Dare 6 – The Respect Dare –

Mark and Audrey were at odds on what to do. It seemed that lately there were a lot of money issues with their twenty-three year old son. Mark was of the opinion that by twenty-three, it was up to their son to be totally independent. “He’s a man, for crying out loud!” Mark bellowed. “I didn’t have my dad bailing me out every time I turned around.”

Audrey had been tempted to challenge him because she saw things differently. But she bit her lip and decided to pray about it instead.

“Lord, Justin is still in college with only one semester remaining. He sounded really down on the phone today. It is obvious that he wasn’t sure he would be able to make it through the next few days financially. It had obviously taken a lot just for him to ask. I know we’re paying for part of his college tuition, but everything else is on his dime, and he has maxed out his loans. I know that Justin is carrying a heavy load trying to graduate on time. I understand why he recently quit his 20 hour a week job because of one of the classes he needed to graduate; this leaves him with little to no spending money. It makes sense that He needs a loan. He just needs necessities to get by. Help Mark to see that, Lord, and please help us come up with a solution.”

She thought about how she had seen her aunt operate in situations similar to this. She knew what Aunt Mabel would do. She would just pretend like she was “spending extra money” at the grocery store or some other place and give the money to her son without telling his father.

022614_0211_Dare6TheRe2.jpgAudrey didn’t want to undermine her husband like that. She had seen the remnants of trust be shredded by Aunt Mabel’s willingness to “get her way” regardless of what her husband thought. She needed to come up with another way to get Mark’s attention. She also didn’t want to drive a wedge between Mark and Justin.

What was it she had learned in Daughters of Sarah? “State facts without emotion,” she remembered. “Men need short, logical communication.”

As she continued to contemplate how to best approach Mark she kept remembering a verse.

Ephesians 4:1b-2

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.

Audrey kept thinking about the relationship with both of her “men”. She needed to not only show respect for her husband, but also respectfully spur Justin on to independence as well. How could she do that without undermining either one?

The next evening, Audrey ventured into conversation with her husband. “Mark, I know that you and I are at odds on how to deal with Justin’s financial struggles right now. Would you be willing to listen to an idea that I have that might be a win-win for all of us and still recognize that Justin needs to be financially independent?”

When you and your spouse don’t agree on how to handle a particular situation, parenting can be difficult. Communicating in a way that the other understands can be crucial in reaching the best solution. And sometimes choosing to not do things like “Aunt Mabel” did, is a true act of showing kindness out of love.

Dare you to lean toward gentleness in your communication with your spouse.

“Let go…and let God,”


Be sure to join Nina and Leah as we go through The Respect Dare together!

Dare 5 – The Respect Dare – Is My Mouth in Check?

Karissa went into the guest bedroom, tears welling up within her. “Why did I even come? I love her, but I hate being around her!” she thought to herself. “Why is it that I can graduate from college with honors, go to work every day and get accolades for a job well done, be up for a promotion at the age of 24, and then come home and feel like I can’t do anything right? I’ve been here less than 15 minutes!” Dread for the coming week welled up within her. “I wish I had just stayed home.”

While Karissa was in the bedroom unpacking, her mom was busy in the kitchen in the kitchen fixing lunch. “A whole week with Karissa to myself!” she felt as light as a feather. “I get her all to myself.”

Karissa pulled herself together hoping her mom wouldn’t notice the tears. “Brace yourself!” she warned. “Just let her words go in one ear and out the other. Nothing she says can hurt me.”

As Karissa entered the kitchen her mother grabbed her and hugged her. “I’m so glad you are here! Sit, let’s eat! You need to put some meat on those bones, dear. You’ve lost too much weight!”

“Just busy I guess.”

“You’ve got your hair different. I like it, but you know I really like it shorter. You should cut about an inch off so way people will see your face better.”

“I like it this way, Mom. I get a lot of compliments on it.”

“So, Karissa, are you dating anyone yet? I know you want children someday.”

“No, Mom. No future husband in the wings. I’m sure he’ll show up when he is supposed to and I think I’ve got a few years left on my biological clock for children.”

