For the love of Parenting: Episode 03

Jen’s Parents Tell It All: Real-Time Parenting with Larry & Jana King - Part 1 & 2

This episode is an important chapter in For the Love Podcast history, because we have the most exceptional parenting experts on the show: Jen’s own parents! Jana and Larry King have been married for forty-seven years and had four children, and they’ve seen a few things!  Jana, a retired teacher and school administrator, and Larry, a retired minister, take listener questions, and dish out the true scoop on Jen, her siblings and real life parenting. Toddler years, teen years, sibling rivalry, rebellion,  and being the child of adult parents—we cover it all. When you only have the strength to “shoot up prayers like little arrows” for your kids (as Jana did), they understand. Trying to navigate your relationship with your adult kids (and vice versa?) Jen’s dad says it best: “You never stop being a parent, no matter how old your kids get, where they happen to be, or what they're going through.” This extra-special episode is extra long (in fact, it's in two parts), so add some chores to your list or a couple extra miles to your run, and stay ‘til the end for the most fun and enlightening parenting conversation you’ll have this week!

Transcript from the show

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people, every week, on this podcast. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy the show.
 
PART 1:
Jen:  Jen: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast. I'm Jen Hatmaker, your delighted host of the show. As you know, we've just kicked off a new series called, "For the Love of Parenting," which I'm so thrilled about because we have sincerely such a wonderful lineup of guests for you. People that are all over the map from experts in the field, if you will, to those who've just been in the weeds with experience for all these years, and so grandkids, young adults, bonus kids. We're covering the whole spectrum. We are going to make sure we hit on everything.

But today is a really special day for me, because today I have on the best guests to speak into parenting that I could possibly imagine: my mom and dad. Larry and Jana in the house—literally, in the house. They're at my house right now. I set up my mom in one room and my dad in the other, and I had to get them on all the links and do all the things, because oh my gosh, you guys.

My dad—you'll find this funny—my mom told me this morning, as they were coming over to my house so that I could help them know how to do this that my dad told her, "I'm going to to wear a nice clean sport shirt, but I'm just going to wear with these nice older shorts, because nobody on the podcast will be able to see my shorts."

I'm like, "Dad, nobody on the podcast will be able to see anything that you're wearing."

Guys, my dad doesn't even know what a podcast is. He's definitely never even listened to mine, and so I do want to put up a picture on the transcript of my dad so at least somebody can see the nice clean shirt he wore, in case you develop X-ray vision and can see through your podcast app into my actual house.
And so let me tell you a little bit about my parents first before we start. If you haven't read any of my books, then you might not know them, but if you have, you probably feel like you do.My parents have been married for 47 years, you guys.
My dad's Larry. He's a retired minister. He was a pastor for 35 years. He was a minister of recreation, which means he built these big family life centers onto our churches that had gyms and pools and bowling alleys and racquet ball courts. So my dad's a sports guy and used sports in ministry, so that was my entire childhood.

We moved around quite a bit with my dad's job. He went to seminary in Fort Worth. Then we lived in Little Rock, Arkansas for a few years. Then we lived way, way South in Houma, Louisiana, for four years until we finally moved back to my parents’ home.
They were both born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, and lived there for most of my middle school and high school years. And so that's my family. Around 2007, he and my mom moved here to Texas. And he was in ministry here, and my mom was a school administrator.

So speaking of my mom—my mom, Jana—she is retired two years now, but she was a teacher and school administrator. So she taught for nine years and then she went back for her graduate degree in education in 2000 so she could be an administrator.
She was an administrator up until two years ago, so she went back to school with four kids in the house. We were in high school and middle school and elementary at the time, so I just still marvel at that, actually.
She was this prime example to me of someone bettering themselves and chasing a new dream right in the middle of still raising kids. My mom's super inspirational.

So my parents had four kids, of which I am the oldest. And then there's my sister Lindsay, three years younger than me. She is the only one who doesn't live here in Central Texas. She relocated to New York city about eight or nine years ago where she went to culinary school and is still in the kitchen. Word on the street is she's moving home by the end of the year, and we're thrilled because she's the only family member who flew the coop. Lindsay's up in New York.

And then there's my sister Cortney, who's three years younger than her, and she is amazing. And her and her husband Zack live about 45 minutes from us out in the Hill Country on a lake.

And then there's my baby brother Drew and his wife Sarah, and they live four minutes from my doorstep. And they are the ones that gave me my baby nephew, Calvin, that I talk about all the time. Dreamboat.

So this episode is super special, not just for our parenting series, and not just because my mom and dad are bringing their parental street cred to the podcast. But because fun, fun, we actually opened up the floor for you, our very best listeners, to ask your questions for my parents. If there was anything that you ever wanted to know, we put this out for you a couple of weeks ago to ask us anything and you put in some great questions. And so you'll be hearing the voices of some of the amazing listeners to the show during the podcast, and my parents are going to answer them. And I don't know what the questions are, and just, oh my gosh, so you guys are going to love this.

We talk about everything, and we howl with laughter, and at one point my dad is screaming at the dogs. It's hilarious, so this whole conversation is full of laughs and wisdom and a few really tender moments. My parents are the actual best, and this is the longest podcast I've ever recorded. This is a good one for a nice long drive, for a nice long walk, for a nice long afternoon of chores. Whatever it is you're doing, settle in, because you're not going to want to miss it, because some of the very best stuff is at the end.

Anyway, I cannot wait for you to hear from my mom and dad, currently sitting in various places in my house, and my dad in a very lovely sports shirt that he wishes you could see. So you guys help me welcome to the show my mom and dad.

Okay, I would like to welcome to the show, Mom and Dad. Hello, good morning.

Jana: Good morning.

Larry: Good morning.

Jen: Okay everybody, so my mom is Jana, like I already told you. And for the purposes of this podcast we're going to call her “Mom” for the rest of it.

Jana: That'll be interesting.

Jen: That's right. You're just going to be “Mom” on the podcast. And then “Dad” is Larry.

I am so tickled to have you on the podcast. I don't really know what you're going to say, and I've just committed it to the universe. I think it'll be fun, so thanks for coming on today, you guys.

Jana: Well, we're thrilled to be here. Just as an aside, my understanding is that this podcast is going to be played on your birthday in August.

Jen: I am told the same thing.

Jana: I just think that maybe we need to talk about how we felt when we were ready to have you.

Jen: Oh. I'm interested in hearing that, too. By the way, that was 44 years ago today. Does it feel weird to have a 44-year-old?

Jana: I prefer to not think about it. I prefer to tell people that I still have children in their 30s.

Jen: Well, you do, technically. You do—two of them.

Okay, let's talk about that. August 7th, 1974. What's going down in the young of marriage of young Jana and Larry King?

Jana: Larry, you want to take this first?

Larry: Oh, you go ahead and take the lead. I'll just clean up the act later.
Jen: Mom, you know Dad doesn't really remember. This isn't his. He doesn't categorize these in a sentimental category. This is your genre.

Jana: We, of course, have waited for nine months. We don't know if we're having a boy or a girl, because hello, that was before anybody had sonograms or any such things. And the nurse would tell me about what your heartbeat was, and probably this was a girl, but they didn't really know for sure because they said things happen.

So we are heading into the hospital in the late afternoon, I think, if I remember right.

Jen: You've been in labor for how long? For a while?

Jana: Yes, but not bad. It was early stages labor because I didn't know what I was doing.

Jen: Well, and you know you can't count on Dad to get you through it. Listeners, you should know that my dad is very, very good at many, many things. But anything related to bodies or medical procedures is not his zip code, so the story shall unfold as it does.

Jana: So, once hard labor really starts and they're ready to move me, that was at a time that dads were not invited into delivery rooms.

Jen: Oh yeah, that's true.

Jana: They wheeled me out and left Larry sitting there, so I have no idea what was going on with him.

Larry: Actually, I felt sort of relieved, because I didn't want to go in. Now, I'm a farm boy and have birthed a lot of calves, but this was a little bit different. So that suited me that her doc in charge was old-school and thought the place for the husband was in the waiting room smoking a cigar, which I did.

Jen: Let me just put this little caveat in here. My dad is telling the truth. That was the correct place for him, because by the time my brother Drew was born, the baby of the family ten years later, dads were invited back into the delivery room, and my dad passed out cold. So really, you had no place in the delivery room. You were on your own, Mom, with just the doctors and the nurses.
Jana: I was, and what did I know?

Jen: That's crazy. That's hardcore.

Jana: I thought that was what everybody did.

So I have this beautiful little squirmy girl. And when they're ready they wheel me back to my room where your dad is sitting, and he picks her up for the first time. That would be you. He picks you up for the first time, and he says, "I could not be happier than to have a girl." Kingo?

Jen: That's cute. I'm a little bit choked up.
Larry: Now, what I really said was, I was holding you and the first thing I said was, "Wouldn't it be great to have about 12 more of these?"

Jen: You did?

Larry: Yes. My timing wasn't great on that. Your mom wasn't quite up to par then, and then I said, "I've got a pitcher for the softball team."

Jen: That is a fact. I know that you are telling the truth. My dad is a longtime softball aficionado and put us all into ball the second we could throw one. And in fact my very first Halloween costume . . . what was I, two?

Jana: Yeah.

Jen: I think when I was two, was a ball uniform with a hat I'm guessing you made, Mom, which said DLP. Which of course stood for . . .
Jana: “Daddy's little pitcher.”

Jen: Daddy's little pitcher. Yeah, exactly, so you were telling the truth on the day of my birth. That is very sweet.

Larry: That is true, and that was my uniform I played Cub Scout ball in.

Jen: It was?

Larry: Yes.

Jen: I didn't know that.

Larry: Yes.

Jen: Mom, do you know where that picture is? Let's dig it up and put it on the podcast.
Womp. Womp. We couldn't find my DLP costumer photo anywhere so here's a pic of me as a witch instead.
Jana: Oh, you're so cute. Do I know where it is? Oh, my gosh.

