. I mean, we couldn’t believe it. We got there, it’s just everything… it was just beautiful. And the room surface was free. We were like, this is amazing. So every night before I go to bed you’re like, I would like a coffee and a bagel delivered to my room in the morning and it just magically appeared.
[Heidi] It was a miracle.
[Todd] Well, I think the best part-
[Heidi] And no dishes.
[Todd] I know. That that was a good part. But what I thought is, the part that I like is that, for my wife especially, it’s hard for her to focus on us. And when you have lots of stuff going and you’re on this boat, you don’t even get cell phone coverage.
[Todd] And we can just focus on us. And that doesn’t happen very often. It’s worth the price of admission.
[Heidi] Absolutely. Yeah. We thought so too. We had a great time. We cannot wait to go again. And we’re really excited because we get to see you guys and we’re hoping to spend some time with people who are coming on the cruise for this particular purpose. So it’s going to be good. So check it out you guys. You can find more information out at the Florida Parent Educators Association. Just Google them and you can get in touch with them. Actually I will link back to links for them on the show notes today.
[Heidi] Todd, I really want to talk to you about real life homeschooling, because this is something you’re sort of famous for. You run The Smiling Homeschooler. And you’ve spent, at least as long as I have known you, just really talking about real life homeschooling. What does it look like? I know that when the homeschool proselytites came to my church and talked me into homeschooling a long time ago, I kind of thought the laundry would do itself. I thought the kids would come down every morning and the birds would sing. They would say Mother, we got up early this morning and we did two lessons of math. We worked ahead because we knew it would bless you. 23 years later, yeah, not once.
[Todd] And the thing is that, you’ve got a pretty good handle on it, on the outside anyway, and so you know that’s a…
[Heidi] So do you want to get invited back or not, dude? Make up your mind?
[Todd] You know enough to know that’s an unrealistic expectation. But there are a lot of moms who don’t. They say it, but deep down they feel like, well, how come my kids are the only kids that are this way? And I’ve heard lots of moms, lots of moms who’ve come up to me and said, we did everything they said. And then they go down through this list, and it’s really a sad list. Like we did dresses only, we… whatever. We didn’t watch Disney movies. We didn’t put our kids in the nursery, and it’s just a ridiculous list. And then they say, and it didn’t turn out the way we thought it was going to turn out. Sadly, they were led astray by someone who promised something that they should not have promised. And it’s not just one person, it was lots of people.
But the thing is, this homeschooling thing, this family thing, is hard. And it’s comforting to me to know that I’m doing the hard a good thing with somebody else. To know that the St. Johns, it’s hard for them too. To know that, for their kids, their kids don’t always act like they would like them to act. They don’t always make choices that they’d like them to make. And somehow when my kids are making those, it comforts me to know that I can talk to somebody who’s going through the same thing. And really, we’re all going through the same thing. But it’s really sad to me for those moms who plaster this smile on their face. And as you’re talking to them, you get this feeling like, you’re not happy on the inside are you? You’re dying on the inside.
And sometimes they’re pretty good at covering up. I mean, I know moms who, their kids are doing some really painful, terrible things, not because they’re bad kids, but because they’re normal kids who’ve been caught up in something. And then when they meet with their little group, they never even mention it. They just keep playing that game and saying, well, I’m good, you’re good. And they perpetuate that lie that kills us. It just kills us. So really, that’s all I want. People will say, oh, The Smiling Homeschooler, is it’s all about smiling? No, it’s not all about smiling. It’s not about faking ourselves out to smile. It’s about being real. It’s about talking about when our houses are disasters and our lives feel the same. And somehow, that takes some of the pressure off and then we really can smile.
[Heidi] Yeah. And you’ve done a good job for these many years now of really bringing joy into the equation. And I think part of the way that you have done that so successfully is by just acknowledging, hey look, this is hard. I think there’s something you and I really have in common. I don’t have time for this, your life is perfect, my life is perfect. Homeschooling is hard. But something that you and I agree on and have talked about for many years is that the hard things—things that are worth it in this life are hard. Nothing that’s worth it is easy. And that includes marriage, it includes homeschooling, right? All of these things.
