Your kids don’t pay attention and forget most of what you say, but does that mean what you have to say is pointless? Join AMBrewster today as he helps Christian parents appreciate the value of Forgettable Conversations.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple Podcasts by clicking the titles.
“Repetitive Parenting | how to enjoy repeating yourself” (episode 150)
“The Sufficiency of Scripture in Parenting” (episode 174)
“A Parent’s 5 Jobs” series (episode 184)
“Parenting Like The Holy Spirit” (episode 123)
“Your Parenting is Not in Vain" (episode 224)
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If you’re anything like me then it probably annoys you to no end when you tell your family something — something you feel is important — and they forget what you said.
Maybe that doesn’t bother you, but I know it’s a struggle for me.
But — you know what — it’s kind of ridiculous to assume that everything I say is going to be remembered. But then — I suppose — that begs the questions . . . why bother saying it if it’s just going to be forgotten?
That’s one question we seek to answer today as we discuss the nature of forgettable conversations.
But before we dive it, I’d like to thank Matt, Sonja, and Taylor for making a difference at Truth.Love.Parent. by making today’s episode possible. Without their consistent giving, we wouldn’t be able to produce these twice-weekly episodes.
If this or any other episode is a blessing to you, will you consider sending an email to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com?
We recently received this email, and it was yet one more reminder that God is doing a work, and we’re blessed enough to be part of it.
Here’s what the email said, “The Truth.Love.Parent podcast helped me tangibly apply biblical truths to my parenting. I use this as a resource for myself throughout the day listening to several podcasts, we did the online classes to become premeditated parents and now are sharing what we learned with friends starting the journey of parenting.”
I can’t begin to express how humbling it is to be a jar of clay for the work of the master potter. Thank you for sharing those uplifting words!
Okay, so don’t forget that we have free episode notes at TruthLoveParent.com as well as a full transcript of all of our shows.
Now, what happens if our kids forget most of what we say?
It’s true. People forget things. They forget important things.
We just came out of Easter, so this verse should be fresh in your mind. In Luke 24:6, the women have arrived at the tomb to find it empty. And what did the angels tell them?
“He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.”
Now, don’t you think that was an important conversation. Don’t you think that if your master had told you he was going to be killed but in three days he would rise again, don’t you think you might have set up some lawn chairs and popped some popcorn and gone out late on the second day like you’re trying to be the first to get limited tickets to a concert . . . just to be there when he actually does rise from the grave?
Well, they just forgot the conversation.
But Jesus still had it.
Knowing they would forget — knowing they would disperse — knowing they weren’t paying close enough attention to remember — Jesus still had the conversation. Why?
Well, first of all, this phenomenon shouldn’t be that foreign to you.
How much do you remember from fifth grade? I have a feeling that there are a number of academic concepts you can remember learning. The ones you remember are either the ones with which you greatly struggled, or they were the ideas you understood quickly and — with which — you had great success.
But even though you probably don’t remember the hours upon hours of formal teaching and informal conversations you had with your 5th grade teacher, you probably remember the person.
In fact, you probably have deeply formed ideas about who they were, what kind of a person they were, what they thought of you, and how much they cared or didn’t care for you. And — in the case of a high school teacher who helped you be passionate about a subject you previously didn’t like — you probably liked the subject less because of what they taught and more because how much they cared for the subject and how much they cared about you.
I know I’ve talked about my Aunt Francie before, but this is a good time to remind you of the impact she had on my life.
First, Aunt Francie isn’t really my aunt. My parents befriended her and her husband when I was in kindergarten. We moved away from the area about four years later. We saw them only a couple times thereafter, and with the exception of my sister’s wedding and Uncle Norm’s funeral a couple years ago, I could count all the times I’ve seen her on one hand since I was thirteen.
And still, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Aunt Francie loves me and consistently pointed me to God and His Truth every opportunity she had.
And yet, I can remember very little of anything we ever did or anything she ever said. I have a handful of memories that are more of a collection of information than scenes from a movie. I know we spent a lot of time at her house. I know we went to the zoo. I knew she always gave us stickers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with mini-marshmallows and raisins.
I also remember that she encouraged me to fall in love with writing and that one time we planted gladiolus together.
And even though I have always loved writing and even though I plant gladiolus everywhere I’ve lived, I can’t remember a single conversation she and I had when I was younger.
And yet I’ve always trusted her, I’ve always known she would tell me God’s Truth, and I’ve always known she loved me.
