Meeting Your Family’s Needs
About the Guest
Being a husband and father isn't easy. It often requires that you do the hard thing. Rod Hairston, pastor of Messiah Community Church, and his bride of more than 23 years, Sheri, tell Dennis Rainey what they are doing to raise the next generation to know and love the Lord. Find out how they responded when their daughter knowingly disobeyed their house rules, and hear Sheri give a glimpse into a wife's emotional needs.
Rod and Sheri HairstonThe simplest way to introduce myself is to tell you about my passions. My life is centered around three simple things: a passion for God, a passion for my family, and a passion to see men succeed. My wife Sheri and I have been married for more than 23 years and have 4 amazing kids -- ages 17 to 22. I express my passions as an author, speaker and motivator of men from all walks of life -- from corporate boardrooms, to professional athletics, to local churches. Quite simply, I love to help men win...more
Being a husband and father isn’t easy. It often requires that you do the hard thing. Rod Hairston his wife Sheri, tell what they are doing to raise the next generation to know and love the Lord.
Meeting Your Family’s Needs
Bob: One of the great gifts a husband can give to his wife is to remind her that God sees her as beautiful and that he sees her as beautiful, even when she doesn’t see herself that way. Here is Sheri Hairston.
Sheri: I gave birth to four children. I have stretch marks, and I struggle to see myself the way that God sees me and the way my husband sees me; but he frees me up by that kind of love—to see the beauty that’s in me and to know that I can remind my daughters that they have the same kind of beauty. Perfection is not the goal, but God has formed us and shaped us wonderfully. His love reminds me of that.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 7th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today about how a husband can value his wife as the great blessing she is to him. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I think this is the first time we’ve had a guest who—as far as I know—first time a guest who has taken his daughter and handed her over to the police—took her to jail. Can you think of anybody who has done that other than the guy sitting across from you?
Bob: We should probably get the story.
Dennis: Have you ever done it?
Bob: Take my daughter to jail?!
Bob: I took her to court—I took her to traffic court because I wanted the judge to scare her a little bit, and I sat there with her—but not to jail. I mean, it was a speeding ticket—so, she wasn’t going to jail.
Dennis: Of course.
Bob: No, court is as far as I got her.
Dennis: Our listeners are wondering—
Bob: Who is this guy?
Bob: And what went on there?
Sheri: Who is this jerk? [Laughter]
Dennis: Do you guys vet your guests?
Rod and Sheri Hairston join us again on FamilyLife Today. Sheri, Rod, welcome back.
Sheri: Thank you.
Rod: Thank you.
Dennis: Rod has written a book called Cover Her:
How to Create a Safe Place for the Ladies in Your Life…
Bob: Like jail.
Dennis: Like jail. [Laughter] That’s what I was thinking about!
Sheri: It was a scare tactic.
Dennis: Yes. He is—Rod is a pastor in Owings Mills, Maryland. It is called Messiah Community Church, and they’ve hosted an Art of Marriage®—
Dennis: —at your church.
Rod: Yes, we have.
Dennis: Had a good response to that there?
Rod: Great response. People love it—loved the material.
Dennis: Let’s find out, though, about this trip to the jail. [Bob hums the Dragnet theme song]
Dennis: Bob, nobody knows what that’s going to be.
Bob: That’s what I thought too. [Laughter]
Dennis: Some people are going,—
Bob: There are some—
Dennis: —“What was Bob humming there?”
Bob: —there are some old-timers that get that one; alright?
Rod: Wow! Okay, so, my daughter was 12. This is at the time when everyone is instant messaging—and you know—loose restrictions, if any at all. We said to her: “Listen, you cannot IM strangers because there are perverts—there are predators.
They’ll try to get in contact with you and try to get your information. Don’t do it.”
Bob: This is you, being a dad, who is covering his daughter—protecting her.
Rod: I’m trying to do my job—
Rod: —trying to fulfill my assignment. We tell her—she doesn’t follow suit. We tell her again—she doesn’t follow suit. I caught her on her phone—I go into her bedroom, and I just happened to say, “Let me see your phone.” I just do random phone checks. I said, “Let me see your phone.” She goes—she gets those big eyes like: “Really? You want to see my phone?” “Give me the phone.”
So, anyway, I look at her phone. I’m like, “Who is this guy?!” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” I take the phone, and I just—I lose it. I smashed the phone on the floor. Her eyes got even bigger. I said: “You know what? You obviously don’t want to live under my roof with my rules.”
