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Bill Walton, the co-founder of Holiday Inns and president of a multi-billion-dollar international corporation, came to Christ years ago through the witness and testimony of Billy Graham.

In an excerpt from a powerful article he wrote, he said, "Among the most frightened and frustrated fathers to be found anywhere are some top corporate managers I know. They can skillfully negotiate a multi-national merger, but can't seem to carry on five minutes of civil conversation with a son or daughter." 1

It's important that you never lose the ability to have conversations with your children, talking to them and letting them talk to you. This is something requiring work.

From my viewpoint, it appears that many parents can't really carry on a conversation with their children. They give them orders, they tell them with a to do and what not to do, but children need a talking/listening relationship with their parents. It requires listening to get on their level.

With our little boy, Paul, he wants to play with his little toy men, animals, and cars. When our girls were his age, they wanted me to play dolls with them. Today, I have a talking relationship with all my children.

When they're going through a problem or a difficulty or just day-to-day things, they're able to openly communicate with both Sharon and me.

Hug Your Kids
The question was asked in a youth group from another church, "How many of you have had your mother or father hug you and tell you 'I love you' in the last week?" Over fifty percent of the teenagers present said they hadn't been hugged or told they were loved during the previous week.

It's okay to hug teenagers! It's okay to hug little children and take them in your arms and love them! If there's anything young people need today, it's the sense of security and acceptance that comes from knowing that someone loves them.

Many young people have a macho image of their father, in which case the father isn't tender nor does he represent Jesus. Young people need to remember: your model isn't in Hollywood. It's the Son of God! Jesus Christ is your pattern.

It takes humility to relate to your children. Ken Anderson, president of Ken Anderson Films, says, "We have found that children go astray from homes where the solemn truths of the Bible are proclaimed as dynamic law, but where parents, however sincere, fail to add that warmth of genuineness which must be seen for the Christian faith to ring real in a child's calculating mind." 2

This man has produced Christian films for many years, and he and his wife have raised seven children. All of their children are born again, and are serving God today.

He talks about the days when their children were small. The family didn't have money to stay in a hotel, so they bought a little tent. He and his wife raised their children to see that families could have fun together as Christians.

Many parents say, "I'm going to lay down the law to my children." You may lay down the law, but remember this: The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

When there's fun in the home and laughter around the table, children see that what you believe is real.

We encountered a man in one of our crusades who had been living under a bridge for three weeks. He shared how growing up he was in a home which went to church all the time and taught all the commandments, but where there was no warmth and no love.

As soon as he could get away from it, he ran as far as he could.

When there is a warm acceptance and love in the home, children won't run from Christianity. They'll desire to embrace it.

1 Bill Walton, "When the Boss' Comes Home," Voice Magazine, Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, Publishers, P.O. Box 5050, Costa Mesa, CA 92628, Vol. 38, No. 12, Dec. 1990, p. 4.
2 Ken Anderson, "The Family That Play Together," The Marriage Affair, edited by J. Allan Petersen (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1971), p. 199.

Source: Building Stronger Marriages by Billy Joe Daugherty.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Billy Joe Daugherty
Web site: Victory Christian Center
Billy Joe Daugherty was founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was also the founder of Victory Christian School, Victory Bible Institute and Victory World Missions Training Center.

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