Jen: It's in a bread sack somewhere in the attic. You know where it is.

Jana: I'll see if we can find it.
Jen: Okay, so listen, let's get into this. A few years ago, you may remember that I did an interview on The TODAY Show when I was launching For the Love. I was on this panel with a couple of other women, and they were both brand-new moms, just fresh, like shiny new pennies. And I was this veteran "already been there done it" mom to speak a little bit of, I guess, wisdom into their lives and give them hope.

Anyhow, looking back on that, on that interview and sitting there with those young moms and the babies and the toddlers got me thinking: What is something that you wish someone had told you before you had kids, like, way before any of us were on the scene, to prepare you for life with us as your children? If you could go back and talk to your own self when you were 23 and 27 about to have a baby, about to start a family, what advice would you have given yourself?

Jana: Well, I'd like to say that someone said it would be okay to just relax, but they didn't have to because we were pretty relaxed.

Jen: Totally, Mom. You did not need that advice.

Jana: But I think that if someone would have said that things we did and how we responded to all of you in different ways would shape who you became later, that was in the back of your mind. But all you're doing is changing diapers and shoveling food into somebody's mouth, so you really didn't think about it so much. We just did it. We didn't really have the internet to tell us what we should be doing. We just did it.

Jen: Totally.

Jana: So, since we didn't have the internet to help us with questions, what we had was best friends that had babies and we called them. Or I'd call Mom, and I'd call Faye, which is Larry's mom. And I just asked questions, because that's what I had to do. But actually we just winged it.

Jen: I know. I actually am jealous of it. I'm jealous of the laid-back nature that parenting was in the 70s.

There's no perfect era. I don't want to romanticize it, but it's all so terribly precious now. And everything feels so life-or-death, and if the kids aren't having the most idealistic childhood, we're worried that they're all doomed. And I frequently think about you and your friends, who were essentially like second moms to me, and just how you did it. You just raised us. I don't know. It wasn't all just so fragile, and it's great for me to look now and see, "Oh, it all just stuck." You did what mattered, and here we all are.
What about you, Dad? Do you have anything you would have liked to have been told? You were super laid-back dad.

Larry: I was, and I don't know that impacted me like it did maybe your mom. I never made the phone calls to my mom or Jana's mom. I figured we'd just get by.

About the only advice I remember getting is “don't wait until you can afford kids or you'll never have any grandkids.” So beyond that, I just never got too worked up or excited. And like Mom said we just winged it. You just do the best. You get in there and get involved and do the best for the moment, and you get on with life.

Jen: It's true. You did it and you did it well.

I wonder, now that I've cycled through almost all the phases of parenting—I've launched one, obviously launching the second one in a month—what age of parenting did you guys enjoy the most? I'm curious if you liked us when we were babies and toddlers, before we could talk, because that must be a real fond memory for you. Or the little years when we were cute and funny. Or the teen years when we were just a mess or adult years, like adult parenting? I don't know.

If you had to pick—and I realize that there's charming moments and parts of every phase of parenting—but if you had to say, "This was my favorite phase of parenting," what would you have said, Mom?
Jana: There was two.

When you were in your toddler to six years old, that was fun because each one of you was experimenting and exploring and finding out so much stuff. And it was fun to watch you discover things.

But to be real honest, my favorite times were towards the end of high school and early college when you became adults and we could have actually conversations and you didn't think I was ridiculous in whatever I said. All four of you were so much fun. Also, always a concern during that time too because you were also launching and figuring out things on your own, which was scary.

But I think those young between toddler and second grade [years], and then probably from your junior year in high school on. I've found those to be my most enjoyable years.

Jen: What about you, Dad?
Larry: We were a fun family. We did a lot of things together. Most things we did together as family. We could clear out a space in a restaurant around us in a hurry.

I'm thinking my favorite times were when each of you all began to participate in activities, primarily team sports. You know I was sort of a Jack of all trades and master of none, so made sure you all had good skills in whatever sport you were going to play in. And I enjoyed that time as I saw you begin to develop and not just on a ball field, but also intellectually in your studies as you grew. Some of you were better at the books than others, and some were better on the ball field than others.

But I think probably middle school and high school were my favorite times. I saw you developing so much faster and quicker, and the process seemed to accelerate then as you got beyond the cutesy days—and you were still cutesy in your dad's eyes. I believe that was one of my favorite times because we began to lose a little bit of that parental influence, I believe, as you got old enough and then left high school and went away to college, you were out of the home. And so that would be my pick, Jennifer.
4 of my 5 kids last Halloween : Really Cute Nerd,
Kim Possible, Steve Harvey and Queen of Sheba
Jen: I would probably say the same thing.

I wonder about my own experience as a parent, and I've said a lot of times that I absolutely love the big-kid years. That is my preference. I like them in their teenage years. I think it's so much fun. The house is the most fun I can ever remember. It's my favorite phase of parenting thus far, and I wonder if I don't feel that way because both of you liked the teen years and we knew it.
A kid knows if their parent is into them or not. And we knew for sure that you liked us when we were teenagers and thought we were funny and interesting and smart. So we felt your delight in us, and so it never even dawned on me that having teenagers would be some terrible thing or something to dread or be worried about or fear, because those are some of our very best years even though we were a mess.

Let's be serious. You guys put up with some crap, so it's not like were just great. Drew drove your Jeep into a river with a cooler of beer in the back seat.

Jana: There were moments. There were moments with all of you that we would go, "Oh, my gosh. Let's just bury them and pull them out when they're 26."

Larry: Well, particularly when the Jeep got stuck in the bottom of the river and the water came up into the floorboards of the car, Drew and I were hiding in the weeds over there to get it, watching the sheriff's patrolmen until they left as they walked around the car and got their boots and pants all wet. And someone had shot the hole out of the back of the window with a .22—yes, yes, fond memories. And of course, you in the Gray Ghost when you snuck it out and then smashed in the back of my pickup with it when you snuck it back to the house.
The infamous "Gray Ghost".  We once walked outside and The Ghost was just sitting there, spontaneously on fire.
Jen: I wasn't an experienced driver at 13, as it turns out. Yes.

Jana: Well, and apparently all of you enjoyed driving our cars before you actually had driver's licenses.
 
Jen: Well, you know what, we were just seeing how it felt. It was just a dry run. You guys were asleep, so it was no skin off your nose, and just wanted to see what our natural skill set was. As it turns out, it wasn't great. It wasn't super high for any of us, but let's not let our listeners think, "Oh, well, the Kings loved having teenagers because all of their teenagers were so good." That is a fundamental lie.
Jana: If they'd like to, they can come and personally message me and I'd be happy to give them some more clues as to what life was like with you all.

Jen: Oh, we had such a wild family.
Okay, so I told everybody at the top of the show that for this special episode, we asked our listeners to submit their questions to us via a voicemail. So they recorded their own voices, which we're about to hear. They absolutely didn't hold back, and I have not seen these questions in advance, and so I don't know what they're going to be, but they are questions for you guys.

So this first one is from a listener named, shocking, Jen. Here it is.
Jen from Green Bay, WI: Hey there, this is Jen from Green Bay, Wisconsin. A different Jen, obviously, although my parents were clearly just as creative in naming me as you guys were, so congrats on that.

My question is, what kind of trouble did Jen get into as a kid? And were there any times when she really did something wrong and got grounded?

Jana: Well, there was a few times that stand out for Jen, in particular.

We were living in Houma, Louisiana, and Larry and I were gone somewhere. I'm not sure where, because we usually didn't leave you all on your own for fear of great damage to our home. But you talked Lindsay into giving you her money from whatever she had saved, which could not have been much. But Lindsay would have done anything that you asked her to do, so she gave you her money and you walked down to the QuikTrip, which was not too far from our house, and bought some trinket of some kind.

Jen: I remember. I think it was a stuffed animal.

Jana: I think you were right. When we got home, you had a new stuffed animal. And I said, "Where'd you get that?"

"Well, Lindsay gave me all of her money and I just bought it."

And I went, "How did Lindsay give you all of her money?"

"Well, I don't know. She just did."

Jen: Oh, well, it's a mystery.

Jana: So, after interrogating Lindsay, it was fairly obvious that you talked her into giving you all of her money.

Jen: You don't know that she didn't want to give it to me. You can't prove that. She maybe just felt generous anyway.

Jana: She maybe did. So, for your punishment—and I think you've written about this in the book of course—but I decided that the best thing for you to do was to write "It is always best to tell the truth" 500 times.

Jen: It was the worst day of my life.

Jana: No, not day. It took you four days to write it, because you whined and complained every single second, and you didn't get to do anything—no going out to play, no reading, no nothing—until you finished those sentences. It was torture for you.

Jen: It was torture, and I did the trick too even where on the paper you write “it, it, it” all the way down, and then “is, is, is.” But you know what? That was cruel and unusual, Mom, and I can't be expected to sit there and write 500 sentences, so I drug that out.

Jana: Apparently. Yes, you did.
Larry, do you remember some of the other kids and what they did?

Jen: How long do we have?

Larry: The question pertained to Jennifer, and so I forgot to tell her the secret in writing those sentences.

I never saw a recess when I was in sixth grade because I was always in trouble and when had to write, but we could only do it during recess. So I don't know what one was like in my six grade years, but we would take an eraser and stick little stubby pencils in between those creases and space them where they would cover a line on your notebook paper. And I'm sure she realized when all of those letters for about four lines were identical in their stroke . . .

Jen: Wait a minute, Dad. You're saying you would piece together four different pencils and write all the same word at once?

Larry: Yes, and you could cover four lines at once. You have to get creative when you spend a whole entire year at your desk during recess time.

Mentioning the driving of the Gray Ghost, our beloved station wagon, who were you with? Do you remember?

Jen: When I took it out?

Larry: Yes.

Jen: Nicky.

Larry: Nicky. That doesn't surprise me.