Dennis: This is to a 12 year old?
Rod: This is to my 12 year old. Yes, because I’m thinking, “You don’t like the food I provide? The heat is not warm enough, maybe?”
I don’t know, “But you don’t like it here because my rules don’t work for you.” So, I say, “I’ll tell you what, let’s go have a family meeting.” We went into the family room. We called all the family together. I said, “You need to tell your family what just happened.”
Dennis: You mean about Dad smashing the—
Rod: No, about what Dad found on her phone. Now, it’s family accountability.
Bob: Okay, you remember this happening, Sheri; right?
Sheri: I remember this happening; yes.
Bob: So, you didn’t know what was going on when Dad brought her into the room; did you?
Sheri: I did not.
Dennis: So, what were you thinking?
Sheri: “What is all this commotion? What is going on?”
Bob: So, what happened?
Rod: So, I said, “Leah has something to share with you,”—and Leah knows—we talk about this all the time. It’s funny now, but she shared what happened. I said, “And she’s going to juvie”—that’s juvenile detention. So, everybody started crying. There was great weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth in our family room. And I said—
Dennis: Hold it—hold it.
Dennis: You announced to the whole family that you were taking her—
Rod: To juvie.
Bob: Juvenile detention.
Rod: Juvenile detention.
Bob: Jail for kids.
Rod: Yes, jail for kids.
Sheri: But we have to say—you did call a friend down there and say: “Listen, I need to teach my daughter a lesson. I’m bringing her down.” He’s like: “Bring her down. I’m waiting for her. Come on. Bring her down to teach her a lesson.”
Dennis: So, you had—
Sheri: This was all fixed.
Dennis: —a big Lesson.
Rod: Lesson. So, she had no idea of this, of course. All of the family is in tears and all of this. So, I call my buddies down. I know a lot of police officers in town. I called them and said, “Hey, can you call down to juvie?” He said: “Absolutely, we’ve got you. We’ll take care of that.”
I drive her all the way downtown. It’s a 30-minute ride downtown. There were tears. I said: “Oh, by the way, call your grandmother, too, and tell her where you are headed. You know you want to use the cell phone.” She called her—
Dennis: Wow, you’re milking this thing; huh?
Rod: Oh, yes, the whole way—the whole way. This is going to be a big lesson.
Dennis: So, you know, before we get to kind of the punch line of where this went—
—what did you see on the phone that caused the bells and whistles to go off in your mind?—you go, “I’ve got to teach a Lesson because my daughter’s life may be on the line.”
Rod: I saw a predator, talking to her with sexual language—my 12 year old—after we had said several times, “Don’t IM anyone.” And when I saw that sexual language from—
Sheri: That she was entertaining.
Rod: That she was entertaining—I said, “This has got to stop.”
Dennis: So, you wanted to make an impression that would never be forgotten.
Rod: Yes; exactly. She needed to put together the outcome of her actions—that: “This can never lead to anything productive. This can never lead to anything beneficial.”
Bob: So, were you telling her that you were going to have her put in jail for not doing what her daddy told her to do?
Rod: Oh, absolutely. I said, “You know,” I said, “they have—they will take you in because, if you don’t want to live in your parents’ home, they have a place for people like you.”
Dennis: So, she’s crying?
Rod: She’s crying.
Dennis: Continue the drive down there.
Rod: So, we get down to downtown Baltimore to the juvenile detention center.
Dennis: Did she ever stop you and say, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…”?
Bob: “I’m sorry.”
Rod: Yes, oh, yes. She said she was sorry the whole way. I said—
Bob: “I will not do it again.”
Rod: Yes, she did.
Rod: I said: “I’m sure you’re sorry. You said you wouldn’t do it again before, but you did it again. So, this is where you’re going.”
Dennis: You’re tough.
Rod: It was hard—let me tell you—it was hard. It was hard going through with it, but I just really sensed that this was a kid who needed this kind of real life lesson.
Sheri: “Sin is crouching at your door”—that’s her verse—“and it desires to have you, but you must master it.” That is the child.
Dennis: And to those listeners, right now, I just want to tell you to take a deep breath because there are some of our listeners, who are just kind of going,—
Bob: “This sounds abusive to me.”
Bob: There are some thinking,—
Dennis: Oh, yes, they are.
