About the Guest
Dad, you're the coach of the family team. Steve Farrar, founder of Men's Leadership Ministries, tells dads it's time to get in the game and teach their families how to pray, how to glean wisdom from the ultimate play book, The Bible, and what to avoid and embrace if they're going to win at life.
Dad, you’re the coach of the family team.
Bob: Well, it is halftime here at the Family Bowl, and I want to tell you folks the first half of this game has not been pretty. Not only have the children taken a commanding lead against the parents, but in addition to scoring more points, they actually went to the parents’ sideline, roped them, gagged them, and tied them up during the first half of play. The parents were rendered completely ineffective. The question is, “Can anything happen to turn this parent team around?”
I want to tell you folks—this halftime is going to be critical, but they’ve got one of the best men on the sidelines to help them out. That’s Coach Steve Farrar. Steve is the author of bestselling books like Point Man and Anchor Man. If anyone can get the moms and dads back into the game, it’s Coach Farrar. Let’s go down on the field and talk to our on-the-spot announcer, Dennis Rainey. Dennis?
Dennis: [Laughter] Well, thank you, Mr. Announcer Bob.
Bob: Dennis, are you there?
Dennis: I’m here, and don’t give up—
Bob: Push it?
Dennis: —your day job. No, keep—
Steve: Give that man a valium. [Laughter]
Dennis: But you know, we are here in the locker room. We’ve created a locker room for all the dads, or would-be dads, in the listening audience.
Bob: You need a little marching band music in the background here?
Dennis: Hey, play a little of that back there. Can you use the fight school from Arkansas? I just happen to like it. I’m sorry—not Notre Dame, Bob.
Bob: Pig Sooie.
Dennis: Anyway, we are here in the locker room with all the assistant coaches—with the head coach of the Family Team, Steve Farrar. What better head coach to have? This is, as you mentioned Bob, the author of Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family; Standing Tall: How a Man Can Protect His Family; Finishing Strong: Going the Distance for Your Family, and his latest book, Anchor Man.
Steve is the father of three, the husband of one, and lives near Denton, Texas, where he has been getting all kinds of coaching tips over the past few years.
Steve: Yes, that’s right.
Dennis: We’re glad just to have you here in the locker room with all these assistant coaches. Of course, for the purposes of this illustration, that’s the fathers or guys who’d like to be a father some day.
Dennis: Steve, in your book, you got 50 coaching tips for dads.
Dennis: You know—halftime only lasts a little more than 20 minutes—just like FamilyLife Today. I want to give you a tough assignment. I want to see how many of these coaching tips you can drill into the assistant coaches. They’ve got their notebooks open, they’ve got their pencils in their hand, they’re behind—their children are winning. Help us!
Steve: You know, Dennis, I’ve got 50 coaching tips in this book. I literally went out in the backyard, sat down at the patio table, and I just started writing. So, these are all over the map. Some of these apply to guys with young kids, some of these apply to the guys with teenagers; but they apply to all of us, in a certain sense. They are very practical, but we’re going to be all over the map here.
Dennis: That just took you 45 seconds. It’s a little sweaty-smelling in here. The chalk board is—
Bob: Get to the tips, coach. Get to the tips.
Dennis: —empty. They’re losing the game. It’s halftime. The kids are ahead. Get with it, Coach Farrar.
Steve: “Alright you, idiots, listen up!”
Dennis: You know, you even—
Bob: You’ve been in a locker room; haven’t you?
Dennis: —You even look a little bit like Vince Lombardi. [Laughter]
Steve: Thank you. Thanks so much.
Dennis: What’s the first tip?
Steve: The first tip: “Coach them how to pray.” They need to know how to talk to the Lord. That’s why, if you’ve got little kids, you need to be at home to put them to bed—to pray with them. Turn off that TV and go upstairs and pray with them—that game you’re watching, unless it’s a World Series® game—and then, bring them down to watch it with you.
Bob: That’s right.