Jen: No, it shouldn't.
Larry: Well, I don't know where you went, but I didn't discover that for some time. But I was out in the front yard and noticed a burn track on the yard and I said, "Some fool has got up and farmed the yard." And I realized after I had parked the Ghost behind my pickup one time, I went out to get in it. And I noticed there was a dent in the back of my little Ford Ranger pickup, and it aligned perfectly with the front of that station wagon behind it. I could see where you had hopped over the curb, burnt the grass, carried the mud onto the driveway, and then didn't get stopped until you banged into the back of my pickup truck. And, of course, I think your grounding for doing that was up last week.

And then I remember when we lived in Fort Worth and I was at seminary, we came home and Lindsay was the proud recipient of a haircut. And it looked like she was an old scraggly dog with mange for about two months.
My sister has still not forgiven me for this. Her hair is now straight as a pin.
Jana: If you'll remember, Larry, Lindsay was so proud, because as my little who couldn't say Rs said, "Mom, Jenniful cut my hair."

Jen: Oh no, and I still feel bad about this, because what everybody needs to know about Lindsay—and we'll dig up a picture, Mom, so we can post it—Lindsay had soft, pillowy, beautiful dark curls. Just beautiful.

Larry: They looked like bed springs.

Jen: They were so gorgeous, and I cut her to the scalp. I think, Mom, you told the story of coming in and seeing it all over your bedspread and not being able to figure out what it was. What was I, five?

Jana: Yes, that'd be about right. Oh my gosh, it was bad. But sweet Lindsay, when we took her back to preschool the next day or the next week, whenever it was, she walked in and her teacher, the beloved Miss T, said, "Lindsay! What happened?"

Lindsay grinned and was so excited. She goes, "Jenniful cut my hair!"
Jen: Oh, no. Mom, she's still mad at me. We've not made up, because her hair grew in straight. It never grew in curly again. Oh, kids are the worst. Oh, my gosh.
All right, listen. Speaking of us getting into trouble, I want to talk to about this notion of a phrase that's been coined fairly recently is “free-range parenting,” which is this idea—we sort of touched on it earlier—of just not over-managing everything, not a micromanaging parent. You're not white knuckling everything to death. You're not helicopter parenting, like my generation likes to do, and just allowing kids a little bit of room to live and to fail and to make their own decisions. I think you guys gave me and my sibs tons of space for that. There was positively not always a safety net under us at all times, and you made us pay the piper for our own bad decisions, for our own awful behaviors.

Brandon and I try to parent the same way. I have to really pull back on the controlling behavior sometimes. But I love that parenting style, and we try to do the same thing.
So I'm interested, Mom, in your take on this, because you were an educator. How many years was it, start to finish?

Jana: 25.

Jen: 25 years. Some of that was in the classroom. You worked in an alternative school.

Jana: Mm-hmm.

Jen: And then you moved into high school administration. How many years were you an administrator?

Jana: 17.

Jen: 17, so I mean you logged a lot of years with teenage children.

Jana: I did.
Jen: So you've seen a lot of prime examples in school of what kind of parenting at home was, either helping the kids learn accountability or what kind of parenting at home was absolutely enabling them to be awful. So I wonder, how you would advise parents to . . . There's a balance here, like to instill some measure of accountability in their kids, obviously. Like if they don't turn in a big assignment, if they leave something important at home on game day and have to sit out, if . . . I don't know. Can you talk about that a little bit? Like do you think parents do their kids favors by bailing them out of jams all the time? And sort of sweeping up their messes and making their failures sting less?

Jana: I think that kids need to learn their own responsibility. And I think they need to find out that there's consequences to things that they do or don't do. And so I, over the years at school, I watched a lot of both.

And just as an aside, I believe there is always a time for parents to interfere or to step in because kids are kids, and let's face it, they're some teachers that don't love your kid the way you think they should.

Jen: That's true, as you well know.

Jana: Mostly I believe both Larry and I always said, "You need to go talk to your teacher and see if you can work this out."

Jen: That's true.

Jana: And gave it back to you to see if you could come up with a compromise with your teachers. And I think that's what parents need to do mostly. I think parents need to say, "You go talk to your teacher. It's not my responsibility. You go talk to them and see if you can work out whatever it was that you did or didn't do." But, if a teacher is really . . . Well let's face it, if they're not communicating well with your child, then I think it's time to step in and say, "We need to come to a compromise here."

So there is always a time to step in and say, "We need to do some work here."

Jen: That's so true.

Jana: But that being said, I can't tell you how many parent/teacher conferences I was asked to sit in and just be like a listening ear. And it usually came from the teacher who had been struggling with a parent for what they were stepping in and trying to do for their kids.

And I will tell you the one that really stands out in my mind. It was an English teacher, and she had scathing emails from this parent. So they finally decided on a time, and she came to me and she said, "Would you just sit in on this conference with me? He really scares me."

And I said, "Okay."

So I sat in, and the girl and her dad came in. And the girl had not turned in some work and swore she had. But they had gone through every paper everywhere ,and this teacher was super organized. So I really could not see her losing something. And the dad was furious because the girl got a B, and it was the first B she had ever made. And he wanted the teacher to change the grade. And just kept saying, "Well, she's never made a B." And I was like, Well, she has now.

Jen: Right, oh gosh.

Jana: And I thought, This little girl is going to go through her entire high school career and think that her dad can come in and take care of anything that she failed to do. She's gonna leave high school and not know that failure is part of life and you gotta figure out how to do something.

So helicopter parenting was always a subject of great laughter among the administrators.

Jen: Oh I'm sure.

Jana: But I just think that you need to step back and let kids fail or let kids manage their own education as far as they are able to. And I think that puts them in really great stead for becoming responsible adults.

Jen: I do too. And I don't know why it's so hard for us to do that.
I think a lot of parents are a little bit more like Dad. Dad didn't love to see us struggle. Dad had some choice words for a lot of our teachers. And coaches. And arresting officers. And, you know, whoever was against us. But it's hard, it's hard.

Remy called me just a couple of months ago, toward the end of the school year, and just chronically had a hard time keeping up with her ID, which as you know you have to have at all times. And she called us from school. Some teacher let her call me from her classroom phone and say, "I left my ID at home again," and this had to have been the eighth time. "Can you bring it to me because if I don't have it, I'm gonna have to have lunch detention."

And I was like, "That's hard isn't it? That lunch detention's gonna be a real bummer. And I get that you don't wanna have it, and I'll be thinking of you during your lunch detention."

And she was just shocked that I was not gonna get in my car and stop my work day and drive her her ID. But I'll tell you, that's the last time she forgot it. And so I just think there is something good about letting them have a sting.

I don't know, Dad. You kind of maybe have a tiny bit of a different approach. You're our defender. To this very damn day, you still wanna defend me, and I'm 44 years old. You're not great at sitting these battles out.

Larry: That's true. I've gone down several times to set them straight.

Jen: Yes.

Larry: Even when you were in college. I couldn't quite make the trip in person, but I did by phone. My voice and number were well known.

Jen: I remember.

Larry: But we let you all make your decisions but accept the responsibility and the consequences.

Jen: You did.

Larry: Now, anytime we felt you didn't get a fair shake, we would step in. But we didn't always just jump and always have the safety net there. That short changes the learning experience.

Jen: Yeah. Yeah, you're right.

Larry: And it short changes that and you think, Well, parents or someone else or who you know can make a call and then pull your bacon out of the fire, so to speak. We would miss the learning opportunity when we did that. But anytime we felt it needed parental mitigation, we were Johnny-on-the-spot and that happened several times. You can remember the incident in high school where your teacher was unreasonable.

Jen: I remember.

Larry: And we went down there and that proved to be the case in our meeting with the teacher and the principal and he got put on a some sort of a . . . what's it called?

Jen: Not probation, but kind of like a . . . yeah, I remember.

And that's to Mom's point: there are moments when parents need to step in. So I think that discernment process of deciding, Is this my kid's fault? Did my kid just blow it and they need to pay the piper? Or is this a moment where an adult needs to step in and intervene? And I think you guys were great at that. I honestly do.
I think about you a lot as I am now in the launching-college-kid phase. And I give you both a lot of credit because in the case of two of the kids, with Cortney and Drew, both of them started college, realized it just . . . In the case of Drew, just not for him. That's not the way he's wired. That's not his gift. It's just not what he loved. And in the case of Cortney, she just needed a breather, and she needed to come back to college a couple years later when she was older.

Jana: Right.

Jen: And you did not freak out. Well, I don't think you freaked out. I don't remember you freaking out. They made those decisions, you stood by it, and they were the right decision in both cases.

Jana: Right.

Jen: Even for something monumental like college attendance. You were really . . . You let both of them sort of take the lead there, and their instincts proved out to be right. I don't know, was that harder than it seemed? Watching you, I just remember thinking, "Golly, my parents just are real chill about this."

Jana: I think it was harder probably on me than on Dad because I'm an educator.

Jen: That's true.

Jana: And I just always thought, "Well, my kids will all go to college." But, when, like for Cortney, at the end of her freshman year when she had earned a total of three credits and a D, and she said, "Mom, I just think I need to lay out for a while," I was more than happy to say, "You are right."

Jen: That's true.

Jana: "Let's just take a break."

Jen: That's true.
Remember the darling dining room table my brother, Drew, made for us when we were on My Big Family Renovation? It is still one of my favorite things in the house!
Jana: And with Drew, it was an entirely different set of circumstances. But I also found that Drew was always good with his hands and he loved being in the shops. And that's where he spent the majority of his high school career was in the art rooms and in the carpentry room and all of that.
Jen: Wood shop.

Jana: Wood shop, he loved that. And so it felt like, You know what? College is probably not going to be something that's going to be vital for him.

Jen: Right.

Jana: And he has since said he was aggravated at me or Dad and I, because we didn't force him to go back. And I said, "That was your choice. I'm not sure it was a bad choice."