“What about that guy, Dan, you were dating. I really liked him. You should see if he still has any interest.”

“He’s married now, Mom.”

“I knew you shouldn’t have let him get away.”

And on and on the conversation droned.

By bedtime, Karissa was ready for seclusion from her mother’s words. “Lord, I know Mom doesn’t say things with a malicious intent. It is as if she doesn’t even think about the way her words affect other people. Help me to not be so sensitive. Help me to just enjoy her.”

By day three, Karissa was having a tough time keeping it together. All she could think of was the end of the week and getting away from all the criticism and negative input from her Mother. She decided she had nothing to lose. In actuality, there wasn’t even a relationship from her perspective…so there really was nothing to lose.

“Mom,” she ventured that evening. “Can we talk about us, about our relationship?”

“Sure, honey, you sound serious.”

“Do you like having me here?”

“Of, course.”

“Do you like me for who I am?”

“You know I love you. I love you with all my heart.”

“I didn’t ask if you love me. I asked if you like me. Do you like me for who I am?”

“That’s a silly question.”

“Mom, I know you don’t mean to, but I feel like you are constantly telling me who I should be, what I should do, what I’m not doing. What I’m really saying is that I don’t think you respect me, for me…You read your Bible don’t you, Mom?”


“There’s a scripture in there that goes something like this. Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, noble, right pure, lovely, and admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

“I know that verse.”

“Could you try meditating on that when you think of me? When I’m around you, I feel like I don’t measure up. I feel like you want to “fix” me into whatever your idea is of a “perfect” daughter. In reality, I don’t think you respect the fact that I’m an adult and my own person.”

“Karissa, that isn’t the way it is at all.”

“Mom, I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m just letting you know how it feels to me. There’s another verse you might want to think about too.”

Proverbs 25:11

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

“Mom, I want to feel like you cherish me as you would gold or silver. I want to be cherished like one of your best friends now that I’m an adult. Would you tell your best friend that you thought they should cut their hair, or wear a different color lipstick, or wear different shoes, or find a husband? I doubt it. But you still feel like you can say those things to me because in your mind I haven’t grown up.”

Moving our children into the adult world in our minds is difficult. We will always have a desire to mother them.

Dare you to choose your words carefully as you cherish this new adult to adult relationship.

“Let go…and let God,”


Be sure to join Nina and Leah as they blog through The Respect Dare for wives and young mothers.

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The Respect Dare – Dare 5 – Me and My Big Mouth

Rachel skipped to the car in the driveway, excited! “Yeah, I finally have freedom!” she screeched in sheer joy knowing that she was taking her first solo drive to work.

Nancy felt uneasy as she watched Rachel throw her swim bag, sunscreen, and sun visor in the backseat. She was concerned that her daughter was over confident in her driving ability. It would be her maiden voyage, her 16 year olds’ first solo drive and it would be on the interstate all by herself in what would most likely be bumper to bumper traffic.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Keep her safe! Help me to stay calm for the next 30 minutes while Rachel is in route to work. Please, just keep her safe. Why am I so antsy, Lord? It is just so hard to let go!”

Nancy was working hard not to say all the things she really wanted to say…like “don’t go over the speed limit, make sure you lock your doors, look both ways, stay in the slow lane, be careful turning left out of the neighborhood…you know cars sometimes whip around that curve…” But she chose to remain silent with those nagging thoughts. She knew she needed to respect this rite of passage.

“Bye, Honey! Be sure to call me as soon as you get to work,” she plastered on the fake smile trying to sound confident as she let her daughter go.

“I will, Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine.”

And off she drove…

As Nancy returned to the kitchen, Sam came down and gave her a quick hug. “Are you okay? I know that you don’t think she’s ready, sweetheart. But she needs a chance to grow up. She’ll be fine.”

Ten minutes later, Nancy was standing at the sink prepping dinner while Sam was piddling in the garage. All Nancy could think about was the conversation she and Sam had last night about Rachel’s request to drive to work by herself. Sam was right. Other kids drive to work all by themselves at 16 all the time. She knew she was just being silly, so she chose not to press him further.