Steve: Seriously, get upstairs and pray with those kids.
Bob: You know what? I have had to learn, in that regard, if all you do is pray at bedtime and meal time, that’s what the kids think prayer is about—“Time to go to bed;” “Time to eat.” You’ve got to teach your kids how to prayer in the middle of life’s circumstances; don’t you?
Steve: Absolutely, Bob. I think bedtime is a set time.
Steve: You know, Deuteronomy 6 talks about when you rise up, when you sit down—
Bob: —lie down.
Steve: —lie down, all that stuff. I think there are set times, but it’s also a relationship—in the car, anytime. “Let’s pray about this right here.” Good point.
Bob: Good idea. Teach them to pray. That’s tip one.
Steve: The other thing is—I would say, “Coach them that the Bible is the most important book, in the world; and it’s very wise to read it every day.” If they have a dad that does that, you’re going to give them such a head start in life.
My dad is 75 years old. I haven’t talked with him today. I’ll guarantee you my dad got up at 5:30 this morning, went downstairs, turned on the coffee maker, went over, got his Thompson Chain Reference Bible, got his coffee, went upstairs, spent the first hour this morning in the Word and prayer. My dad prayed for me this morning—I’ll guarantee you.
Bob: Hang on. I want to test that guarantee out.
Dennis: You’re going to call him?
Bob: Yes, we’ll call your dad; and let’s just see. We’ll test that guarantee.
Steve: Call him.
Dennis: What’s your dad’s name?
Steve: Jim Farrar.
Bob: Jim Farrar. [Phone ringing]
Steve: Hey, Dad. How you doing?
Jim: Hey, fine.
Steve: Hey, Dad, I’m here in Little Rock with Dennis Rainey. You remember Dennis? You’ve met Dennis.
Jim: Sure. Sure.
Dennis: Hi, this is Dennis. How are you doing, Jim?
Jim: I’m doing great.
Dennis: We’re actually trying to check the veracity of your son, Steve, and his truthfulness. We want to ask you, “Where were you this morning at 5:30?”
Jim: Well, I was on my way—I’d just got up, and I was going out to teach a Bible study. [Laughter]
Steve: If you weren’t, Dad—normally, like tomorrow, what would you be doing about that time?
Jim: Well, I’d be in here looking over the Bible and seeing what was set up for today—
Jim: —and communicating.
Bob: Spending a little time in the Word?
Bob: Would you spend some time in prayer?
Bob: Would you include your son it that?
Dennis: I think your prayers are being answered, Jim.
Jim: Yes, I’m sure they are.
Steve: Really, we were talking; and I said, “Hey, I haven’t talked to Dad today, but I’ll tell you how he started his morning. He started his morning around 5:30—5:45 and gets the coffee going and gets in the Word.”
Steve: Dennis said, “Let’s call him.” So, I’m sure glad you did that. Way to hum!
Dennis: Way to go! How long have you been doing this, Jim?
Jim: Oh, man. You know, I couldn’t tell you. I really don’t—I mean—it’s been years and years.
Dennis: It wasn’t last week you started doing this.
Jim: No, absolutely not.
Steve: It’s been at least 45 years—
Steve: —because I remember as a little boy waking up early and seeing.
Jim: It’s been many, many years, Dennis.
Jim: You know, you get into it—and that’s what you do.
Steve: That’s what dads do.
Dennis: That’s what dads do. You know, you’ve been an encouragement to a lot of dads, here on FamilyLife Today. I want to thank you for being with us.
Jim: Well, hey, I’m glad to do it; and hey, keep up the good work.
Dennis: Hey, when you pray for Steve, pray for Bob and me; will you?
Jim: Sure will.
Dennis: Alright, bye; bye.
Jim: See you guys.
Steve: Bye, bye, Dad.
Bob: You know—
Dennis: Doesn’t get any better that; does it, Bob?
Bob: Well, I’m just sitting here thinking, “He’s an anchor man”; isn’t he?
Dennis: Yes, he is.