So those are things when they first happen you go, "Oh, my gosh. People are gonna look at me and say, ‘Your kids didn't finish college.’" And then I thought, But it's not about me. It's really about my kid's choice.

Jen: That's good.

Jana: So a lot of times Dad and I would just step back and go, "You know, you make your decisions, and we'll support you. We'll help you with whatever decision you decide to make."
Jen: That's exactly it, Mom. I mean, when I feel myself micromanaging something they have either done, or they're deciding, or I wanna at least control the narrative of it, it is always because I am worried about how it is gonna reflect on us as parents. I mean, that's just the truth. And it's a weird time because aren't you so happy none of us had social media when we were teenagers and college students? Can you even imagine? Our kids have it. And so you know, we know now, and you know this too, that employers will do a deep dive in your social media feed. They'll find out exactly who you are.

And so you know there's so many extra eyes on everybody. On the kids, on the parents. It is true that we have a disproportionate concern about what any sort of kid's path means about their parents, and that's silly. That's not true. They're kids, they're people. They're making their own choices. And I think we have a lot to learn from your generation who really just kind of let us chart our path, with guidance of course, it wasn't anarchy. And I think that was the right decision in most cases.

So let's take another listener question. Okay, so here's the next one.
Joanne from New Brunswick, Canada: “Hi, this is Joanne from New Brunswick, Canada. I have a question about Jen from when she was a little girl. Just wondering, how did she respond to discipline? Was she pretty sassy and snarky? Or was she more remorseful and broken and really sorry about something she had done?”

Jana: Larry, you field that one.

Jen: Okay.

Larry: Well, let's see. If I remember the question that you just asked, how did you respond to discipline?

Jen: Yeah.

Larry: I would say you tolerated it, but responded reasonably well most of the time.

Jen: Did I? I don't remember.

Larry: You were more receptive to that. You had more of a, I don't know if “work ethic” is the right word or not, but you always were the achiever, the striver, the one that shot for excellence and not so much with the rest of the crew.

[Dogs barking in background]

Jen: That's okay, we'll just have dogs and trains in the podcast. It's just how it . . . This is real life.

Larry: Just a . . . Hey, shut up. You dogs shut up, dadgummit. We're at an interview here.

Jen: Oh gee.

Larry: Where do we pick up?

Jen: We're gonna leave that in, Dad.

Larry: Your sister, Cortney, was walking up and they saw her and thought it was the boogerman and started barking. I put them out.

Jen: Perfect. Oh that's hilarious.

Larry: You want me start where I was?

Jen: Yeah, just wherever you were.

Larry: Regarding whether you were pretty sassy and snarky, well, yeah. I think you always felt you were right for the most part.

Jen: I still think that.

Larry: Yes, yes. And Mom and Dad were just sort of a couple of dumb chunks on the log. And then the last part were you more remorseful or broken or real sorry? I would have to say not usually.

Jen: I was just misunderstood.

Larry: Yes, you took it reasonably well. So maybe that'll get it through.

Jen: You guys know this, I . . . I wanted mostly, I wanted to do the right thing. You know that I did. I was kind of a straight arrow, and I definitely did not wanna disappoint you. My gosh, if Dad ever said to me, "Well I'm just really disappointed." Well, just put a nail in my coffin, the worst thing he could ever say.

Jana: Tears. Lots of tears.

Jen: Oh my gosh, give me the belt. The worst. So I think I wanted to please you. I wanted to get it right. I was kind of a by-the-book kid except for like stealing the car and stuff. But I think I had that . . . All of us frankly, have this in us where we're like pretty sure we're right. We don't really have any shrinking violets in our family at all, do we? Like, none of us.

Larry: No.

Jana: Not a one.
Jen: We just don't. That's not our DNA at all. And so I try to remember that when I discipline my kids, and I get like the eye roll or the constant defensiveness and they're making their case of why we're so unreasonable. And I just try to remember that kids are stupid. And we were stupid.

Jana: That's true.

Jen: And I'm not gonna like, “I'm not arguing with you, kid. Just take your licks and just move on down the road.”

So listen, it's interesting when I think about me and Lindsay and Cortney and Drew and imagine you guys probably have a lot of thoughts on how we differ from each other in personality. Because this is one thing I've learned, as a parent of five, to some degree they just are who they are. There's not a huge difference in the way that any of them are raised. You know they've got the same parents, they have more or less the same rules—put a pin in that, we'll come back to it. But kids are kinda, they're born how they are, and you know this for sure. So if you had to give like just a quick assessment, what would you say are the qualities that are sort of unique to each of your four kids? Like, Mom, I think you've been reading this, we've had a lot of conversations on the show about the Enneagram.

Jana: Mm-hmm.

Jen: Have you done the Enneagram test, Mom?

Jana: I did. Because I wanted to figure out what everybody was talking about.

Jen: Yes.

Jana: So here's the thing, as you know about me. I don't really care about research.

Jen: I know you don't.

Jana: I just kinda wanna know, but I really don't wanna delve into it.

Jen: Totally. Just enough to be able to join the conversation, right?

Jana: Correct.

Jen: And so I have self identified as a 3.

Jana: Yes.

Jen: Which as Dad mentioned early, is kind of the achiever. So that's not way off base.

Jana: Right.

Jen: Even though there's some question around what I actually am. But what would you guys say, so like if I'm a 3, which is sort of high achieving, like give me a goal, I wanna win the prizes. I mean you used to say that all you needed to do was dangle like some sort of award possibility in front of my face, and I'd climb every mountain to win it.

Jana: Exactly.

Jen: Yeah, so I think that's long established. I've been that way since I was born.

What would you say the rest of the kids are? What are about Lindsay and Cortney and Drew? And it doesn't have to be Enneagram, but how would just describe us?
I want this to be encouraging to my listeners because sometimes we're shocked by how different our very own kids are. And we think, Well, why is this kid like this? I parented this kid just like I parented this kid, and yet here we are.
And so, kids are who they are, right?

Jana: Right. I would say like Lindsay is, she's a people pleaser. She is always wanting to please whoever's whispering in her ear. Which is not mean to say that she doesn't have her own strong will, she does. But she would tend more to being the one that, I'm not gonna choose where we're gonna go eat, you all choose and I'll be happy with it. She's that girl.

Larry, what do you think about Linds?

Larry: Well, I was thinking at least when she was younger, and all of the kids changed as they grew and matured.

Jana: Of course.

Jen: That's true.

Larry: But, when Lindsay was say in elementary school, I would put her . . . Jennifer was always the achiever throughout. Lindsay was sort of what you'd call laissez-faire.

Jen: That's fair.

Larry: When I used to pick her up from school in Little Rock, I'd say, "Well how'd it go, Linds?" And she said, "Well, Dad, it was another day in the behavior room." And so that's sort of the way that I would categorize Lindsay. And I don't know that that changed all that much.

Jen: Mm-hmm. She's always been a fun-time girl.

Jana: Correct. And you remember Lindsay coming in when she was in kindergarten, and we were standing in the kitchen, we were in Little Rock and she says, "Mom, I have a question."

I said, "What's that?"

She went, "So does everybody have to go to college?"

Jen: That's right. She's five. Oh my gosh.

Jana: She's five. Like, "Honey, we'll decide that when you get there."

Jen: One of my favorite stories about Lindsay that fits the narrative is when she came home in elementary school, one of the grades, and it was like the Iowa Standard, what do you wanna call it? You know like the standard—

Jana: Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Jen: Yeah, the ITBS. So just you know the state standardized test. And it was that Scantron, where you have to fill it in. And she comes home and tells everybody, "Well, I got about half way through it. It was really boring. So I just filled out all the rest A's." Remember? Something like that.

Jana: Yeah.

Jen: She just filled it . . . Or she made up a design, that's what it was, wasn't it?

Jana: Whatever she did, and she said, "I just got tired of filling in those bubbles."

Larry: That's what she said. That's exactly what she said.

Jana: Yes.

Jen: Classic. Classic example. What about Cortney?
Jana: Cortney was the individual. She did not wanna do anything that you or Lindsay had done. So of course, Dad had her playing softball. But by the time she got to high school, she was like, "I don't wanna play softball. I don't wanna do what Jen and Lindsay did." So she ran track. And she has always been kind of the, I'm just going to do what I wanna do and we'll make it fit into whatever else.

Jen: True.

Jana: So she's been really the far more independent, behavior wise. Don't you think, Larry?

Larry: I agree with that. She really would do whatever you and Lindsay were not doing.

Jen: Yeah. Yeah. And it's interesting too, because, as individualistic as she probably was in the younger years, as it turns out, she's our most loyal sister.

Jana: Absolutely.

Jen: You know like she's become the most loyal person that you could absolutely count on. And if anything used to sort of pull her away from the path we were on back then, it's the opposite now.

Jana: Mm-hmm.

Larry: Yes.

Jen: Like she's . . . Cortney's the one we can all kind of count on at this point.

Jana: Correct.
Jen: And then we have the baby, Drew.

Jana: Oh my gosh.

Jen: And so, you know we need to just have a whole podcast dedicated to his situation.

Jana: Well, yes. Because he was a whale of an athlete. Whatever he decided to play, he did well. And he was easy to coach, he listened, and he excelled at whatever sport he was in. He loved it, which of course made Dad thrilled.

Jen: Of course it did.

Jana: But his attitude towards school was much like Lindsay's. It's like, "If I can slide by, I just will."

Jen: Totally.

Jana: "You know, I got a C, I'm good. I'm fine."

Jen: Right.

Jana: And our great joy for Drew when he, when we finally sent out graduation announcements two days before graduation, when we finally knew he was graduating—

Jen: Oh my gosh. Mess.

Jana: His whole second semester in high school in his senior year, we kept going, "Just remember D stands for diploma. Just get a D." We didn't care.

Jen: Mom. Oh my gosh, I can't even. Golly.

Larry: I think Mom might have that wrong on sending out the announcements. I believe we waited until he walked across the stage and had it in his hand and then we dropped them in the mailbox.