[Todd] Yeah. And even I, and maybe you do it to Heidi, people will say, oh, you’re so real, Todd. And I’m always like, I don’t say everything. Because there are things that we don’t share with everybody. But I hope that there is somebody that you can be real with. I can remember one time hearing Chuck Swindoll on the radio and him saying, well, we all struggle with things and he had his… And then he said, what really makes me mad, and I thought he was going to have a big zinger. And he said, oh, when when little kids stand on my shoes. He goes, that just really makes you mad. And when he got done, I’m like, that’s it? That’s all that makes you mad? And I just think when we can tell someone, at least someone, the real ugly stuff, it just is refreshing.
[Heidi] Well, it brings freedom. It really does bring freedom. I posted on Facebook, I don’t know, several weeks ago that our family has just been going through, just going through the ringer over here. I talked to you about a couple of weeks ago and we had just thing after thing after thing. And one of the things that happened was that our youngest daughter got lice. Dude, I’ve been married for 30 years, seven kids. I’ve never seen a head louse before. I was like, what is this monstrosity? And then I thought, for goodness sake. She sits on my lap every day. I read to her. And I was like, I bet I have it too. So I start crying going to somebody, could you please look through my head? They were like, what? Sure enough, it wasn’t a bad case, but I definitely had it.
And I thought, okay, somebody’s going to find out about this. I’d rather get ahead of it. I’d rather say, “hey, want to know what’s going on at St. John’s? We got this going on and that going on, and all of our pipes are busted and the east side of our house, it has to be repaired. And oh, by the way, we have head-lice. I just want to set my entire hair on fire, but I decided you know not to do that”. You know what’s amazing? I started getting emails from people who had heard it and they listened. They’re like, “oh my word. That happened to me too, and I was so embarrassed”. I’m like, why are we embarrassed to say this is life? Like life is messy.
[Heidi] Life is messy, and it’s hard. I think that there’s some sort of joy in comradery and just saying, “can we just agree together that this thing is hard, but it’s also worth it?”. That’s really been the message that you’ve been bringing to family’s for many years.
[Todd] Yeah. You keep fighting, you keep focusing on this many years’ thing, you know.
[Heidi] Yeah well dude, you’re a dinosaur. Everybody knows it.
[Todd] Well, it’s sure been fun.
[Heidi] How old are you now Todd? Are you like 60 yet?
[Todd] No. I’m not there yet.
[Heidi] You and I, we’re getting to the jumping off place. That’s all there is to it.
[Todd] That’s right.
[Heidi] That’s all there is to it. I want to know your opinion on something. I’m actually getting ready to write about this. I’m in the middle of a book project right now and I’ve been kind of thinking hard on the teenage years and young adults in particular…
[Todd] I’m against them.
[Heidi] And I think that…
[Todd] I don’t think we should have teenage years.
[Heidi] I know, right? Yeah. You and Jay, I think we’ve agreed on this before, but something I’ve noticed, and I know this is true for moms and I’m assuming it’s true for dads as well, so I can only speak to it really from my perspective, but I think they can be very lonely years. When our kids are little we’re trying to figure out the potty training thing and then the first time your kid lies to you and he’s six years old, and you go, “my kid lied to me and this is how we addressed it”, blah blah blah. But when your 16 year old kid lies to you or when your 17 year old kid makes a choice that you cry yourself to sleep over, you can’t get on Facebook and say, this happened today with my, because they can read it. What I’m noticing is a lot of these moms, they go underground and it creates this lonely, sort of space, that we exist in. And I’m wondering—do you notice this is happening too?
I feel like these are lonely, lonely years because what we really want to do, and I think this is important, I think what you said earlier is totally right. We don’t want to overshare, especially when it comes to our kids. We want to be so tender and so careful and yet we still need to be able to say, I’m having a hard time or this is hard or oh my goodness, young adults, hello. I mean, I’ve got a 28 year old now at 25 and 22. We’ve got kids who are well into their young adult years and that brings with it… it’s wonderful.. but there are also aspects of it that are very hard. What do you say, I mean, do you notice that this is also, do you see this happening with dads too? Or do you think it’s more the moms who carry it or how do you see it?
[Todd] Yeah I do, it hits us all, but I think moms carry it differently. Dads sometimes will bury themselves in their work or they’ll just keep busy doing other things or they ignore it. We’d kind of like to—if I don’t know it, it can’t be as bad as it is.
[Todd] But moms, you know, moms internalize it and they start to blame themselves and then they begin to blame their husbands.