Steve: Yes, he really is.
Bob: He is one of those spiritual heroes that you, as his son, and that your sons can look toward and can be the model that’s holding your family from drifting.
Steve: Yes, a few years ago, I think it was Josh who—it was Saturday. He woke up early, and I was downstairs and reading the Word. He came in and he said, “Dad, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m just reading the Word.” He’s kind of waking up. A few minutes later, he said, “Hey, Dad, you ever read the Bible all the way through.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You have?!” I said, “Yes.” He said, “How many times have you done that?” I said, “I don’t know—eight, nine, ten times.”
He couldn’t believe—he was—he said, “You’ve read the whole”—I said, “Yes, well, it’s no big deal. You just read “x” amount of pages every day, and you get through it.” I said, “You’ll do that when you’re a dad.” He said, “I will?” I said, “Oh, yes.” I said, “That’s what Farrar guys do. That’s what we have to do.”
See, that’s just—it’s what Dennis was talking about earlier. It’s passing on the baton.
Dennis: The playbook for life—the one that tells you how to make the right choice when you come to the fork in the road. Tell me a better book than the Bible.
Dennis: It’s the bestseller of all time, and it needs to be consulted on a daily basis.
Bob: Alright, prayer and the Bible—what’s next?
Steve: Next time you go to buy a car, take your older kid with you. Show them how to buy a car. Show them how to negotiate. When my dad went to buy a Volkswagen® for me, he took me with him. It saved me thousands of dollars over the years.
Bob: You know—I’ve done that. I’ve taken my kids. I make them go barefoot, in hopes that the salesman will take a little sympathy on me; but it is good to have that. I talked with a young woman one time—
Dennis: You actually take them down to that section of town where you buy cars, Bob? [Laughter]
Bob: I talked to a young lady one time who bought her first car. She walked onto the car lot. She found one she liked. She didn’t test drive it, and she paid sticker-price. She said, “I had no idea you were supposed to negotiate.” You know that—that salesman walked back in and said, “I just got one.” Man! So, that’s great wisdom.
Steve: You know what that is? That is practical Christianity. The most spiritual things in the world are the most practical things in the world. That’s coaching—that’s mentoring.
Dennis: There are some of our listeners that blinked because you had prayer, the Bible, and purchasing a car; but I’m glad you had something that’s that practical there because that is a part of being a dad.
Steve: I think when we—finances are an issue in life. I don’t know about the listeners, but I’ll tell you what. Before I purchase a car, I pray. [Laughter] I’m not kidding—
Steve: —because it’s a spiritual decision. So, it’s—anyway
Dennis: Okay, what’s the next one?
Steve: Coach your kids how to use the library. A couple years ago, a next-door neighbor, who is a hockey coach for the Dallas Stars, gave me two tickets to the game. The only one at home was Josh. I said, “Josh, let’s go to the game.” He said, “Dad, I’ve got to do this research paper.” I said, “A research paper?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “What do you got to do?” He said, “I’ve got to have five references for a bibliography.” I said, “It’s six o’clock. Let’s go to the library. I’ll show you how to do that in 15 minutes.”
We went over to the library. I showed him how you do it. I showed him the card catalogue. We did 15 minutes. We went to the hockey game—had a great time, but you know what? That’s something, as a dad, I can do. It’s not for the teacher. It’s something I can do. I showed him a few shortcuts. It was a great time. It’s real life. You’ve got to learn how to do that on a bibliography at some point in your life.
Dennis: Yes, you can also warn them about the sections of the library that contain periodicals or magazines they not ought to be in, as well.
Steve: Yes, and that you start, obviously, real early. Let me tell you a quick story, Dennis. You just triggered on that issue right there—my son John is 17. When we lived here in Little Rock, he was seven years old. We had a conversation, one night in his bedroom, about pornography. He was seven years old. I said, “John, someday, you are going to be walking with a friend. You are going to see a magazine in a trash can or your buddy is going to say at school, ‘Hey, come here to my locker. I want to show you something.’”