Jen: Yes. It was a real question mark until that day.

Jana: It was a question. Yes. Yes.

Jen: Well speaking of, I'm gonna go ahead and let you hear the next question because this is hilarious. So I'm just gonna play it and then we shall discuss.
Cortney, Jen’s sister: Okay. Hi, Daddy and Momma. This is Cortney, daughter number three, calling from Spicewood, Texas. I was just wondering: when did you decide to stop being parents? You see, all of us girls had curfews and rules and all sorts of stuff when we were growing up, and it turns out that boys have no such thing. So when did you just decide to give up? Thank you. Love you. Goodbye.

Jen: Don't even try to deny this. Don't even try. For Pete's sake. For crying out loud.
Jana: Well, he was the only boy.

Jen: Oh, Lord.

Jana: He was the only boy on either side of our family. My brother has two girls. Larry's brother has two girls.

Jen: I know.

Jana: So finally there at the end of all these girls, there's this boy. It was like, Well, not only is he a boy, but he's the last one.

Jen: Oh my gosh. That's true.

Jana: It was like, He'll grow up. We'll keep an eye on him, sorta.

Jen: I remember coming home one time, and I'm like a grown, adult person with children, because Drew and I are 10 years apart. And he's in high school. And we were visiting you for some reason I can't remember. And it's late, it's 12:00 or 12:30 at night. Drew's, I think, a sophomore. He's like a 15-year-old kid, maybe 14. He's not home.

 
I'm like, "Where is Drew?"

And both of you just kind of shrugged. “I don't really know.”

I'm like, "Well is he coming home? It's a weeknight!" I was unclear on the details of his whereabouts.

And you guys just went to bed. Like, you went to bed. I think he came home at 2:30 in the morning. I'm like, my jaw is on the ground because I had an 11:30 curfew, even in college.

I can't handle this. I can't handle this. The parents that I had are not the parents that Drew had, and he just got to live his life. And I think what you told me, Mom, is like you know what it's just . . . I'm like, you just went to bed.

And you said, "Yeah, we were just tired."
Jana: Larry, you wanna field that?

Larry: If I might interject here.

Jen: Sure.

Larry: We certainly felt and recognized you all were gifts from God. But we were tired. And I usually was up because I got a phone call from, you know, usually someone in a position of authority saying that, “I guess you were expecting this phone call.”

Jen: Authority, sure.

Larry: And I said, "No. It's 2:30 in the morning. I was asleep."

"Well, we have your son down here and his friend." And they went joyriding one night in the Jeep.

Jen: Totally.

Jana: But he was only 13 when he did it. Maybe 12.

Jen: Oh that's right, I forgot that detail.

Larry: That's true.

Jana: He was just a baby.

Larry: And he wasn't malicious. He wasn't in . . . Was just sort of “ornery” trouble. And it was half what I got into when I was that age.

Jen: That's true.

Larry: And so, I was sort of thankful that he was as good as he was.

Jen: What a mess. Oh gosh. Listen, he had a fun teenage life, I'll tell ya that right now.

Jana: He did. He did.

Jen: And he's a good boy.

Jana: We were a little amazed at how wonderful he came out. And that he came out without having been in prison for an extended period of time.

Jen: Oh that's true.
Jana: And one of the things he said the other day, I was asking him about parenting, since we knew we were coming on. And he said, and he's right, one of the things that Dad and I really emphasized all the time with all four of you was you don't have to be friends with everybody. You cannot be friends with everybody. But you have to be friendly. And you have to be nice and kind. And all four of you believed us. And you each were so well-loved at your school with all the kids because you were kind and you stood up for those that weren't the most popular.

Jen: That's true. And that goes a long way. That's some of the stuff that sticks. So all the shenanigans, they recede because nobody stays a teenager forever.

Jana: Right.

Jen: But when you kind of are raised in this house of compassion, where kindness is your currency, and just respect for other people is just the standard, that's the kind of stuff that has staying power. And I think it's really stayed with all of us.
Jen: Guys, are we getting some pure parenting gold here or what? My dad and the dogs? Classic. My sister with her supportive call? You can’t script this stuff. So, I wanted to let you know that this conversation doesn’t stop here—it’s just part 1 of my chat with my mom and dad about parenting! There was sooo much more they had to say, and honestly, it’s full of more great stories, wisdom, and encouragement. And your calls absolutely made everything even better—and they’ll be answering more of those questions too!  So be sure and check out our next episode (a bonus one just for you this week!) where we continue with Larry and Jana. But sadly, the dogs will not be making a reappearance, as they’ve been banished to the great outdoors for the time being. Thanks for listening!
 

It’s the second half of the epic interview with Jana & Larry King—AKA Jen’s very own parents! In this part of the chat, Jana and Larry dish parenting gold as they talk about solutions for sibling rivalry, how to make tough parenting calls, how to weather tough storms with your adult kids, and the travesty of Jen not having a cool nickname growing up. And stay tuned til the end for the best part of the interview—and grab your tissues while you’re at it. And if you missed Part 1, go back and listen to that too!
 
PART 2:
Jen: Hey, everybody! This is Jen, and we’re back with Part 2 of this amazing and enlightening interview with none other than my parents Larry & Jana King. It was SO good, you guys, that we spread it out over 2 episodes. (And it won’t surprise you to learn they like to talk as much as I do! The apple didn’t fall too far from its trees.).  Thanks for joining us for the second half of our parenting chat with my mom and dad—they are hysterical and inspirational, and it was a lot of fun for me to go down memory lane with them and recall a few stories I honestly hadn’t thought about in years! That was amazing Plus, the call-in questions from you guys, our very beloved listeners, was just icing on the cake. So thanks for joining us here for round 2. And without any further ado, let’s jump back in!
Jen: So here's a good question. This is another question from a listener.

Leslie from Washington State: Hi, this is Leslie calling from Washington State. And my question is, what is your best advice for dealing with sibling rivalry?

Jen: Do you know anything about that?

Jana: Okay, so my mom died when y'all were young. So I didn't have my mom that I could call and ask questions. So one day I called my aunt, my mom's sister. And I said, "Aunt Donna, will there ever be a time that my children will like each other and not hate each other every single day and fight and scream and kick each other and whatever?"

And my aunt started laughing. She went, "Let one of them go away to school, and things will calm down. And let two of them go to school, and you'll be surprised at how much they like each other."

Jen: She's right.

Jana: And so I clung to that idea because it was not fun in our house on a lot of occasions, particularly when somebody borrowed clothes that they had not gotten permission to borrow. It was horrible.

Jen: Oh my gosh. That was cause for absolute civil war.

Jana: Yep. And our rule was, “You could fight, but you can't kick with your heels.”

Jen: Oh my gosh. Listeners, if you wanted to know how low the bar was set, there it is. Like, Do what you want, but don't kick with your heels. That's all we ask. I mean, oh my gosh.

Jana: Oh we didn't like biting either.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

Jana: We thought biting was mean. But I mean, you're gonna fight, so . . .

The classic time was when all four of you were going at each other and I just stood in the middle of the room and screamed at the top of my lungs. No words, just screaming. And all four of you looked at me and I went, "I can't take anymore." And y'all started laughing.

Jen: I remember. No, it broke the spell. I mean, I'll never forget that as long as I live. I wrote it in some book. Just to see our mom . . . and Mom, you're the mild personality in the family.

Jana: True.

Jen: If we had to pick one, you're kind of the Steady Eddie. You're not hysterical like the rest of us, you're not prone to fits of emotion like literally every one of the rest of us. And so you're not the one we expected to see standing there in the middle of the living room screaming at the top of her lungs for 10 seconds. It stunned us. To this day, I can't believe you did it. It was so shocking that we had no other option but just to burst out laughing. I think even you did.

Jana: Oh, I'm pretty sure I did.

Jen: We were so loud. Oh my gosh, we were so loud. But you know what? Aunt Donna was right, that is the way it arched. I remember going to college, and it's like a miracle pill. All of a sudden, you miss your family, you miss your siblings. You're happy to come home for two or three days and spend time with them, and we've seen that here.
You would never know these kids used to fight like total savages. Now, they're thick as thieves.
The last time Gavin was home for spring break, I remember watching him. And you know, he and Caleb could just fight just savage, you know? And I remember watching him with Caleb right behind him, Ben right behind Caleb, like the Pied Piper, just leading his little charges, and they just followed him everywhere. Followed him out to his room, followed him out to the car, went to the car shows together, and it was like college just fixed it.

And then once we were all out, adulthood was just the best time of our lives. Being adult siblings is my favorite thing.

Jana: Yes.

Jen: So much fun. I know. So maybe the advice you're giving is just weather it, parents.

Jana: There's nothing else you can do. Because it's gonna happen, and you just live through it.

Jen: Yes, you do. You do. And it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong, it's just normal. So, you may have that one family that's friends of yours, and all their kids get along. I'm telling you right now, that's rare. Trust me. Kids just fight, and they will grow out of it.

So okay, here's the next question. And so, this is hilarious. Just when I think we've kind of made it over the hump here, well, I'll just play it.
Lindsay, Jen’s sister: Hi, this is Lindsay, your favorite daughter, calling from New York City. And my question is this: all of your most exceptional children got nicknames. Mine is Nan, Cortney's is Poppy, Drewboy's is Hobbies. How did each of us get our nicknames, and why is Jen the boring one without a nickname?

Jen: We do have nonsensical nicknames in our family. That is true.

Jana: Larry?

Larry: So, what are you asking?

Jen: How do these nicknames come by? Why is Lindsay's nickname Nan? Why is Cortney's nickname Poppy? Why is Drew's nickname Hobbies? Those make no sense. They have no bearing on their actual names.

Larry: Now, these nicknames, I believe I'll have to defer to Mom because I still am probably the only one that calls you Jennifer.

Jen: Yes, that's true. You call us all by our given names.