[Todd] And so it puts a lot of pressure on marriages. But, again, going back to being able to tell things, I agree, you don’t need to tell everybody, but if you have a friend that you would call a good friend—you should be able to tell her. If you’re part of a small group, that may be a bunch of ladies… and maybe it feels more awkward when you’re with a couples thing. But if you’re in this small couples group, you should be able to tell them. In fact, I think it’s bigger than just you. You know, when you’re going through a hard time…I mean, I used to do men’s Bible studies all the time, and you know, the guys would talk about zero. I mean they’d just talk about, “yeah, my yard, I got locked a lot of moles, you know, and I’m trying to..”, and then, you know, well, is there any, anything we can be praying about? And they’re talking about, “well, I’m having some job things, you know, they’re putting a lot of pressure on me”. And then all of a sudden I say, “well, you know, my wife says she hates me”. And they go, “well, my wife said the same thing”. You know, and then.. because really I don’t do that just to get their prayer help…
[Heidi] You’re trying to get them to open up.
[Todd] I’m trying to let them know that they’re okay.
[Todd] I’ll tell you, we all go through… and we say things like, you know, “we all have hard marriages”. The truth is sometimes our spouse hates us. Sometimes our spouse is involved in things we just, we hate, we hate. I hear it all the time. I heard it this past week, you know. Sometimes we haven’t been intimate in months and months or years and years and again we think, oh Heidi, she gets mad at Jay, but she’s never been there. Well Heidi has been there. I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. We don’t always live there. For parents of teens, I think the pressures are huge. We think we’re keeping it well hidden.
But I mean, here’s the ugly truth. Your friends are watching your kids on Facebook and Instagram, so they know what they’re doing anyway. You know?
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Todd] I’ll tell you, my wife is so bold and so real. We had dinner with a couple and it’s been a little while ago, but their son posts things on Facebook… he uses all the words that I would have had my mouth washed out with soap, and he uses it very freely.
[Todd] He uses them to make a point and, we got together and I didn’t say anything. And Debbie goes, “so what’s going on with your son? I mean, he seems like he’s saying some…”, and it was freeing for them because they didn’t have to pretend like it wasn’t happening. And so maybe we just ask. I said, “well, your son or daughter, they got that big spikes sticking out of their front of their head. How are things going?”.
[Heidi] Or there are 17 new piercings in their nose.
[Todd] I’ve found that even if I make light of those, just acknowledge them, all of a sudden… and I’ll tell you what, even as we’re talking to one another, and I want to encourage you, I guess the moms, to be able to be real with their friends, but sometimes when… I can remember talking to a dad and saying to him, “so how things going with your daughter?”. And he’s like, “oh good”. And it felt like it was a little weird situation because again, I had seen some things and I said again, you know, a few minutes later, “so everything’s going okay”. He goes, “yeah”. And then like I asked one more time, “so, is she doing okay?”.
And they said “she’s doing terrible”. If I just let that go, that end of the church greeting time, it wouldn’t have been life changing. Because when they told us it became life changing because all of a sudden we prayed and we let other people know and the conversation grew and God’s doing amazing things. But it doesn’t happen if you keep it to yourself, because that’s the truth. Even when it says in James “confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, we will be healed”. I mean that’s the truth. We will be healed. That’s a promise. We don’t see the healing because nobody prays, and nobody knows because nobody tells each other.
[Heidi] Yeah it’s so true.
[Heidi] Yeah. I think it’s so important for parents who are listening to realize that they’re not alone. That the struggles that we face as parents are relatively universal. Like we may face them in varying degrees, in one degree or another, but the same thing is true no matter what season of life or even season of homeschooling you find yourself in because we’re parenting very differently now, then we were 28 years ago. The world is a different place and so we’re being challenged on so many fronts and that ability to just say, “man, this is hard. Can you pray for me?”. One of the reasons I love so much love the Homeschool Resource Center is that this is a place for people to come and just to… We have counseling here, we do—hey, here’s what’s going on. We’re going to do parenting classes because we’re acknowledging this thing that you’re doing. It’s hard. It’s hard. But if we’ll link arms and actually talk about what’s going on in our homes and talk about what’s going on in our marriages, somehow it really does ease the burden.
I loved what you said earlier, I can of wrote this down because I think it’s important. I kind of want to circle back to it. You said, “but we did everything they said”. I was thinking back to sort of the earlier days of homeschooling when legalism was just, it was a thing and it was the dresses and we’d grind our own wheat and make it into flour and the home-schoolers were very… There was a stereotype of home-schoolers. And then we began to see the follow up from this just rules-based parenting. And Jay and I have made our fair fair share of mistakes. I’d love to sit here and say “we did it right and here’s how you do it”.