Now, I admit that today’s episode is like our last one — not as robust in terms of my dependence on Scripture. And though that’s not my preference, I hope you’ll see how powerful forgetful conversations are.
So, please allow me to share with you some important truths I’ve learned on both ends of the conversation. I’ve been the one to forget the conversations, and I’ve been the one to have my conversations forgotten by others.
1. The Forgettable Conversation is valuable in the moment.
I promise you that the words we speak — though they may have little eternal significance — have a great impact in the present.
In Proverbs 25:11 we read, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” The right word spoken at the right time is a precious thing.
My daughter will likely forget the silly times we’ve had playing with her stuffies, but I guarantee you that those moments were integral in my daughter trusting me and knowing that I loved and cherished her.
When we share the Gospel, the details may be lost in a month, but those same details may soften a hard heart and result in the individual’s salvation all because “today is the day of salvation,” and we were a light for God.
We have forgettable conversations because we have been commanded to speak and to do so as God would speak.
Even though Jesus knew His disciples would forget much of what He said, He said it anyway because they needed to hear it in the moment.
Think of all the conversations Jesus had with Judas. Think of all He taught Judas. Jesus did it because Judas needed to hear it . . . even if — in the end — Judas rejected all that Jesus said.
“I know, Aaron, but it’s so tiring to have to repeat myself all the time. I know how important what I have to say is both now and in the future, and it would be great to not have to say it in the future.”
I know how you feel. In fact, I spoke to that exact same thing in season 6, on episode 150. That show was called “Repetitive Parenting | how to enjoy repeating yourself.” You can click on the link for that show below. I think it will be a blessing to you and will add some additional depth to today’s study.
But our words have more significance than in the mere moment.
2. The Forgettable Conversation is a brick in the wall of your character.
I want to reiterate that I remember practically no collection of strung-together words from my Aunt Francie’s and my interactions when I was young. And yet I’m overwhelmed with warm feelings and the firm belief that I know everything important there is to know about her.
Of course, I didn’t . . . and I don’t, but the point still stands that all of those forgettable conversations added up brick by brick, and though the individual nuances faded and eventually blurred into a single image in my mind, that image was Aunt Francie’s character.
The same is true for our kids. When they leave our houses, they will likely remember very little of what you said. This is especially the case if your parenting Bibles are robust.
If you don’t know what a Parenting Bible is, you can listen to episode 174, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Parenting.”
Anyway, unless you have drilled certain ideas into your kids like my mom did with me — for example, “It doesn’t matter what anyone says, and it doesn’t matter what anyone does, you’re responsible to God for your own reactions” — unless you’ve done that, you can be certain that the content of those individual conversations are going to coalesce and become that for which your children remember you.
And this needs to be a strong warning to us. Consider a piece of paper with a thin line of watercolor paint. When you focus on that thin line you realize that it’s a holy color. It’s good and loving and truthful and spoken for the glory of God.
Of course, next to that line, you have six sinful lines. They’re a little thicker, and they’re much uglier, and that’s what you see all across the page. Beautiful Christ-honoring lines here and there, and self-worshipping lines everywhere else.
When you think back on your parenting, you’ll likely focus on all the times you painted a perfect line of biblical Ambassadorial parenting. But, over time, what’s going to happen in your kids’ minds is that all of those watercolors are going to bleed together. The bright colors of sanctified parenting will mix with the dark lines of selfishness. And — you know what — your parenting won’t be remembered by your children as well as you may think.
That smudged and blurry impression will be how your kids view your character.
This speaks to the importance of each and every forgettable conversation. Yes, the individual colored lines will be forgotten, but the picture they create will be remembered by your kids for the rest of their lives.
Forgettable Conversations are important in the moment because the information you’re communicating is necessary in the moment.
But Forgettable Conversations are important in the long run because they corporately add to the general impression your kids will having of your character.
And — in the same way those conversations create a larger impression of your character —
3. The Forgettable Conversation is vital to your children’s cumulative understanding.
Let’s go back to our picture illustration, only this time, I want you to view in your mind those images that were popular for awhile in the late 90’s. Do you remember those photos that were created by a ton of smaller photos?
Okay, with that in mind, consider this. What will happen if your child has one million of those tiny photos on the print of their lives, and each of those smaller photos represents one conversation with your kids? What larger picture will be created on their lives?
Think of how many conversations you have with your kids about sports. Consider how many you’ve had with them about school and friends and their job and going to bed and eating their food and so on.