“I’ll take care of it, Rachel,” Sam said as he came in from the garage, obviously talking to Rachel on his cell phone. “You’re sure you are alright to drive? Just be careful. I’ll let Mom know. We’ll look at it when you get home. Call us when you get there.”

Nancy kept her feelings in check. She knew what she wanted to say to her husband. She knew Rachel wasn’t ready to drive alone yet! But she kept her tongue silent.

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

“What happened?” Nancy responded.

“Rachel took out the neighbor’s mailbox.”

“Oh, Sam, is she okay?”

“She’ll be fine. I think she is a little shaken up, but she’ll be fine. I guess maybe she wasn’t quite ready to drive by herself. It sounds like she hit a mailbox with the passenger side mirror. It flipped forward, so there was no real damage to the car, probably just a little scrape. She must have told the neighbor that she’d have me come see the damage. She said she knew she’d have to pay for the mailbox.”

“At least that’s all that happened. I’m sure it will make her be more careful on the drive to work.”

Dare you to recognize that your teens are growing up and as parents we do need to let go…even when it doesn’t feel right.

Still keeping my “feelings” in check to give my teens the respect they deserve.

“Let go…and let God,”



Dare 4 – The Respect Dare – The Vision

Now that I’m officially established in my role as a mother of 20-somethings, I’m finding myself listening more intently to other parents’ comments about interactions with their adult children. As I process what they are saying, it makes me think about how I might be coming across to my own kids.

I thought I’d share a couple of dialogues as we talk about visioning because we can learn a lot from others’ success and failure. If it works for them, it might work for us. If it “ain’t workin” for them, why try it?

Here’s one that I had to laugh about!
Obviously, names have been changed to protect those who were complaining.

“He knew I wanted the grandkids this weekend!” Kelly responded, obviously miffed.

“What happened?”

“He’s mad and won’t let me have them this weekend. He said I’m getting too possessive of his kids! Of course I’m possessive! They’re my grandchildren!”

“What triggered him saying that?”

“Oh, I got upset with him for taking the kids to see Marla’s parents on a weekend that I was supposed to have them.”

“Well, isn’t it good that the kids got to spend time with their other grandparents?”

“Yeah, but does it have to be on my weekend? Ron and Marla know that I get the kids every other weekend when I’m not working. I can’t believe that he thinks he can just decide which weekends I don’t get them!”

Hopefully, you all are laughing saying “what is she thinking”! Obviously…she isn’t.

Here’s a contrast of a different interaction.

“Tonya, I know that you know how I feel about your decision. You can’t have lived under our roof for 18 years without knowing the values that your dad and I have tried to teach you. But, you are an adult at 20. I recognize that it is your choice and not mine, but I want you to know that I think this is a decision you will later regret. Regardless of the decision you make, your father and I will still love you. I will be praying that you will change your mind because that’s my job as a mother, but again, it is your decision.”

“Mom, thanks for recognizing that it is my decision. I know this is hard for you, but I think it is the right choice for me.”

((HUGS)) happened here.

Is either scenario a reflection of you?

James 1:23-25

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a doer of the Word. I want my reflection as a parent to give freedom. I want to be blessed in what I do. I want to be mom in the second story…the best “launching” mom on the planet!

So I decided to take Nina’s Dare and apply it to me as a parent!

Remember, this is where I want to be…not where I am. I’m creating a vision for how I want to parent my 20-somethings!

I am a woman who has the strength to recognize that her “babies” are now adults. I continue to share my wisdom, but I will do it like I would to my best friend, asking permission but recognizing that some decisions are not in my control. No matter what challenging circumstances come my way, I will respectfully allow my children to make their own choices and work through their own consequences, leaving them in God’s capable hands. I have peace recognizing that each of my children is on the journey that God has for them in this stage of their life. My phone will ring often because my adult children will want to have relationship with me. They will come to me for wisdom or just to talk. They see me as a friend who knows them well. I will use this time with children out of the house, to rekindle the sparks in my relationship with my spouse. As I walk in this new phase of parenting, I will find my identity in how I am to spend my additional time by seeking God daily relying on Him for encouragement, wisdom, and happiness.