[Todd] Right. Me too, I’d like to rub it in your faces.
[Heidi] But you know, didn’t work that way.
[Heidi] I started talking about this a long time ago out on the road, just saying, “listen, rules without relationship equals rebellion”. And we have seen a lot of that in the homeschool movement over the last 20 years. I’m wondering if you can speak to that for just a minute. Because there are moms and dads who are listening to this right now and we’ve got lots of people listening with teens, but we’ve also got lots of people listening who are just starting out in their parenting, and just starting out in homeschooling, just trying to get their bearings. I’m wondering if you can talk to the parents who are going, “man, is there a formula?” Where do you direct those parents?
[Todd] You know, I’ll say there is no formula. Anybody who says “do this and your kids…” “if you do it God’s way….”
[Heidi] Trying to sell a book.
[Todd] Yeah. It doesn’t matter. We talk about like, it used to be a thing. It’s a thing now. It’s changed a little bit. Now it’s about—if you eat the right way or you avoid these different things, these toxins… and there’s so much going on…
[Heidi] That’s true.
[Todd] That we think we’re going to, it’s going to be okay. I’ll tell you, I don’t believe in formulas, but I believe in this— that the love of a parent, unconditional love is irresistible. That they can not resist it. It doesn’t mean they’re not going to make some bad choices, but you can’t walk away from it. I think sometimes we get our rules before us, and I can remember at times where I was just critical all the time. I was just on my kids because I wanted godly kids so they had to act this way. They couldn’t say this and they had to be this way. After a while I’m like, man, I wouldn’t like me either because I’m just critical about everything.
[Heidi] So good.
[Todd] But I think for us as moms and dads, and I’m going to put even more on the dad’s, not that, again —I don’t believe it’s a formula, but I think dad’s somehow carry an extra weight. I remember talking to a dad and he was one of those dads who was in that super legalistic, that Gotthard thing. And he was running some teenage girl retreats. And so they’d have a bunch of these girls in and, so we’re just lightly talking. And he said, “oh, Todd, you wouldn’t believe all the”, he said, “they’re all struggling, all the girls”. And I wondered if I knew the answer, but I asked him, I said, “so what do you think it is?”. He goes, “these are the cream of the crop girls”. I mean, these are the girls who’ve memorized the entire new and old Testament. And they do all the right things. He goes…
[Heidi] They win the Bible Bees for goodness sakes.
[Todd] Exactly. He goes “the problem is, is their relationship with their dads”. And I’m like.. and that’s what I thought he might say that because you know, dads— you can be doing all those things. If you are not not loving your daughter unconditionally, your son’s unconditionally, and not liking your kids. If you don’t smile at your kids, I’ll tell you, you’re pushing them away. My kids desperately want me to smile at them. And to be honest, you want a tough question? ask your kids, and not around the dinner table because everybody would be goofy. But say, “Do you think I like you?”
Honestly I think some of my kids might say, “Oh, I know my dad loves me, but I don’t know if he likes everything about me, because my hair is this way and I’m late or I drop the ball.” And that breaks my heart, because I want my kids to know that I like them. And I’ll tell you, you can even begin to do that just by smiling at your kids. But I don’t think you can walk away from a parent who smiles at you. I just don’t think you can do it. Because why would you want to? But on the reverse of that, why would you want to stay close to someone who is always looking at you with disappointment? And so yes, our kids, teenagers do dumb things because we did dumb things. I say we put our arm around them and we go, “Hey, we’re going to make it through. That was a really stupid choice. I love you. And we’re going to make it through together.”
[Heidi] I think these are… It sounds, on its face, it sounds like, “Oh yeah, duh.” But it’s actually pretty hard to do.
[Todd] It’s really hard to do.
[Heidi] When you’re frustrated… I remember one of my sons came to me a long time ago and he was probably 16 and he said, “I feel like the word I hear from you most about me is disappointed.” And it set me back because I was thinking instead of me saying, “I’m mad at you,” or, “I’m angry,” I thought it was a softer word. I was like, “I’m really disappointed.” And he said, “That’s all I really ever hear.” He said, “I feel like nothing that I do is ever going to rise above the level of your disappointment.” And it set me back. But I’ll tell you, it also made me really consider how am I talking to the other six kids? If he feels it and he’s brave enough to to say it, then surely the other kids are feeling the same way. And I think that moment when you realize, it really is love that makes the difference. It’s love that makes a difference. And we’re walking through some deep water with some of our kids right now. And one of the things that I have been most encouraged by lately is the adults who come back home and they want to sit on the couch and talk to you about it because they know you’re going to lean in and you’re going to hug them and you’re going to say, “Man, I love you. Your dad and I were praying for you by name. How can I pray for you more? What can I do?” And then all of a sudden they’ll begin to open up and they begin to say, “Hey, I’m struggling with this and what do you think about that?” But if we push them away, it’s very hard to get it back.