Dennis: They are thinking that, and I’m going: “You know what? This is not your daughter. You weren’t in this situation. You are not responsible for Rod’s daughter.”
Bob: You don’t know the family dynamic.
Dennis: You don’t know what’s going on.
You just need to trust the man, at this point, that the man is making a point to protect his daughter from sin—
Dennis: —and the proof will be in the pudding on the deal.
Bob: I do have to ask, Sheri, when Rod said, “I’m taking her to juvie,” you had to think, “You’re doing what?!”
Sheri: Exactly. I said, “What’s happening?” And he explained that it was all fixed. He told me who was down there, waiting for her, how long they were going to be there—that he would be in the same building—that she’d be put in a cell by herself for a few minutes to really feel the effects of it. But I knew that she would learn a lesson—
Sheri: —because this is the first child / the firstborn. She’s the one who that verse applies to—and we knew that, as parents.
Dennis: And I just want to say—some of our listeners may remember a broadcast we did with the father and the FBI agents for Kacie Woody, who was 13 years old, Bob—wasn’t that about right?
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: —just north of here in Arkansas about 35 miles—
—who was abducted by a guy from San Diego—a 45-year-old man. And she was assaulted and murdered.
Bob: So, this is a life-and-death issue that you were dealing with on your daughter’s phone. That’s why you reacted the way you did.
Rod: That’s exactly right—it was life and death to me.
Dennis: So, keep on telling the story.
Dennis: I want to run this on out.
Rod: So, we get to the juvenile detention center. I said, “You come with me.” I went to the lady at the front desk. I said: “I have a child here who doesn’t want to live in my home. She does not want to obey the rules that me and my wife have laid out; and we do our best to love her / take care of her.” The lady said: “Oh, no problem. We have the place for her. I’ll get one of the officers, and he’ll escort her to where she needs to go.” She calls the officer—she said: “Sir, you just need to drive around the back of the building. Officer So-and-so will be waiting for you. He’ll take her in and book her and take her to her cell.” So, she’s now thinking: “Oh my goodness!
“This is really happening.”
I drove her around the building. The officer met us; and he said, “Oh, is this the one that we heard about? Is this the daughter that—oh,” and he began to lecture her, “So, young lady, don’t you know that your parents love you and they try to provide for you?” He just read her the riot act. She said [Tearfully], “Yes, sir, I know.”
He took her right into a cell, where it’s cold and it’s hard. I just leave around the corner. I just sit for about 30 or 40 minutes, while she is sitting in a cell, back there, thinking about her life. So, the officer said, “I think it’s been about long enough.” I said, “I agree.” She came out. I said, “So, what did you decide while you—did you want to stay in my house or would you like to stay here?” “Daddy, I want to go home! I want to go home!” I said: “Well, let’s have a conversation before we make this decision. Now, if you come back to my house, you need to live under the guidelines your mom and I have set—
—no IM’ing / no rebellion.” “Daddy, I…”—she has been a model child ever since.
Bob: Okay, there are some listeners wondering if you got that number at the juvie. [Laughter] Don’t you think? There are some parents, who are going, “We need that cure at our house”—
Rod: Oh my goodness!
Bob: —“for what’s going on.”
Dennis: Yes. Yes, I’m just going back to the Kacie Woody story. Truthfully—emotionally, I’m thinking, “This is the kind of love”—and I’m not saying the same action—
Dennis: —“but this is the kind of love dads need to be invading their daughters and their sons lives with.”
Rod: We have to—we have to!
Dennis: We have to—who is going to do it?
Bob: Now, here’s what I think listeners need to understand. The same guy who did this with his daughter is a guy who is talking about the need to cover the women in his life and care for their emotional needs.
Bob: Okay, so, they need to understand that that’s the framework you’re operating from—which is, “I’m going to care for the emotional needs of my wife and my daughters.” This is not how you treat your girls, day in and day out.
Rod: No; no.
Dennis: That was a silver bullet.
Rod: That was a silver—you know the Bible says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction”—the rod of discipline—“will drive it far from them.”
Bob: And you are that Rod; aren’t you? [Laughter]
Dennis: Rod, there’s—oh, Bob, that was pretty good. Rod did not even know what he’d said. [Laughter]
Rod: You got me totally.