Dare you to write your own vision for this phase of life.

Double dare you to share it by posting it on my blog.

Walking the journey with you!

“Let go…and let God”,


Be sure to follow other bloggers as we go through Nina Roesner’s book The Respect Dare. You’ll find Leah blogging to wives with young kids and Nina blogging about marriage. We’re only on Dare 4, so if you are just joining us, it won’t take long to catch up. Join us on our 40 week journey!

The Respect Dare – Dare 4 – Vision

Fondly watching my children play in the fenced-in back yard when all four were under age eleven, I could already see the future (so I thought). My own desires painted a beautiful landscape in my mind, a picture void of heartache or difficulties and brimming with success.

My oldest would be a future all-star major league baseball player. After all, he was already hitting homeruns over our fence, something that even the older boys in the neighborhood had not yet mastered! When others from his little league team were bored with the “catch the fly ball” practice drills, my son would watch to see if the kids on the other side of the field had their gloves ready. If not, he’d go catch their ball. Baseball future? You bet ya!

Then there was my daughter, destined to be on stage with her radiant smile and voice of a future star. She would regularly come down the stair in some fashion she had created out of any article of clothing that she could get her hands on, dressed to her finest in my high heels, belting out a song that I was sure would melt the judges hearts with her every audition. Not only was she destined to sing, I knew she would do so in the outfit she designed!

My third was the math whiz, the meticulous Lego mastermind! No doubt this one would be an engineer. Even with his quiet demeanor (compared to his older siblings), he was unbelievably gifted in making and maintaining deep relationships. At a young age, I saw compassion in this deep thinking child. This one would be the steady rudder wherever his ship sailed.

Number four was my creative genius! Whatever Lego design my third had built following each direction piece by piece, this one took it apart to fashion into his own creation. Destined to be an inventor of things not yet thought of, the imagination and forethought he put into his design were unbelievable! Quietly singing while he did his handiwork, I could see he was paying close attention to his older siblings, determined to do whatever they did. No matter what this one decided to do, he’d succeed as long as he could use his own creativity!

Yes, I had a vision for my kids…A passion for helping steer them toward who God had obviously designed each of them to be.

But what about my own vision…for myself…as a parent?

I love how Nina Roesner talks about visioning for ourselves in The Respect Dare, “If you are married, one of the purposes for your life is to become holy within the context of marriage, shining His light to the world.”

The same is true for parenting!!

I don’t know about you, but I spent so much time pouring into my kids with a vision that I thought they would aspire to, that I forgot that I need to grow as well! It wasn’t until my children became tweens and teens, that I began to realize that my vision for them was a lie created by the enemy!

Psalm 139:15-16

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed…

Only my kids can create their own vision. They need to want to paint the beautiful landscape. They have to choose to become whatever their vision is. I don’t have a major league baseball player, nor will I likely have a high profile recording artist. By high school, my one son knew he wanted to be an engineer…it was his dream, his goal, and my youngest was pouring his creative talents into music. But it is their vision, breathed in them by God.

What about you? What is your vision of the parent you would like to be in four to six months? What changes would you like to see?

Just like our vision for our kids sometimes begins to deflate as they become tweens and teens, our parenting dreams start to shake and falter as these soon to be adults start pushing our buttons and fighting for their independence. We see behaviors in ourselves that we either justify or shudder to think that we are even capable of such things. Sometimes our responses need a new perspective.

Do you need to soften your voice?

Do you need to let go of minor issues?

Do you need to loosen the boundaries?

Do you need to respect that your child is now a teen and becoming more independent?

These are only a few areas that I began thinking about as I started creating my own parenting vision. Will you join me in setting a positive vision for who you would like to be as a parent?

“Let go…and let God.”


For more ideas on respect in marriage and parenting, check out Leah’s and Nina’s blog or follow us on Facebook/The Respect Dare.