And then compare how many of those conversations you’ve had with how many intentionally spiritual conversations you’ve had. What percentage of the talks you’ve had with your kids included anything about God? How many involve using the Scripture? How many apply God’s Word to their current situation?
If you’re like the average professing-Christian, American parent, then that number is far less. And when you zoom out to look at the larger image created by all those little snapshots, are you really going to be surprised that our kids know more about basketball and music and math than they do about God’s will for their lives?
Now, imagine this. Imagine that every time you talked about school and work and friends and food that you brought God’s Word to bear on the conversation. Imagine that you were intentionally and premeditatedly were trying to be a disciple-making Ambassador Parent in everything you did. Can you even begin to imagine how scripturally literate and biblically wise your children may become.
And it won’t be because they remember all of those conversations verbatim, it will be because all of that teaching and interpreting and counseling and training had one grand and glorious theme tied all throughout, and that theme was the knowledge and worship of God.
All of those Forgettable Conversations you have with your kids are vitally important because they will potentially be the foundational groundwork of their spiritual lives and maturity.
If you haven’t heard our Parents 5 Job’s series, I recommend you give that a listen as we discuss how God would have His Ambassador’s teach and interpret and counsel and train. You can find that linked in the description as well.
This point right here — the fact that these forgettable moments lay the groundwork for your child’s knowledge of God — is one of the reasons Truth.Love.Parent. exists. We want to equip you, the dads and moms to be the kind of parents who make a big deal out of God all the time.
Okay, so . . .
And . . .
4. The Forgettable Conversation — when steeped in God’s Truth — will not return void.
I think we hate the fact that our kids don’t remember what we say for the same reasons I stated at the beginning of the show . . . we’re prideful and believe our kids should put more importance on what we say.
And — don’t get me wrong — our kids do need to pay better attention and be respectful enough to remember that which is important to his parents.
But, from our side, we need to do a couple things differently.
First, we need to stop being selfish pigs. Our parenting has to be about God, not us.
Second, we need to understand the points being made today. This will constantly remind us that our parenting is made up of really important little sprints, but it’s also a gigantic marathon. The big picture matters too.
With that in mind, when we give our kids really important information, and they forget it, and then we react arrogantly — in the long run — we’re likely teaching our kids how to be selfish better than we’re teaching them how to be godly.
And third, we need to take solace in the fact that when our Forgettable Conversation is bursting with Scripture and It’s wise application in our lives, we have God’s promise that His Word will not return void.
Isaiah 55:10-11 reads, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
When our conversations are chock-full of the same words that proceed from God’s mouth, we can know for certain that they will not return empty. They will succeed in the purpose that God has for them.
I also want you to consider Jesus’ words in John 16:7-15. It’s a good amount of Scripture, but pay close attention. Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
By the way, we have a show called “Parenting Like The Holy Spirit” in episode 123 where we deal with this passage in detail.
Anyway, Jesus has just laid out the Holy Spirit’s mission in regard to the unsaved world. And then He continues . . .
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Here we have a secondary promise that not only will God’s Word not return void, but the Holy Spirit has been tasked with taking the Father’s will and declaring it to His children and using God’s Word to convict the unsaved world of sin and righteousness and judgement.
Therefore, whether our kids are saved or not, when we speak God’s Word into their lives, we’re not speaking our words in our strength, we’re speaking God’s words in the power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Another good follow up to today’s podcast is episode 224, “Your Parenting is Not in Vain.” That episode also helps us understand that any work done in the right way will never be fruitless.
So, all the Forgettable Conversations we have that are soaked with God’s Word not only have God’s power to succeed according to God’s plan in the moment, they also are being multiplied as they add to your kids’ cumulative knowledge of God, and they convince your children of your character and devotion to God.
I don’t know about you, but that makes every word I speak of monumental importance even if I can be certain my kids are going to forget the specifics of my words.
I hope this encouraged you, and I hope it will encourage your friends as you share this episode on social media with them.
And I hope you and your friends will join us for our next episode, “How to Mess Up Sports in Your Family.”
We’re getting into summer, likely your kids have already started thinking about their summer sports. But since God commands us to do all things to His honor and glory, we’d better make sure we’re diligent to not mess up the opportunities He gives us.
Listen, your kids aren’t going to remember the vast majority of what you say to them, but that doesn’t mean it’s pointless or fruitless. Forgettable Conversations are extremely valuable.
Have a great day!
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