Parenting With a Plan
About the Guest
When your kids grow up will they share your values? Pastor Jim Bogear and his wife, Jerolyn, explain how they've sought to pass down their values to each of their kids through a rite of passage called a "Faith Legacy" - a trip designed around their family's six core values.
Jim and Jerolyn BogearJim Bogear is the founding and lead pastor of The River Church in Sacramento, California. He is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and has a master's degree in counseling psychology from Ball State University. He has more that twenty-five years experience in pastoral ministry. Jerolyn Bogear is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University with a BA in English and a secondary teaching certificate. She has homeschooled their three children: Lauren, Gabby, and Shay. Jim and Jerolyn are th...more
When your kids grow up will they share your values?
Parenting With a Plan
Bob: There were certain character qualities that Jerolyn Bogear and her husband, Jim, realized they wanted to teach their children. To do that, they realized they would have to be intentional.
Jerolyn: We had started raising our kids with these values, but really hadn’t labeled what they are. Well, when we really started laying down what those six core values were to our family, we even put them on the wall. And the children knew where we were; our entire family was on the same page. We all knew that this is what we stand for and this is what we’re going to follow.
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Thursday, April 28th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk today to Jim and Jerolyn Bogear about some creative ways they came up with to impress their children on the importance of biblical character.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Have you ever taken your kids on any trips that would be memory-makers, kind of a memorable – maybe it was just one of the kids, or maybe it was two or three of them. Do you have any that stand out?
Dennis: Oh, yeah. When the kids were getting just a little older and able to travel, I took three of them to Korea, to China, to Macau, on a true mission’s trip, and they got a chance to sneak Bibles into the country and . . .
Bob: Wow. How old would they have been?
Dennis: The youngest I think was10 and the oldest was about 14.
Bob: So you put contraband into the suitcase of a ten-year-old and just prayed that they wouldn’t be arrested and taken . . .
Dennis: Uh, it was probably in my suitcase, not my children’s, but it was a great trip and we talk about it all the time because those shared experiences really can build a sense of purpose and legacy in the life of a child.
Bob: You didn’t have an intentional purpose for the trip other than ministry with the kids? I mean you weren’t commemorating anything in particular?
Dennis: No, but Barbara and I talked about it. When the kids got old enough, we wanted to take them on mission’s trips so that they get a chance to see what third-world families look like, how children in other countries live. Honestly, I think every teenager, if at all possible – and you don’t have to travel half-way around the world to do this today. There are many countries that are very close to America where you can go visit.
We have a couple though, who have I think put some fresh thought on the whole concept of legacy trips, vision trips. Jim and Jerolyn Bogear join us on FamilyLife Today. Jim, Jerolyn, welcome to the broadcast.
Jerolyn: Thank you very much.
Jim: Thanks for having us. It’s a privilege and honor.
Dennis: Jerolyn is a school teacher, Jim is a pastor. Together they live in Sacramento, California, where Jim is a pastor there. They have three children and one of them is married. They have written a book called Faith Legacy: Six Values to Shape Your Child’s Journey.
Now, where did you guys come up with the idea of a legacy trip?
Jim: It really started with the example of Christ in the temple year trip, if you read Scripture, and we knew that he was taken on that journey and there was something significant there. So we began to think this idea of, for us, we wanted to create the experience to make the memory. Again, whether that’s a trip, whether that’s an outing, some of those things, but we decided that there needed to be something of a very specific tangible way to hand off the values that we’d been instilling in them.
We just felt like the rite of passage trip that had gotten really lost in at least the Anglo North American culture for us was important. So we began to talk about that, and probably some ideas from others who had taken, like yourself, their kids on a trip, their children on a trip and wanted that opportunity. We wanted a very specific, very concrete kind of a memory-making experience.
Dennis: Is there an age when you do this? Do you think about teenage years generally to start these trips?
Jim: Yes. We have said we wanted at age 14 or entering into high school was our goal; between their eighth grade and their freshman year in high school was really the target.
Jerolyn: We really found that when we were working in youth ministry that about that age, when they’re entering high school, the students would start really pulling, what I say “pulling the umbilical cord” from their parents. They were starting to really explore who they are as individuals, so we thought this is the perfect time to verbalize exactly what they’ve been raised with all their life. This is the moment to pass the baton on to them to take ownership of their own values.
Bob: You know, for years we’ve been encouraging moms and dads to take children on a Passport to Purity weekend, and you may be familiar with that.
Bob: It’s a getaway that you do, a dad and a son or a mom and a daughter, where you talk about upcoming adolescence and get them ready for that. You talk about the birds and the bees, you talk about dating and peer pressure, those kinds of things.