Larry: And so where all of these came from, I don't know.

Jen: That's actually true, Mom. Dad never does our nicknames. You know the nickname stories.

Jana: I do. When we were in Louisiana, we had our good close friends, Dave and Prissy Wilson, whose youngest daughter Taylor just couldn't get your names. She was tiny, of course, but when Lindsay's name came up, she called her “Nansa.”

Jen: Nansa.

Jana: Nansa. And so “Nan” came from Nansa.

Jen: From Nansa, yup.

Jana: But she also couldn't say Cortney, so she called her “Potney.”

Jen: Potney, that's right.

Jana: So, for years, she was “Pots,” and then Lindsay who does this more than anybody, she changed it to “Poppy.”

Jen: Which doesn't make sense, but it doesn't have to.

Jana: Which makes no sense, but it's a Lindsay name for her sister.

Jen: Yeah, so we still call her Poppy.

Jana: And it was Lindsay that came up with Drew's name, “Hobbies,” because she decided she'd call him “Hop Head.”

Jen: Which actually is nonsensical.

Jana: It's completely nonsensical, but it made him so mad that she kept saying it. So, he eventually turned into Hobbies, and really, you guys are the only ones that really call him that, mostly.

Jen: No, nobody else would have any idea. And Drew never ever calls me by my name, he calls me “JK,” which is what I was called on the ball field for all those years.

Jana: And I was gonna say, you had a good friend that played softball with you. And her dad always called you JK, and ended up calling you “Jake” all through high school-

Jen: Jake, exactly. Which stuck, and I was called that, too.

Jana: Yeah, so you did have a name through high school years, but after that it didn't—

Jen: It's true. And I do have to tell Drew that I haven't had the last name King since 1993, but he is unmoved. He's unmoved. JK, it is. Yes, we are a nickname family, and we give other people nicknames. It's endearing. If we've ever given you a nickname, then that just means we love you.
Okay, here's some more serious stuff. I wrote a blog a couple of years ago called “Our Parenting Yes's and No's.” So, here's a little excerpt from what I wrote. I said:

You know what I didn't understand about parenting? No one knows what they're doing. We have no idea if we're reacting correctly or making appropriate choices, are parenting right, are striking the proper balance. Did we discipline when we should have shown grace, or relent when we should have clamped down? Are we getting the technology thing right? Do we give our kids too many or too few chores? Do we allow boyfriends and girlfriends in eighth grade? Is our kid's curfew appropriate? If we don't enroll him in SAT prep class, is he doomed?
We're just kids who grew up and had babies ourselves. What the blazes do we know? Parenting is less Stratego and more Chance than we ever imagined. We're flinging way more stuff at the wall to see what sticks than we let on. I second-guess around 72% of my parenting decisions.
So sure, we mostly have no idea what we're doing as parents. But we can decide on a few yes's and no's that frame up our family rhythms, that prioritize the better things, even if the kids disagree now, and that help our children prefer treasures that will last.

So, to that idea, I wonder if you can talk about what some of your parenting yes's and no's were.

Jana: King.

Larry: You want me to jump in on this one first?

Jen: Yeah.

Jana: Yes.

Larry: Okay.

Jen: And we probably only had a handful that were kind of, These are our family staples, and everything else is kind of gray and squishy. But what were some of the things that was always gonna be a yes for you, and some of the things that were probably, like, These are no's in the family?
Larry: One certainly deals with discipline, and discipline is a part of parenting. And I am certainly at odds with those that think you don't do anything at all and stifle the little one's creativity. Not to get upset over the act, but discipline the disobedience. And that called for the same type of discipline for the same problem, disobedience. And the act, it shouldn't vary on how mad it made you.

Now certainly, different courses of action carry different consequences, and consequences can be more severe or greater than others. But don't discipline in anger. And I always, if you will remember, as you all grew, the discipline changes to match your age level.

Several times I would discipline wrong or I didn't believe you. I don't know what it would be. It could be any number of things that would come up, but I would have regrets about something I did, and would come up and tell you I was sorry, I didn't handle that right, or I was wrong in what I did. And I always felt that, and I would tell your mom this, that it would make us look human to our kids, that we make mistakes just like they do. And we get our discipline in the adult world in different ways, but it can hurt all just the same.

What do you think, hun?

Jana: I think that's right. I think those were hard yes's, and hard no's.

Larry: We expected from you kids, and it should apply equally to parents as well, and I sort of called them the three T's: truthful always, trustworthy completely, and tenacious forever. And if we will sort of follow that, and you know I married you and Brandon and half of the kids in Haysville as well.

Jen: Yeah, that's true.
Larry: And I always charged everyone—hardly no one maybe knows what a charge is anymore, but it's a challenge—and I always charged you all in four areas of your lives.
One is to embrace the Bible for your guide. Establish a Christ-centered home. Engage in an active church life, and endeavor to roll up your sleeves and work hard.

And if parents will take that charge seriously, parenting will just sort of naturally fall in line. You'll jump in and do your best for the moment. I think that will take care of a lot of family problems. And it won't eradicate problems or complications in the family, but you have a solid foundation to build your lives on.

Jen: Yep, I would say those were our exact guardrails. And everything outside of that had a lot of grace attached to it.

Larry: Yes.
Jen: I would say one thing we kind of knew for sure growing up is that when we would blow it, which we did on the regular, that you guys were never . . . Now, we'd have to face it and own it and own the consequences and all of it, which was good for us, but it wouldn't stick to us. You let us off the hook once we paid the piper, and we moved on with a clean slate. And that was good. We didn't ever feel like those mistakes were held over our heads, or that you were holding a grudge, or that it changed the way anybody felt about us, or our kind of place in the family.

And so, I think we had a lot of grace in the family for mistakes and for failures, even while there were still consequences for it all.
And I would say that our other yes that was kind of a standard permanent yes was just that we had fun.

Larry: Mm-hmm.

Jen: And that was just an open valve at all times, that whatever it is. Life's gonna be hard—and it was . . . we went through a lot of hard things growing up and in the family and in transition—but we're gonna have fun while we're doing it, and when we can, we're gonna not overthink it or overreact or ring it to death.
And that was a great way to grow up. It allowed things to kind of roll off our backs, and we didn't sort of white knuckle everything to death. And we knew that there was always fun to be had, and I think we're kind of adults like that too.

So here's another listener question that we fielded.
Morgan from Waxahachie, TX: Howdy, this is Morgan from Waxahachie, Texas. And my question for Jen's family is this: When Jen was growing up, did you have any idea what she might end up doing with her life? Was there anything about her or anything she was involved in or interested in that gave you the impression that she might be doing what she's doing today? Or were you surprised by it?

Jana: Interesting that you would ask that. Jen has always been a reader. I mean, we read from the time she was a baby. She was sitting in our laps and we'd read books. She always read. She loved to write. She would write books. I have her first book that she ever wrote, which must have been about eight pages long, with illustrations.
Jen: Oh my gosh, sure.

Jana: The English language was just easy for her. That she is doing what she's doing now, yeah it surprised us, but not shocked us. I think we're not so surprised by it as we are amazed at the scope of her job and her ministry and her voice. That her voice is so widely heard is always a little bit of a shock to me. But as far as surprised at what she ended up doing, not really.

Jen: And I have you to credit, I have you to thank for that, for that foundation. I was exposed to Jesus from the time I was a tiny baby infant. So, that really did chart my path.

And then just fill in a few more blanks, I love to write, I got a lot of words, and here we are. And it is kind of wild. It feels kind of wild on the regular.

I remember one time, this was a few years ago . . . Mom, I don't remember if you went with me. I think it was just Cortney. Cortney and I went to . . . I was speaking at Women Of Faith, and we were in Kansas City. Were you with us? I can't remember. I think it was just the two of us.

Jana: I was working.
Jen: Okay, that's right. We were in Kansas City at Women Of Faith. So this is an arena, which you guys have been in with me before plenty of times. But I mean, this was a huge arena, and it was full up to the third level.
It's 20,000 women. And Cortney and I are sitting on the front row, and she just kind of turns around and looks at everybody—and I'm speaking in an hour—and she turns to me and she goes, "Why are all these women here?"

I'm like, "I don't know. I don't know why they are here to listen. I'm not sure."

But yeah, the scope of it is still surprising.

Okay, so here's a good question. This is sweet. This is actually from one of our former podcast guests.

Suzanna from Round Rock, TX: Hey, Mom and Dad, this is Suzanna from Round Rock, Texas. The past couple of years, I've been inspired and encouraged to watch your family maintain a very close and loving bond, despite going through a difficult storm. What's the one storm that it's been the most difficult to watch Jen endure? And also, what is the one accomplishment of Jen’s that you're most proud of?

So, just for my listeners real quick, you may remember Suzanna. She was a guest in the crowdsourced episode of our food series. She had her friends Elyse and Lauren, and if you remember, they gather every single week for a little girl time and do group cooking. And so they prepare these freezer meals for their three families for the week. Love her, loved them. So I love that she submitted this question.

Any thoughts?

Jana: Larry.
Larry: I'm thinking whatever level you are going through in life and the problems you were dealing with, you stayed the course. And we used to tell you, if you signed up for something, whether it was a ball team or cheerleading or whatever, and you didn't like it, or you didn't like the coach, or whatever, and you were gonna get out, I said, "Well, remember, you're part of a team, and others are depending on you. And once the season ends or the activity is over, you don't have to do it again,” but you always stayed the course.

Jen: Yeah, I think that we were kind of raised in that, that you finish what you started.

Mom, do you have a thought on that question?

Jana: I do. With each one of you, there have been times that we just held our breath and ached, physically and mentally and emotionally, for the pain that y'all were going through. And every one of you has had a crisis, some more public than others, of course. But when our kids are hurting, and people are not kind, or physical health is precarious, when things finally kind of settle in, I think Dad and I both can finally kind of have a sigh of relief, 'cause up till that time, we held that tension with you.