[Todd] It is hard to get it back. And I think really, sometimes we begin to freak out because they make some choices that maybe we wouldn’t choose, but we’ve been training them for 20 plus years to make good choices. And could we possibly believe that maybe our training has paid off. That they’re going to make a choice. Maybe we don’t understand it, but maybe it’s not as far off as we think it is. Because we didn’t know very much when we were their age either. And it’s just part of it.
[Heidi] Yeah, it really is. I remember when our first daughter got married and that was a tough transition for us. I don’t know why, man. But we were just like, “What? You’re doing what?” And they’ve been married for seven years now and they got two kids and one on the way. And some of the biggest joys of our life are Savannah and her husband and just watching their family grow in the Lord. But I’ll tell you what, I stumbled and tripped up and said things I wished I hadn’t said. And my friend, Steve Lambert, I called Steve and Jane one day…
[Todd] Yeah, he’s probably been on your show like four times.
[Heidi] Yeah. Yeah, we’ll talk about that later, Todd. Wait, wait, I’m ticking things off my list right now.
[Heidi] So I called Steve and Jane one day and I was just in tears and I was like… You know what it was, it was fear. I was just afraid. I so much want her to be happy and I so much want her to make it a good choice. And my fear of that she’d make a wrong choice was clouding my judgment. And Steve said something so profound to me. He just said, “Heidi, have you trained Savannah to hear the Lord?” And I said, “Well, I hope so. That’s what we’ve been doing for 21 years.” And you said, “Well, now is the time for you to step back and actually let her do it.” And Jay and I, we talked about that over dinner and that was really the turning point I think in our shepherding of our adult children was to say, “We’ve been training you and now we’re going to let you listen for the Lord and we’re just going to cheer you on from the sidelines. And yes, we’ll tell you if we think this is a terrible decision, but for the most part we’re going to trust you.” And I think that’s part of it.
[Todd] And like you said, “And you can trust God in that too, and really, that takes a lot of pressure off me.” Because I used to think I had to have my kids perfect by the time they got married. And the truth is God has a lot of lessons after they get married because…
[Heidi] We’re still learning.
[Todd] We’re still learning. Because the truth is… My oldest son, Ben and Rissa, one day Rissa will hate him because that’s just the truth. And so will my other kids’ spouses and they’re going to just… But we’ve trained Ben. He’s going to stay married and they’re going to keep working through that. But they may have to learn some of those things by spending nights on the couch, or maybe your son or daughter or teenager has to get fired from their job or not get accepted to this school they want to go to because they didn’t fill out their paperwork on time. But sometimes moms of teenagers, we go behind and we tidy things up all the time because we don’t want them to have to be fired. We don’t want… so “Get up. Are you up? It’s time to get up!” Wait, are you at my house right now?
[Todd] Yeah, exactly. And I think…
[Heidi] I feel like this is happening in my house right now.
[Todd] It’s happening in all our of our houses right now. But I’ll tell you, once they get fired or once they get that reprimand, they learn a lesson. And I guess I’m okay with letting God do what He needs to do. And it won’t be fun and it will look bad on us because everybody’s going to say, “Ah, yeah, that’s one of the St. John’s kids, isn’t it?”
[Heidi] That’s right.
[Todd] “Isn’t she a speaker?” “Tells people how to be good parents?”
[Heidi] Yeah. And that’s actually pretty… That’s a pretty real pressure.
[Todd] Oh, yeah.
[Heidi] Jay and I tried really hard to shield our kids from that, but I did have one of my kids just in a moment of anger, we’re angry at each other.
[Heidi] And this one child says to me, “You know, it’s really hard to be your kid.”
[Todd] Oh yeah.
[Heidi] I looked at that kid and I was like, “Wow, if you wanted to hurt me, congratulations.” You figured it out.
[Todd] Yeah, but it’s true. It is true.