About two years ago, John said to me one night—he said, “Hey, Dad, it happened—what you told me was going to happen.” I said, “What did I tell you was going to happen?” He said, “You remember back in Little Rock when you told me that I’d be at school and some guy would say, ‘Hey, come over to my locker.’” He said, “Dad, it happened.” I went over there. Some guy said, “Hey, John, come here.” A bunch of guys—“Dad, they were looking at this pornographic magazine.”
He said—I said, “Well, what did you do?” He said, “Well, I did what you told me to do.” I said, “What did I tell you to do?”—not in those terms exactly. He said, “Dad, I looked at it. I realized what it was, and I looked at those guys. I just said, ‘You guys don’t need that stuff;’ and I turned around, and I walked away.”
You start early. It’s amazing what they pick up. See, that’s coaching. That’s—vision is understanding your kids are going to encounter certain circumstances. Good coaches prepare your players in advance—
Dennis: That’s right.
Steve: —before the circumstance occurs.
Dennis: You’re adjusting to the other team’s offense so you can play a wise defense.
Steve: There you go.
Dennis: What’s the next coaching tip?
Steve: The next coaching tip—if you’ve got boys, teach them how to stand up to a bully and defend themselves. I’ll tell you why this is important. Twenty-five years ago, Francis Schaeffer said, “America is a post-Christian society.” America, now, is an anti-Christian society. We’re going to need some leaders who know how to stand up for the truth, who know how to stand alone, and know how to take the heat.
If we don’t teach boys early-on to stand up and defend themselves—not to be trouble-makers, not to start fights, but to defend themselves and defend what’s right—we’re not going to have any Christian leaders.
Dennis: I like this next one, Steve. You talk about coaching your sons that men—real men—protect women.
Steve: Yes. It’s such a sexist thing; isn’t it, Dennis?
Dennis: Isn’t it?
Steve: But I’ll tell you what. It’s true.
Dennis: You don’t train your daughters to protect men.
Steve: No. I’m sure somebody somewhere is doing that because our culture has gotten so messed, you know? But God has created men to be protectors. He’s created men to put themselves on the line and take a stand, and protect a wife, and to protect a child.
Bob: Otherwise, why does God create men to have 50 percent more upper body strength than He creates women to have? I mean, it’s built into the biology. It’s the way we’re made. We’re taller. We’re bigger. We’ve got more muscle mass. God did that for a reason. It defines your masculinity, and there is a purpose in it.
Dennis: When Ashley was a senior in high school, she had a job at a pizza parlor. One night, we allowed her to work late. It was a weekend night, was midnight; and without us prompting, our son, Benjamin—he offered to go pick Ashley up at midnight—
Dennis: —to walk her out to her car. You know, that young man caught the picture—
Steve: Yes, he did.
Dennis: —that, as a man, he’s there to protect women—and specifically, his sisters.
Steve: That’s right. Blessed will be the young lady that marries him because that’s been instilled in him. You know, again, our culture is so fouled up. We mock this idea, but it’s how God has created—it’s His natural order.
Another coaching tip, “Coach them about money.” Money is an amazingly practical, spiritual issue. At least, 10 percent to the Lord, 10 percent to savings, live off the rest. While they are under your roof, they can take 10 percent for spending money and bank the other 70 percent. Teach them early about money.
Dennis: Right. You know, coaching is a good metaphor here because you have to coach over, and over, and over again, in some areas. This is one of these areas where we’ve found the coach has got to have all kinds of locker-room talks with the family, if you are going to win in this area.
Steve: It’s a tough area. That’s the thing about parenting. To me, fathering is coaching. Good coaches—they emphasize. They will tell you once. They will tell you twice. The message is always there. Consistency in the message—and eventually, they will pick it up. It might take—I was going to say it might take—it will take 18 years for them to learn some of these lessons. That’s why we keep going back to them.