There was a lot of times we couldn't do anything about it. Those were things we had to just endure. And then when it was over, you could feel your shoulders finally settle down, and sleep came a little bit easier. And when you woke up in the middle of the night, it wasn't just a terror that overcame particularly me, Larry usually slept through the night no matter what. But I would wake up and it would just consume my thoughts. There was nothing we could do except pray. What I always tell people, I'm more like an arrow pray-er. I just shoot little arrows up when I think about somebody or something. But Dad is such a deep pray-er, and he's a warrior in prayer. And so I always knew that when whatever difficulties any one of you was going through, that while my prayers are on the spur of the moment and just whenever I think about it and just quick prayers, I knew that Dad was solidly praying deeply over each one of you.

Jen: Yeah, we know that because every one of us has lots of screenshots of these long, long, long, long, long prayers that Dad would text us in any given moment, either when we were on the cusp of something big and exciting and important, or we were suffering. Having your adult children suffer is something I don't really know about yet, but I think it's gonna be terrible.

Jana: It's horrible.

Jen: Yeah, just when you really can't do anything, and they have to just bear it 'cause they're grown. But yeah, Dad's always done that, and you have too, Mom. I mean, you both do it in just your own ways. And I think, as a grownup who has suffered in the last couple of years, there's nothing else we would want you to do.
I feel like in our family, you two, our parents, did the exact thing to do, which is pray for us and let us know that you're doing it, and send us your prayers, and just be there. I mean, I've told you a million times and you already know this, when my life goes hardcore sideways, when I am just . . . when I am suffering or I am scared or everything is unraveling, we've had those moments in the last couple of years . . . my car just points its direction to your house, and you can't fix it. I don't expect you to fix it. I don't want you to fix it. But just the proximity is . . . it matters. It counts. Our family's really good at that.

Larry: Jennifer.

Jen: Yes.
Larry: Let me say that you never stop being a parent, no matter how old your kids get, where they happen to be, or what they're going through. We never stop being a parent. But we do have to get used to sleepless nights. And there's been a number of those with all of you as you go through different stages of your lives and deal with difficulties and whatever life throws at it. And maybe one of the most helpless feelings that I can imagine a parent has to deal with is realizing that your child is going through difficult times in some sort of trouble, and the consequences are playing out, and there's not a thing you can do as a parent to help and make it right like we could when you all were younger.

When everyone's children are young, and parents can get in and make some things right, the consequences aren't so bad. And I think that's one of the toughest things on being a parent.
Jen: It's mattered so much to all of us as adults who have all had to recover from something. We've all had heartaches and heartbreaks, and some of those are private. You know, we don't share our stuff with everybody, but you know them. And some of them were public, and everybody knew them. We've had to go about the business of keeping our faith intact and trusting God to heal our families and our hearts and our communities, and He's done it. And probably the most important thing that you gave us as kids, no doubt about it.

I want to talk for a minute about this idea of building our kids up and sort of speaking into their lives in a way that encourages them and raises them up strong. We try to do this in our house too. We've had hardcore conversations with our kids. And I would say that, Dad, you're like the heavyweight champion of raising what I would consider overly-confident, overly-loved children. And of course, your ideas aren't all cutesy and crafty and precious like some precious dad.
But this is something I wrote about you a few years ago, Dad, when we were in the process of getting Ben and Remy home, who had obviously suffered a great deal up to that point in their lives, and we were in the final days of . . . actually, I think they were already home. They were newly home from Ethiopia. So I wrote this:
My dad thought me and my siblings were the most spectacular children ever born to humans. From the time we took our first breath, we were encouraged within an inch of our lives. In the throes of teen angst, but with no genuine parental grievances to moan about, we complained about Dad's long, never ending encouragement tirades. “God, it's so annoying how Dad's always affirming us and validating our passions and loving us. Ugh, this house sucks.”

It occurs to me now more than ever, as we have two children in our family now who've been wounded so deeply by words, that I have all the tools I need to become a healing parent for them. I learned the most important tricks of the trade not in an adoption conference, not between the pages of a book, but in Haysville, Kansas, growing up as Larry King's daughter.


So, Dad, I wonder: how would you advise the parents listening on being this affirming, validating, encouraging voice in their young lives?
Larry: I would say, you've got to give them direction in life. That's what one of our assignments is to do, is to give you direction in life and learn lessons in what you can do and what you can't. There are limits and we've got responsibilities, yet you don't want to stifle them. You want to give them that space to develop and to grow and to learn and realize what they do, they won't always succeed at, and that failure isn't the end of the line.

I think one thing that we did more than anything else, if we got anything right, your Mom and I, before we quit being parents or gave up on it, was to get involved in your kids' lives. You always will have a little bit of favoritism with kids because of one thing or another. We favored you with grades. We favored Drew with athleticism. We favored Cortney because of her independence, and Lindsay because she was just Lindsay. But it's to get involved in their lives, spend time with them, go to the events they're in, teach them fundamentals. If they want to tackle something, help equip and prepare them to succeed in that.

I'm thinking here of team sports, as you can tell.

Jen: Sure. But it was more than that. You encouraged us in way more than just sports.

Larry: Yes, to have fun, to play to win, to be your best, but to be kind and compassionate and look out for the others. Mom's already sort of talked about how you all were good about that. Reaching out to those that were a little off the wall somewhere, and not in the popular in-crowd group.

Jana: But Larry, I will say this: as far as your kids were concerned, you absolutely thought that they were the best at whatever they decided to do.

Jen: That's true. Or at least we thought he thought that.

Jana: He always thought that you should probably go to college on a softball scholarship as a shortstop. Or that Lindsay, at the time she was going to go into marketing, that she would be the best marketer that ever walked out of the door. For each of the kids, Larry, you always thought that they had the highest potential to do whatever they chose to do, and they listened to you and believed you.
Jen: We did. It's so true. I've said this before, and the sibs and I joke because we just believed Dad. Dad would just sit us down and tell us every single thing we got right: everything that we did well, every moment that he noticed that we nailed it, which was exaggerated certainly.
We just believed Dad, and so we just thought we were all so amazing that it was a fairly rude awakening by the time we hit our mid-20s or so and discovered that were all just medium, but we didn't know. We thought that we were amazing, and at that point it was too late. We'd already missed the window of insecurity and we couldn't get back through it at that point. And so it was great to be told that.

Obviously there's an extreme to this where kids are just so over-inflated that they're just nightmare adults, and I think Dad stopped way short of that. We lived in way too real a household for that. That was not our way.

Jana: You remember that Dad would also say, "However, you missed that ball when they hit it between your feet. Your glove was not on the ground."

Jen: “Let's unpack the errors also.”

But there is something really powerful about parenting in such a way where you are actively looking for something wonderful to notice about your kids and then you tell them. It's just that simple. And it's so easy to point out everything they're doing wrong, because kids are dumb and they make a lot of mistakes and they're just growing up. And so it's so easy to notice their faults and their failures and their missteps and where they're coloring outside of the lines. But it's been, I think, one of the most powerful influences on our lives as healthy adults that our parents seemed committed to notice the things we were getting right and made a big deal of it all the time. And so we took that out of childhood, and it absolutely provided a stable foundation for us as adults to not really be afraid.
Larry: Jennifer, the base of that is your mom and I were intimately involved in everything all of you all did. It just so happened a lot of it, since you grew up at ball fields and on basketball courts. And I earned my living building activity facilities and was always there, that was the environment that you grew up in, and that was my DNA. And we were so involved in what you did. We did our best to encourage you and to let you know you could just be about what you wanted to be, but it took work and effort to remember.

Jen: That's true. And to your point, one of the things that you invested in us in spades wasn't just words, but it was just time. And that matters. And we never felt like we were a nuisance or that you didn't have time for things we were into or to teach us or to correct us or whatever. We didn't have a ton of stuff. We were somewhere in the middle, wouldn't you say? We were middle class. So it wasn't that you gave us so many things, but just the time and the words and the investment and the encouragement, I think that's the formula for healthy kids. I do. I think that's why we grew up into adults with a pretty stable internal compass and just always knew what true north was, always knew what the non-negotiables were, always had a real sense of who we are and how loved we were by not just our parents but by God and each other. And it mattered. And it stuck.
You're to be commended.

Look, we're talking about how great parents you are all these years later, so well done. I'm hoping my kids have two good things to say about me in 30 years.
Larry: We gave you all options. We let you choose. We put out the piano lessons and the music lessons and the dance lessons. We let you choose. Now, granted, it was a little lopsided in your choices sometimes, but you were always free to make your choices.

Jen: That's true, and we did.

Two more questions and then we're going to wrap it up you guys. These are both from listeners. Here's the first one.

Sarah from Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA: Hi, this is Sarah from Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. And my question for the parents is: Jen has really changed how I view religion and a lot of societal issues like race, for instance. So my question is, has she changed either of your viewpoints on certain issues and if so how?

Jen: And then here's the second question that builds on it.

Jo from Sydney, Australia: Hi there. My name's Jo. I'm calling from Sydney, Australia. Jen speaks a lot about the shift she's made these days from the faith that was hers and her understanding of things growing up. I'm wondering how that's been for you guys, as no doubt you were her spiritual leaders within the home and in the church. Thank you very much.

Jen: Those are really great questions. First of all, we've got to love Jo. We love that accent entirely. Jo needs to start a podcast so we can just hear her voice.

So to recap, has there been anything that you've changed your perspectives on as you've walked alongside your adult children in their shifts, and what has it been like to witness this?
I'm really glad that Sarah asked this, because I wonder sometimes about this. I wonder if it is hard for you to watch me wrestle out ideas and put some new stakes in the ground in my faith world, and if that hurts your feelings at all or if that makes you feel challenged or defensive, or I don't know.
This is something that I've wondered a lot. And I always want to be really careful about how I handle my legacy, which is your legacy, and I'm very curious to hear your answers on these.