[Todd] And what I wanted… I can remember with Ben, my oldest, when he was a little kid, I was a pastor of a church and he was throwing this major fit. And I can remember getting down, I couldn’t remember where he was standing. And I remember getting down into his face because he couldn’t have been maybe seven or eight. And I got in his face and I said, “Stop it because you’re embarrassing me.” And I can remember the look in his eye right now. And it was kind of like he was saying, “Oh, you’re on their side, aren’t you dad?” And I decided at that moment that from that point on, whenever he threw a fit or embarrassed me, I’d put my arm around him and go, “Yep, that’s my boy.” And we’re working on it. But I wouldn’t turn against him.
And as you’ve said, these are easy words to say. It’s hard to do because I’m all warm and fuzzy right now, but I’ll go upstairs and go, “Why haven’t you guys done what you’re suppose to do?” And I’ll be mean a few minutes later. But I believe… And when we blow up, we just go to our kids and we go, “I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?” And really, our kids are so willing and resilient and they go, “Yeah, I do.” Because they want to be right with you.
[Heidi] Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. Well, I feel like I just got a straight up counseling session, so thanks a lot, Todd. I feel better about my mothering right now.
[Todd] Well, that’s good. I don’t, because I’ve only been on the show once and Steve Lambert’s been on it like 12 times probably.
[Heidi] Yeah, you right. You right. I like to run and hide from that, but I can’t. Well, I’m definitely going to fix this. I know there are a lot of people listening right now who are sitting down and going, “Thank you Lord for the ministry that Todd Wilson has to parents.” You have been such a gift to so many over all these years. I know it’s been like a hundred years, I think.
[Todd] It has. Been 75 probably.
[Heidi] A 100 years. I think I met you… I want to say I met you in Seattle.
[Todd] I think so.
[Heidi] At an event.
[Todd] I think so.
[Heidi] Yeah. Yeah. At an event in Seattle and I remember then just going, “Dude, this guy is real.” And I so appreciated that and I still appreciate it and I want to thank you for coming on the show.
[Todd] My pleasure.
[Heidi] You have a podcast also. Where can listeners find you? Because I know these are podcast listeners, so they’re familiar with the podcast genre. Where can they find your podcast?
[Todd] Well, if you’re a guy, we have one called the Family Man Show. You can find on iTunes and where good podcasts are found. You can also go to our website, familymanweb.com. If you’re a homeschooling mom, we have one called the Smiling Homeschooler and again, you can find it where those things are found. Or you can go to our website there or Facebook, the smilinghomeschooler.com.
[Heidi] And Todd, if you will send me some links, I will link back to you today.
[Todd] I will do that.
[Heidi] All right, well Todd Wilson, it’s been a joy. Thank you so much for coming on. I will have you again. I promise. If not, I’ll owe you a latte when I see you on the cruise ship on January…
[Todd] And you know how many lattes I’ve had in my life?
[Heidi] I know because I think the first time you ever went to Starbucks was with me and Jay.
[Todd] That was the first time. I haven’t been back since. That was like a really weird story because when we walked in, I said, “I’d never been.” And you go… you both looked at me like, “What you mean you’ve never been in one? This week?” And you just like couldn’t get past that I had never been in a Starbucks before.
[Heidi] I know we were like, is this like an Indiana thing? Because in the Pacific Northwest… Like actually, true confessions, I don’t like Starbucks coffee. Here, the joke is we call it Charbucks because it tastes like it’s burned.
[Heidi] We’re kind of coffee snobs and that’s the truth. And so I don’t like their coffee, but I really like their egg bites and I really like the frappuccino and I actually don’t like their politics and I could go on and on. But I just couldn’t believe that you had never actually been. Jay and I were scratching our heads going, “What?”
[Todd] I refused to go into one without the St. John’s. I will not go back.
[Heidi] All right, good.
[Todd] Okay. It’s like a tradition with me.
[Heidi] We’ll try to find one in Fort Lauderdale, like once every eight years, we’ll go to Starbucks.
[Todd] I think so. I’m good for it.
[Heidi] Todd Wilson, you are a delight. Please say hi to your wife for me.
[Todd] I will.
[Heidi] Hey, thanks for listening everybody. I hope you’ve enjoyed this. If you want more information on Todd Wilson, you can go to the smilinghomeschooler.com or familymanweb.com. I will link back to it all things Todd Wilson in the show notes today.
As always, we appreciate your feedback. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please leave a review for us over at iTunes and if you’ve got questions for Mailbox Monday, you can find the form to fill out to send those questions to me at heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday. Have a great weekend everybody and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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