Bob: It really ties into the next coaching tip. One of the ways you reinforce the value of money is by helping them think about purchases; right?
Steve: Yes, and we have a rule with our kids—and a rule in our house—before we make a major purchase—I’m talking about anything over $100, $200, $300—“Let’s think about this for 24 hours. Let’s just ponder it. Let’s talk about it.” Now, if I don’t do that, they’re not going to do. Again, it’s something that can save them a lot of hurt and a lot of money, down the road.
Bob: You might think that’s just about buying stuff. It’s really about testing our impulses—
Bob: —denying our impulses, because I’ve done it. I’ve bought stuff that I just had to have—that six months later, is up on the shelf, gathering dust. I thought, “I thought this was going to make me happy;” and it didn’t.
Dennis: That is a great assignment for a dad right here. Here’s another one; and yet, I can see a coach, back here to my left, raising his hand, “What do you mean, Steve, on this next coaching tip: ‘Teach them to dribble with their left hand’?”
Steve: When you get little guys or little girls that love sports—love basketball—you know what? We can all dribble with our right hand; but when you are playing basketball, the guy guarding you, in two minutes, is going to figure out you can only go to your right. Good basketball players can go right or they can go left. So, you know what? Teach them how to dribble with their left hand4.
I used to play a game with our guys when they were little. “Hey, if you”—we’d play basketball—“If you make a basket, you get a point; but if you dribble with your left hand three times, I’ll give you three points.” It’s just developing a skill that doesn’t come naturally.
Bob: We have moved from that. We’ve done that, but we’re on to how to throw a spiral at this point.
Steve: Same thing. See—
Bob: I haven’t figured it out yet.
Steve: See, again, we—you know, when I was a kid, we didn’t start little league or organized ball until maybe 11 or 12. Now, they start at five, six. A lot of dads, unless a dad is coaching, get taken out of the equation. These are things that dads can do and take advantage of the time.
So, if you’re going to the store—if you’re going to Ace Hardware®, hey, take them with you: “Who wants to go to the store?” because you never know when the teachable moments are going to come up.
Bob: We’ve talked about dads and sons. Give us a coaching tip for dads and daughters.
Steve: Let your daughters know that there are two kinds of beauty. There’s the inside, and there’s the outside. The inside is much more important to you than the outside. You can say something like this to your daughter, “Sweetheart, you know what? I’m so proud of you because you’re like Mommy. You’re not only pretty on the outside; but let me tell you what’s great about you. You’re pretty on the inside.”
Tell your little girls. Some of the most beautiful women, in the world, have been married six, seven, eight times. Why have they been married so many times? Because all they have is the outer beauty; but, see, you want to develop the inner beauty. If they hear that from their daddies, early-on—let me tell you another thing, guys.
Little girls who hear this from their daddies—they are going to know that you think they are important. You’re going to fill their emotional tank. They’re going to know that they’re valuable. If you treat them as though they are valuable, when they get in their teenage years, they won’t act cheap.
Dennis: You know what else? When they’re in their teenage years and they become a beautiful young lady, you don’t just compliment them on their exterior beauty for how attractive they look. You also compliment them for their character, their right choices, their wisdom—that they are exhibiting in living life.
What’s that I hear?
Bob: Coach, the team’s got to be back out on the field, here, in just a couple of minutes.
Dennis: Oh, my goodness, the game’s about to start, Steve. We’ve only gotten through a dozen of these things. Can you give us a couple more? These assistant coaches—well, they are desperate. I can see it in their eyes.
Steve: Dennis, I think it’s critical to coach them to respect and obey authority—that means parents, it means teachers, it means police officers. So, when you’re speeding to church on Sunday morning and you get pulled over—this has happened to me—[Laughter]
Dennis: Why is it so many of our best illustrations come out of our failures, Steve?
Steve: What else does God have to work with? I don’t have anything else to offer God.
Dennis: Well, the New Testament’s written about guys who failed, you know?