What you guys are talking about here is really the next step in that progression. In the midst of the adolescent years as they start to see the independence finish line – it’s still in the distance but it’s close enough that they can see it – you’re talking about taking them off to really zero in, target in on what you want to make sure is planted deep in their heart as they head toward that finish line.
Jim: Absolutely. What we have said is, “We have attempted to instill these values in you, but before you walk away from our house, whether it’s college, or on your own,” but kind of that 18-and-headed-off-to-college, “we want you to own these values.” So this was really a handing-off of the value, as you said. We wanted them to own it, just like our own faith. We need to process that, we need to own our faith. We live that out, and so the same thing with the values.
They may have heard Mom and Dad talk about it, teach them, model it, be an example for that all the way through, but we wanted to hand this off. So we wanted that, very specific, as their teenage years, as we hand them off – as many parents want – we really don’t want them to live at home the rest of their lives – we want them to be handed off, and be fully-functioning, high-quality young men and women as they move into the world.
Bob: Jerolyn, let me ask you. Did you guys have this first trip all mapped out? Did you have these are the six core values that we want to do, and here’s what the activities will look like before you set up the first adventure with your oldest child?
Jerolyn: Yes. It was figured out before she came along. We realized that we had actually been raising them with these values, but hadn’t labeled them as the six things that we were following. Jim preached a sermon in I think it was 2003, and it was on these six values. He laid it out that way.
So we took those values and we sent Lauren off with Jim. He went, because I’m a stay-at-home mom and I get my time with the kids all the time, so we chose for him to go. They chose New York City, actually Lauren chose New York City. She loves drama and music, and so they went off and they went through each day –
Bob: Whoa, whoa, whoa – This is no little down-home trip up to the campground north of town.
Jim: But it can be.
Jerolyn: It could be.
Jim: It can be, but yes, we said all along we would invest the dollars . . .
Bob: Because I’ve paid for hotel rooms in New York City and that’s some dollars right there, buddy.
Jim: You’re exactly right, but we chose to invest in that. So we often would tell the children, our kids, “You pick the location, we pick the agenda.” So we knew that’s what we were going into. But to have it finalized – some of the devotions that are in the book, some of the things, we didn’t have all that worked out.
Lauren, as our oldest, was our guinea pig. In fact, in the book she talks a little bit about that. So we had the values, but we didn’t have the thing dialed in. Just like most, I felt like by the time even our son, our second child, but specifically our youngest daughter that I just took a couple of years ago, actually last summer, we did it the best.
Bob: Yeah, you get better every time.
Jim: You hope so.
Dennis: You have six values that you talk about in the book. On a trip like the one to New York City, did you try to teach all six of those values, or pick one and just focus in on one of them?
Jim: We did one a day. We tried to be gone – if we had to add the second one in on certain trips because of the time frame and the cost for us, we shortened it, so we might do a couple of values a day, but we spent that day talking about the value throughout the day.
Specifically, the younger two, we started in the morning at breakfast and talked about the value. We went through the devotion together, and that gave us opportunity to look at different observations. So, yes, we picked one a day.
We went through all six, because we have a gift with each one, and we wanted to hand those off in that tangible way, so we talked about all six.
Dennis: So take us to New York City. You’re getting up in the morning with your daughter and you’re going to focus on this one value. What was the value and what did you do?
Bob: And what gift did you give her?
Jim: Well, we started with devotion the first day, and that is “Love God with everything you’ve got. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” The gift is a key, because we often said, “Who holds the key?” is really what we said, “and we want God to own your life, and we believe if God captures your heart, then He owns every thing of you.”
Bob: This wasn’t a car key you gave her . . .
Jim: We actually gave them a skeleton key.
Bob: Okay, I just wanted to see what she was getting on the other end of the key.
Jim: We couldn’t do that quite yet.
Dennis: You don’t give a car key to a 14-year-old.
Jim: That’s right.
Bob: So, over breakfast were you just sharing with her from the Scriptures? What were you doing?
Jim: We began to walk through a devotional. With each value, not only is there a gift, but there is a question that then, we have that right to ask at any point and any time. Let me back up and say something. Jerolyn talked about “I went on that.”
Part of the reason we chose for me was in so many families there is the absence of the father. Even if he’s in the home he’s gone, he’s not committed to that. And so I wanted to invest my time in that energy and effort into our children, and so that was the commitment because so much in our society is lost in that, so that’s part of the value – not simply that she spent so much time but I wanted as their dad to have that time to work with them and to spend time with them.