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Dare 3 – The Respect Dare – Personal Assessment

Tanya sat on the stool at Leanne’s kitchen island sipping her steaming tea. She loved these opportunities talking to her friend as the sun was shining through the entry. They were talking about their grown children, laughing at their new “freedom” with kids out of the house.

Leanne’s cell phone vibrated on the counter. “Excuse me just a minute, I need to take this,” Leanne muttered. “It’s Jenny. I’ll let her know that I’ll call her back.”

As Tanya listened to the short conversation, she let her mind wander. “Why don’t my kids call me like that?” she thought.

As Leanne hung up with her daughter, Tanya asked. “Do your kids call you every day?”

“Well, not all of them,” she laughed. “Depends on which one it is. With four kids that are twenty-something, they lead pretty busy lives. Jenny usually calls daily through the week on her way home from work, Darcie usually calls every two or three days unless she is struggling with something, then I may hear from her two or three times a day! Marty usually calls every day or so, and then Mitch typically calls at least every week or two.”

“Wow, that’s hard to fathom. My kids rarely call. I feel so disconnected from their lives.”

“You sound a little disappointed,” Leanne ventured.

“Yeah, I really am, I guess. For some reason, family doesn’t seem that important to my kids. It seems that the only time we talk is if I initiate the conversation.”

“I take it you’d like to be more connected to their lives?”

“Of course! I just don’t know what we did wrong.”

“Can I offer a suggestion?” asked Leanne. With a nod from Tanya, she began, “Don’t focus on what you may have done wrong. No one will win with that logic. Why not try to think about steps you could take to build the relationship? It might not become exactly what you want it to be, but it could become a lot better.”

“But, how? I don’t think I would even know where to start!”

“Why not start with taking them out to lunch? Share with them what you are feeling. Tell them what you are hoping for the relationship to be. Find out what they are looking for in your relationship at this point in their lives. Ask how you can be there for them, and then reciprocate, letting them know what would help you feel engaged.”

“You make it sound so easy. It’s obviously working for you.”

“I’ll let you in on a secret. When each of my kids were making their big move out of the house, I took them out to lunch and told them how excited I was that they were heading out to their new adventure. I assured them that I was their number 1 fan and would always be here for them. I also told them that I wouldn’t be calling them regularly to ask lots of questions. I wanted them to feel independent. But, I also told them how much I loved them and that I hoped they would call me regularly so that I could know what is going on in their world. I told them I wanted to be their friend and hoped they wanted the same from me.”

“Wow. Wish I had done that. You seem to have real friendship going with your kids.”

“Tanya, it is not too late for you. Pray and engage with them…not as a mother, but as a friend. God will do the rest.”

Philippians 1:6

…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

As parents, most of us long for relationship with our adult kids, especially our single twenty-somethings. Sometimes that means taking a personal inventory of who we are and how we attempt to connect with them. Too often, parents continue to “parent” their older kids, expecting them to still “obey”. When their adult children resist, feelings are hurt and relationships are stilted. Why not use this opportunity as we go through The Respect Dare together to assess where you might need to make changes in order to see your relationship with your children grow?

Here are a few questions to get you started. I hope you’ll pick two or three to focus on while we’re on this journey together.

  • Do I choose to live my life for God more than I am concerned about what other people think?
  • Do I let my twenty-something know (appropriately) what I am struggling with?
  • Does my twenty-something confide in me?
  • Do I know how to give advice to my twenty-something such that they hear it and often take it?
  • Am I still trying to control my twenty-something’s behavior and get them to do what I want them to do?
  • Do I make demands of my twenty-something and feel disappointed or angry when they don’t respond?
  • Do I communicate with my twenty-something so that they want to have relationship with me?

Moving into adult/adult relationship with our kids is tough. We are expected to give up control…and I’ll admit, sometimes that is a hard thing to do…especially at times when we might be footing the bill.

My hope for you is that above all things…Think relationship!

“Let go…and let God,”


P.S. Hoping that you join Nina and Leah as we blog our way through The Respect Dare.