Bob: I’ll tell you. You talk about pictures that are indelibly stamped in your children’s minds. When the red lights are in the back of the car, their video camera is on, and they are taping that incident. They know exactly what’s going on.
Steve: That police officer has authority over me, according to the Word of God. Even if I’m upset, I need to be polite. I need to be a gentleman. I don’t lose my temper because I’m modeling. There’s one more on this because, you see, kids are going to grow up. If they don’t learn to submit and respect authority in the home, then, they’re going to have all kinds of trouble for the rest of their life. It has to begin at home. If a child can’t learn to submit to the authority of his mother, how in the world will they ever submit to the authority of Jesus Christ?
I’d throw one other thing in here for dads. Never, ever, ever put up with disrespect towards your wife—never! That’s a non-negotiable. “In this house, she is honored; she is respected.” Then, you’ll raise boys that will respect women. You will raise daughters that intuitively understand their mother is to be respected, and they are to be respected because you set the standard. You didn’t lower the standard. You raised the standard.
Bob: Yes, and I think we need to—again, just say all of these things are not going to change the heart of your child—
Bob: —but these are the kinds of character development issues—that if they’re in place when God does change the heart of the child and bring your child to faith—then, it’s a whole lot easier for that son or daughter to walk worthy of the calling that they’ve been called to.
If it’s not in place and God does a work in your child’s life, then, there’s a lot of ground that has to be made up; but we want to make sure we don’t think that character development is the same as spiritual transformation—because you can get a lot of well- mannered hypocrites. That’s not what we’re aiming for. You don’t want moral kids who are not spiritually-transformed. You want spiritually-transformed kids who have had some character development, along the way.
So, as a dad, as you are working on these things, you also have to be faithful in prayer, in reading the Scriptures to your kids, making sure they are exposed to the Gospel on a regular basis, and ask God to do that transforming work in your child’s heart. That’s really a part of the whole thesis of the book, Anchor Man, which we’ve got available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. If our listeners are interested, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and order, online, from us a copy of Steve Farrar’s book, Anchor Man. The subtitle is How a Father Can Anchor His Family in Christ for the Next 100 Years.
Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. If you’d like to order from us by telephone, call 1-800-FL-TODAY and ask about the book, Anchor Man. Again, the toll-free number is 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. Ask about the book, Anchor Man, when you call us.
Then, I also want to remind our listeners about an event that is taking place, not this Saturday, but a week from Saturday. That is August, the fourth. It’s actually happening in Chicago; but it’s being simulcast in churches all around the country. This is the Stepping Up™ National Men’s Simulcast: James MacDonald, Crawford Loritts, Robert Lewis, and Dennis Rainey—all speaking and calling men to embrace biblical manhood. We’ve got a lot of churches that are signed up to host this event.
In fact, if you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, you can find the location of a church, near you, that’s going to be a host church for this event. If you don’t see a host church location near you, there’s still time for your church to become a host church if you’d like to host this National Men’s Simulcast. It happens Saturday morning, August 4th. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the National Men’s Simulcast.
For those of you who can help us with a gift this month to defray the cost of producing and syndicating this daily radio program, we’d like to send you, as a thank-you gift, a copy of two CD’s—one from Dennis Rainey and one from Barbara Rainey. The CD from Dennis has a message for men about what it looks like for a man to step up, and the CD from Barbara is for wives about how a wife can help a husband step up and be the man that God has called him to be.
Those two CD’s are our thank-you gift this month when you help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. So, make a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com—click the button that says, “I CARE”. When you make your online donation, we’ll send you a copy of the CD’s; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone and just ask for the CD’s on Stepping Up. Again, we’re happy to send those out to you; and we do so much appreciate and value your partnership with us, here in the ministry of FamilyLife Today. Thanks for whatever you are able to do in supporting this ministry.
We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow when we’re going to get more coaching tips from Coach Steve Farrar as we talk about the role of a man in anchoring his family in Christ. We’ll hear that tomorrow. I hope you can be with us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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