So we would go through a devotion on that. We have a biblical character for each value. Devotion is Peter, so we would talk about Peter and his life, and we would talk through the Scripture and talk about the value that he really modeled. We wanted a biblical character with each one.
Bob: And then there’s a question, you said, that you can ask at the end of this.
Bob: And what would the question be for devotion?
Jim: Who holds the key?
Bob: And she says, “God holds the key,” and then you go off to see New York, right?
Jim: Yes. We’re spending the day hanging out. We begin to talk about what that looks like. What’s your life really revealing about you? Are you living that – that you’re fully devoted to him, you’re committed to him?
Bob: With your daughter, did you have -- I mean, going into this trip was it like, “Okay, we have some things that I’m going to try to work out on this trip.” You know, as a parent sometimes it’s like you look for those opportunities to have this heart-to-heart?
Jim: We did not have hidden agendas. We were very up front, and we’ve been blessed with our children to want to love Christ and walking them through that. We trust that as we model that and live that, as we grew them up, that they were following Christ and that they were loving him. But even that, we wanted them to own their own faith, so we talked through the process of what that looked like.
But you talk about devotional – we go to integrity. And that happens to be the gift of a mirror, and we’ll simply ask, “How’s the mirror looking?” And we say, “If you and God at the end of the day look at the mirror and you are both okay with that, then it doesn’t matter what anybody says about you.” We’ve often talked about reputation and integrity and what the difference is there. So that’s those kinds of things that we do to try to instill that.
Dennis: And for a girl, the mirror is of the utmost importance, so to give her a biblical perspective of whose image she’s reflecting is really important.
Jerolyn: That’s right. We really wanted them to see that their image is of who Christ has made them to be, how they are unique. Being a person of integrity isn’t just being a truth-teller, it’s also being loyal, being honest, being a hard worker. When she looks in that mirror, she doesn’t just see blond hair and blue eyes, but she sees the person that God has made her to be.
Dennis: I have to ask you the question, because Bob was kind of alluding to this a little earlier, if you didn’t catch it. He was kind of going, “Well, you have this little key that you give them at the beginning of the day, or the story that you tell them at the beginning of the day and then it’s off to Broadway, to the deli, the famous soup kitchen, you know, and on and on and on it goes.” Were you doing activities throughout the day that reinforced each of these six values?
Jim: I did that better with each child. I don’t know that I did it well with our first one. But we did have opportunities throughout the day. When we talk about significance and we talk about relationships, and I’ve often said, “It’s all about relationships.” So looking at people, observing them, we did try to do some specific things, and that’s a good point, but I felt that we got better at that.
But there were conversations that came out of that day, whether we were walking . . . Our youngest we took to an amusement park. She wanted to do roller coasters, and some of that was really overcoming her fear. Well, what a great conversation starter to talk about the integrity of the steel that we were about to, really trust our lives with as we rode up and down life with the roller coaster, and then we talked about those. So yes, there were some intentional things with each of our children, and honestly, I think we got better at that.
Dennis: And honestly, I’m glad that you confessed that here on national radio that you initially started this with your oldest daughter, and you didn’t know exactly what you were doing. You just were kind of hammering it out as you went.
Jim: Dennis, I still don’t know what I’m doing, so we’re . . .
Dennis: That’s what I wanted to give the hope to parents here, is let them know you don’t have to have everything wired perfectly, that messages like this and a book like this comes about over a lifetime of raising three children through adolescence to adulthood. And you’re doing a better job of these legacy trips today than you did, what, ten years ago?
Jim: Yes, eight years ago.
Dennis: But the point is to get in the process and to begin to be intentional about what you’re doing with your children and pass on these biblical values to them.
Jerolyn: Well, and that’s one of the things we say about this whole book is that it’s parenting with a plan. Like I said, we had started raising our kids with these values, but really hadn’t labeled what they are. Well when we started really laying down what those six core values were to our family, we even put them on the wall, and the children knew where we were. Our entire family was on the same page. We all knew that this was what we stand for and this is what we’re going to follow.
It’s even great for using it for discipline purposes. I may be sitting talking with my daughter and her attitude is turning a little negative. I’ll say, “You know what? I need you to go get a book for me in this other room, and as you’re walking past the wall in the kitchen, I want you to look up Number Four Core Value and I want you to think about that for a minute.”
And usually by the time she gets back to me she has thought it through and she apologizes for her attitude. And it isn’t always that smooth; that sounds really smooth and easy, but we all are on the same page. In fact, they’ve called us on a few once in a while. The kids have said, “Uh, Mom, what about number two?”