Bob: So, come back now and talk about the day-in and day-out caring for the emotional needs of your wife and your daughters. What are the kinds of things you do—what are the kinds of things a man ought to be doing to invest in and demonstrate “I’m here to make sure that your emotional life is as whole as it can be”?
Rod: You know, one of the most important things, I think, I have learned on this journey is that her being emotional and having emotional needs does not mean she’s crazy. Her emotions are valid—they are real. It’s what she’s feeling, and I’ve had to learn to treat her emotions as if they are valid. So, when I don’t understand them, I have to simply say: “I don’t understand, but how can I love you? What do you need from me?”
Dennis: I appreciate your candor there, as a man. I really do. I mean, you’re admitting what every man thinks—it is like: “Now, wait a second, just flip a switch and get over this!” And that’s not the way they’re wired. That’s not—we didn’t want a replica of ourselves when we married our wives; alright?
Bob: Sheri, you just had a conversation like this with Rod about your emotional needs—
Bob: —that he did not understand; right?
Sheri: Absolutely, on the way here.
Bob: Can you tell us what—so tell us the circumstances. What was it about?
Sheri: It was about an emotional need that I have for calm—for the pace of life not to be overwhelming. I’m an introvert—my husband is an extrovert. He feeds off of people. He’s refueled and energized by people. I’m drained by that expenditure. So, we always have these discussions about: “What’s manageable for me? Does it seem to be manageable for him?” He didn’t understand my need for a little more structure and calm—so, we had a discussion about that.
Bob: A little fellowship on that subject.
Sheri: Yes, intense fellowship on that subject. [Laughter]
Bob: You know what? Dennis and Barbara Rainey have had some intense fellowship on that exact subject; haven’t you? [Laughter]
Dennis: I would say that you used almost the exact same words—
Dennis: —that Barbara would use—
Dennis: —“People drain me,”—you like them?
Sheri: I like them—I’m not antisocial.
Sheri: I like people.
Dennis: You do, but it doesn’t mean that is what gives you energy and strength—
—it’s solitude, and it’s a pace of life that’s a little slower.
Dennis: Help the men, who are listening right now, Sheri, better understand: “What are the emotional needs of a woman?” Now, you described what you needed in that situation from Rod, but what are the top emotional needs of a wife?
Sheri: I don’t know about all wives; but I know, for me, I need to be loved, to be accepted, to be heard. I need to have my voice not squelched. I need to know that what I feel matters. I need space to feel it—even if it doesn’t make sense. If I feel it, it is real. I need not be told, “It is all hormones.” I need to be who I am and express myself and feel valued.
Dennis: You not only esteem her for her value, as your wife and as the mother of your children, but you also talk about her beauty.
Rod: Do you see what I am looking at here? I get to look at this every day. My wife is drop-dead gorgeous. I tell guys when I go speak out at conferences: “My wife is bad! I mean, she’s just bad! She is fine!” [Laughter] And she is. She is a beautiful woman. I love her deeply. I love this woman. [Emotion in voice] I can’t even—I can’t even get it out of my mouth sometimes how much she means to me. And there are times when I drop the ball, and I miss it in terms of her emotional needs; but I want to get it right because I love her, and I need her in my life.
Bob: Sheri, when you hear your husband describe you as “bad”—[Laughter]—I think a lot of women look at themselves in the mirror and all they see are flaws. So, do you think he’s just up to something? Do you think he’s—I mean, what does it do for you when you hear him talk about the fact that he sees you as a beautiful woman?
Sheri: It challenges my mindset because, like most women, I gave birth to four children. I have stretch marks, and it’s—I struggle with my self-esteem that way. I struggle to see myself the way God sees me and the way my husband sees me.
Sheri: But he frees me up by that kind of love—to see the beauty that’s in me and to know that I can remind my daughters that they have the same kind of beauty. Perfection is not the goal, but God has formed us and shaped us wonderfully. His love reminds me of that.
Bob: And when he chokes up talking about it?
Sheri: That just fills me up. It makes deposits in places I can’t even tell you. It fills me up.
Dennis: You also, Rod—you, not only affirm her emotions for what they are, and who she is, and talk to her about her beauty—your commitment / your love for her—but, when she’s uncertain / when she doesn’t know which way to go,—
Dennis: —you’ll step in and provide gentle coaching/leadership and guide her a bit. Explain how you do that.
Rod: Sure. Early on, I used to just say: “Well, you just need to do this. Well, if you do that or if you do that, everything will be okay.” And I’m a little slow sometimes. It took me a while to figure out that doesn’t work very well. So, what I have learned is to just let her talk about it: “So, tell me what you are thinking; okay? You’re thinking this. Okay.” And I’ll just kind of listen; and then, I’ll say, “So, what kind of steps do you think would be helpful to take?” So, I find that, if I let her talk about how she’s thinking / process it with me, then, I can more helpfully guide her to the solution.
Sheri: As opposed to fixing it.
Dennis: You know what they call that in the NFL—
Rod: What’s that?
Dennis: —when you just try to fix it and you don’t really listen?
Dennis: It’s called a rookie season. [Laughter]
Rod: I had a long rookie season.
Dennis: Well, some of us repeat our rookie year—or make some rookie errors—even though we are veterans.
Dennis: In 1 Peter, Chapter 3, verse 7, it really wraps up what—
Dennis: —we’re talking about here: “Likewise, husbands live with your wives in an understanding way”—that is what you’ve been talking about—
Dennis: —“showing honor to the woman as a weaker vessel since they are heirs with you of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Rod: That’s right; that’s right.
Dennis: That is our assignment, as men. Personally, I just want to thank both of you for being on FamilyLife Today and for sharing your story. And I’m convinced we’re going to get some mail about the jail story. [Laughter]
Rod: She’s out! [Laughter]
Dennis: Some of it will be asking for the name of that sheriff down there that you know that—anyway, but thanks to you guys for your ministry—
Sheri: Thank you.
Dennis: —and we love you and appreciate you, and hope you’ll come back and join us again sometime.
Sheri: Thank you.
Rod: It’s been such a joy to be here with you. We’re honored. Thank you for having us.
Bob: And I hope guys will catch a vision for what you’ve been talking about in terms of being the covering over their family—for a wife, for daughters, for sons. Hope a lot of guys will get a copy of your book, which is called Cover Her. It’s a book that we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” That’ll take you right where you need to go to get more information about Rod Hairston’s book, Cover Her. You can order, online, if you’d like; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to order the book.
I might also mention that our team is hoping and praying that this month—the month we’ve decided to call “Manuary”—we’re hoping and praying that there might be 50,000 guys who would get together with other guys and go through FamilyLife’s Stepping Up®ten-week study for men. You get together with a group of guys—you watch a video for about half an hour / you have some discussion questions. You can do it morning, evening, Saturdays—whatever time works for you. You can do it with a small group of guys. You can do it with the men’s group at your church—wherever it makes sense.
And this is something that any man can take the initiative to instigate with his friends, or with his coworkers, or fathers together with sons. Don’t wait for somebody else to take the initiative to make this happen. Why don’t you grab a group of guys and say, “Let’s go through this material”? I think it will benefit them / it’ll benefit you.
I know the fellowship with other guys will be valuable in your life.
And to add a little incentive, our team has decided to make all of the Stepping Up resources for the ten-week study available with a special discounted rate. You can find out more about that when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the page that says, “GO DEEPER”; and then, click the link for Stepping Up. Find out more about the series and how you can save some money this week by launching one of these Stepping Up groups.
Now, we want to make sure that we say, “Thank you,” again to those of you who are the financial backbone of FamilyLife Today. All of the costs associated with producing and syndicating this program—having it heard by hundreds of thousands of people, all around the world, each day on radio, on the internet, via podcasts, streaming, through our mobile app—you guys make this possible when you support this ministry. We couldn’t do it without you.
And this month, we would like to say a special “Thank you,” and encourage you in the process to spend time each day, as a husband and wife, praying together, looking at God’s Word together, and maybe talking together about how God’s Word applies in your marriage and in your family. Dennis and Barbara Rainey have written a book called Moments with You. It’s a book that provides a full year’s worth of devotionals, along with Scripture, and discussion questions, and some things to pray about. We want to make that book available to you if you can help us with a donation as we kick off 2015.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, where it says, “I care.” When you make an online donation, you can request the book, Moments with You, by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone and request the book. Or if you’d prefer, you can mail your donation to us. Our mailing address is FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR.
And our zip code is 72223. Again, ask for the Moments with You devotional when you get in touch with us.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear some thoughts from Dr. Robert Lewis on things husbands ought to be keeping in mind if we want to be the kind of husbands God has called us to be. Hope you can tune in for that.
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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