Jim: I actually was defending my daughter and had a discussion with an adult that was over her, and I tried to come to her defense about something. And she said, “I don’t think you’re being a man of integrity.” “What do you mean?” And she said, “The way you answered that. Were you being completely truthful with it? Were you trying to . . .” I said, “I was trying to be my best.”
Boy, I’m the biggest mess-up in some of those things, so you’re right. We don’t have all that together in any way. We are still learning the process, even with almost being empty nesters, trying to figure that out in so, so many ways. I really appreciate that point. That is so well-spoken, that we are trying to learn.
Bob: But you know what? You were already a step ahead of where most families are. I mean, to identify six character qualities that you want to press into the life of your kids and that you want to be characteristic of your family – most families haven’t done that. And then to plan a trip where you’re going to deliver this and drive it home – Even if you come back and go, “Boy, I could have done that better,” you’re so much farther ahead than where most folks are.
Jim: That’s what we tell parents. That’s what we’re telling them all the time. Again, you don’t have to be perfect. None of us are, and we know that. But enough people asked about this that we said, “Well, let’s give them a tool, a resource, to have a purpose, to have a plan on parenting,” as Jerolyn said earlier. I think it’s so critical.
But you’re right; none of us have it mapped out. Jerolyn will often say, “You know, when we first have children, they don’t come with an instruction booklet. We’re trying to figure that out.” And so we hope this is a little bit of an instruction booklet that we’ve learned in the process and still trying to figure it out.
Bob: Jerolyn, you had to, as Jim and your daughter were away in New York City for this first trip, I’m just thinking you had to be wondering what was going on every day, and you couldn’t wait until they got back so you could hear the whole story. What kind of a report did you get from your daughter when she got home from New York?
Jerolyn: Well, first of all, she had a great time in New York City. She loved going to the shows and seeing the city, but she really appreciated the time with her dad. She appreciated having that one-on-one time and getting to talk about these values. She even says she wished she had asked more questions.
She has a chapter in the book telling about her experience, and she states that “I wish I would have given a little more with Dad and talked more.” So she sees it as very valuable and says she wants to do it with her own children.
Bob: She is now married, 22 years old, and you said she wrote a chapter in the book. Were there times in her adolescence or in her college years when she would reflect back on that trip, or when she would say, “I remember Dad and I talking about that when we went to New York City?”
Jim: Yes, she would. Whether it was the gift that she had on her shelf to remind her when she walked in, or some comment about that, or when we would walk into her bedroom she would have a picture frame and have a picture of her and I in New York, and we would just reminisce about that, and I think it, at least for us, it reminded us of the value, and she often refers to the trip.
Dennis: You know, what you’re modeling here is really what Jesus modeled in John chapter one. It says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, full of grace and truth.” He represented relationship and he represented the truth of God’s Word. In order to pass on the truth of God’s Word, what we as parents sometimes forget is that you have to have what I call “a bridge” from a parent’s heart to the child’s heart. That’s the relationship.
And if you try to pass that truth on without a bridge, it’s not going to happen.
Dennis: But the strength of the relationship, the strength of the bridge determines, for the most part, through the teenage years, how much of that truth you can risk taking from your heart to theirs. And what you did when you took her to New York City was you built a strong bridge of shared experiences, fun.
She knew Daddy was a pastor already, but now Daddy is a fun pastor, who knows how to get away to a world-class city and how to have a good time. Those kind of things really do enable us to not only have shared memories and shared experiences, but they also, when it does come time to correct a bad attitude like, Jerolyn, you were talking about, you’ve got those to go to the bank on. You can make the application in their lives a whole lot easier if that bridge from your heart to theirs is connected.
Bob: And the great thing you have done for us is to map out the strategy that you guys have been using to do this in the book that you’ve written called Faith Legacy: Six Values to Shape Your Child’s Journey, and you kind of just share from your own experience in terms of how these trips have been put together and how you have reinforced these values in other aspects of your family’s life together.
We’ve got copies of the Faith Legacy book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, and our listeners can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information, find out about the book Faith Legacy by Jim and Jerolyn Bogear. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800 “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today,” get a copy of the book, and start mapping out your plans for how you’re going to do this with your kids as they reach the right age, and how you can start preparing for that even now.
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We appreciate your support of FamilyLife Today, of this radio program. For those of you who support Hope for Orphans this week, we want to say thanks for that as well.
And we want to encourage you to be back with us tomorrow when we’re going to talk more with Jim and Jerolyn Bogear about the journey that they take their children on, the rite of passage trip that they put together to pass on a spiritual legacy to the next generation. I hope you can be here tomorrow 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.
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