Jana: I do not have a whole lot of shifting to do. I grew up in a home where my mom was the secretary at an all-black elementary school, and I grew in a very diverse neighborhood. And when I was in high school was the first year of busing, so my high school was very diverse. So I have always been around people of different color and different . . .

Jen: Ethnicity.

Jana: Ethnicity. And then in the world of education, it's just no holds barred. There's everybody, which has been easy for me because I love people and have never had a whole lot of issues with being able to love people for who they are and not what they're perceived to be.

But I have also learned a lot from you in that my own responses to what I see have been more reserved than it probably should have been. I used to be, before I had a family, a lot more active in those roles of protesting or encouragement or whatever. But once I was married and having kids, it was like, I didn't have time. That was just beyond.

And then I was working. And I know that while I was at work, my attitudes and my openness were very evident to those that I worked with and very appreciated, It was not something that I really embraced as something that I did consciously. And I realized that consciously I needed to be more active. And I think that your voice, through these last few years, has made me rethink what I can do well with others that are in need of just open arms and caring.

Jen: Advocacy, yeah
What would you say, Mom, to the second question. I wonder what it feels like to watch your kid release some portions of her faith perspective that she had when she was younger and embrace new ones. Is that hard to watch? How does that make you feel?
What would you say, Mom, to the second question. I wonder what it feels like to watch your kid release some portions of her faith perspective that she had when she was younger and embrace new ones. Is that hard to watch? How does that make you feel?
How do you feel, Dad?

Larry: I'm going to say, I guess since birth, our family's never been in total agreement on a whole lot of things as we grow up. And certainly as we've seen each of you all – and this would be true of every parent with each of their kids as well – will see them grow and formulate. We hope to lay the foundation, but then expect them to grow and develop their own sets of values, and not to disregard the foundation that was laid for them completely, but certainly it will go through a changing process.

Probably me, certainly I have had my perspectives challenged by all of you kids growing up. I have changed probably more in the area . . . and I was always accepting of other people, but more so realizing to value them for who they are as a person of worth, and particularly created in the same image of God that we all were. And that has changed there, but I’d also like to remind all of you all: while some of the old ways that we, your parents, were raised needed to go, some of those old ways needed to change, they weren't all bad. They weren't all bad. And they gave that good foundation, but that's not to mean that what looks right today doesn't need to be honed and changed and adapted for a changing time, a changing culture, which does nothing stay static and you can't remain static and be relevant, and that has to expand.

A lot of good has come out of that. That's not to say it's all good. It's not to say it's all bad. But change is inevitable and it's necessary. And we still have a long way to go in some areas, and maybe we've gone overboard in others. Maybe only time will tell. But I think the big challenge is that we just remember to maintain in what we do a sense of value and worth for every human being and that God died for everyone. The invitation to God's grace is all-inclusive, but it's very selective in that each individual has to answer for Himself. God doesn't have any grandkids. He's just got kids.
Maybe two things I remember somewhere: I think you know I don't quote a lot of Scripture. I don't know a lot of it even though I'm a minister. I usually get it wrong anyhow, but I think it's in Psalms somewhere that says, "A humble spirit and a contrite heart: these are what please God." And I think if we keep that in mind and look at people as people of worth for who they are and the value that they have, that's probably made more of an effect on me as we watch all of you kids grow and change your own value systems as well.

Jen: Well, you know what, Dad? That'll preach. I honestly can't even imagine where I would be without our foundation in faith. I can't even envision that. And so you're 100% right, that there's so much value there and laid pavement for all of us really that we walk on today. And I just am so grateful for my childhood, being raised the way that I was. I think that, like we talked about earlier, a little bit . . . I don't know if “relaxed” is the right word, but this very open-handed way that you parented, you did that inside faith too.

We never felt, even though you were a minister, you were a rogue minister. We never grew up in a traditional "pastor's home" that was stringent and rigid and scary and punitive. That's just not the faith that you gave us. I didn't really know about that. I picked up on that from my environment, but I did not pick up on that from my home. You gave us a lot of wiggle room to ask questions and to come to understand Jesus in the way that we were going to, and I'm so grateful for that. That has served me well in my adult life when I have found myself challenged on ideas and doctrines and really able to walk into those spaces unafraid because my faith is in Jesus, not necessarily my own understanding of Him, and so that's rock solid. I don't have anything to fear there. Nothing can be stolen there. That is always going to be real and true and good, so I'm thankful for that.

I hope that we've raised our kids, too, that they needn't be afraid of a spiritual quest. And we don't need to be afraid of their spiritual quest, because they'll certainly take one. We all did, and still are, so I'm super grateful for that, and I know the siblings would say the same.

Okay, you guys. One more question. You've been champions. This is for sure the longest podcast I've ever recorded, and so one more question from one more listener, and we will call it a day because me and Mom and Cortney are going shopping. All right, here it is.
Laura from Plymouth, MI: I'm Laura from Plymouth, Michigan, and I have a one and a half-year-old daughter. So Mom and Dad, how did you make Jesus real to Jen and the other kids when she was this age?

Jana: Well, first of all, we were good Southern Baptists, so we were at church. You were at church from the time I think you were nine days old, and I put you in the nursery.

Jen: It was 1974. Into the nursery, you go. Hilarious.

Jana: Jesus was just part of our everyday conversation, and I rocked you every night singing "Jesus Loves Me," and it was a natural conversation. That was just what we did. And I can't think that there was a time when we really were so deliberate in trying to talk about Jesus rather than it was just our conversations.

Jen: That's right, and I love that you said that, Mom. Because people ask me all the time, "What devotions are you doing with your children?" or, "When do you do family devotions?" I'm like, "What're you talking about?" You did not formulize this for us in a real systematic way. This was just the air we breathed in our home, and that was enough. And that was good. And that made it feel real and natural and normal instead of, "Everybody sit and listen to Daddy read from the holy devotions." Well, first of all we wouldn't have sat and Dad wouldn't have done it, but I think there's something to be learned here in just letting it be the atmosphere of your home. That's exactly how you raised it.

Larry: It's a lifestyle. It's a lifestyle. It's not a list. "Well, here, I've got to do this and this and this."

We didn't change our lives when we started our quest to be parents. We waited a couple of years to get to know each other, and you were the end result of about a year's worth of hard work before you made the scene. And it was the same way with your siblings as well. Cortney was a little bit quicker than normal, and Drew was a surprise, but it was our lifestyle. And we didn't change our lifestyle. We incorporated you into it, and then we fed ourselves into your lives and we let you have that freedom. Our home was always a Christ-centered home, and we utilized the Bible for our guide.

It goes back to that charge I give when I marry someone: we had an active church life, and we all worked hard at what we did. It's just the way we lived our lives that made Jesus real because He was a part of basically . . . well, maybe He wasn't part of your decision to go joyriding with the Ghost.

Yes, He was integral in our lives and in the decisions we made.

Jen: That's right, and I love that. I think that's, to me, the right way. I think that's the stuff that felt real to us. It just always just felt, "Oh, this is just what it looks like in a real life. This is what faith looks like in real families with real parents in an ordinary scenario as an actual response to something that happened that day," and that's the stuff that sticks.

To me, it's the real religious packaging of it all that can easily fall by the wayside, because it just doesn't feel true. It just feels formulaic. And so I think you gave us exactly what we needed, and I think we were raised in a home full of laughter and love and faith and sometimes curse words.

Jana: Well, only from your dad.

Larry: I've been talking to your mom about that.
Jen: Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being on the podcast, even though Dad doesn't know what a podcast is, and I think my listeners are going to love this. Thanks for all your advice and encouragement. Thanks for just being normal parents. And so I was going to tell my listeners where they could follow you. Dad is on social media, but I don't even know what to say about that.

Jana: Well, your dad will occasionally check in on Facebook, but not really.

Jen: No, don't expect him to know that. Dad doesn't understand how social media works, and so anyhow, thanks for being on, Mom.

Jana: Oh, it was our treat and a joy, and now your readers understand why we have so many words to say.

Jen: Exactly. Okay, you guys.

Jana: Love you.

Jen: Love you too.

Okay, you guys. They are the actual best. Just the best.
So listen, we're going to pull together some of the pictures and moments and memories we mentioned, and we will load those up over on the transcript page for the podcast, which is at jenhatmaker.com underneath Podcast tab. Amanda builds out an amazing transcript page for you. I hope you are using that, because it is full of bonus pictures and resources and content and literally anything we ever mention in a podcast, we link it over there in case you need to find it. So fabulous tool for you, and Amanda works so hard on it.

In fact, I want to give a shout out to Amanda because this whole podcast was Amanda's idea and Amanda's execution. I don't know if you've heard me say this before, but Amanda, my fabulous assistant, my partner in crime, was first my dad's assistant. Heck, 15 years ago, even 20. And so when my life outpaced my capacity and I'm like, "I've got to have somebody. I need a person," my dad was like, "Call Amanda." Literally the best decision I've ever made. And so Amanda has now assisted both Larry King and his daughter Jen Hatmaker, both of us disastrous in our own special ways. And so Amanda was like basically, "If you don't have your parents on the parenting series, I'm going to quit."

Amanda also fielded your questions and got them into the podcast. And so speaking of, I want to thank, thank, thank so much all of our listeners who sent in questions, and thank you to everybody else who sent them in, and I wish we could have fit them all in.

I would also like to thank my partners in crime, my sisters Lindsay and Cortney, for sending in their questions. Hilarious. I literally did not know until today that they did that. And so anyway, thanks for listening so long with us. And this parenting series, you guys, we have so much more for you, so you're definitely going to want to come back next week. We have some really superb guests lined up for you. Thank you for being such fabulous listeners.

Thanks for being sweet to my parents and giving them some love on social media. I'll make sure that my dad goes to my Facebook page and reads whatever you say, or my Instagram account, whatever you say about this episode, because he does not to this day know how to navigate social media.

Anyway, you're the best listeners ever and so, so glad you were here today. See you next week!
Jen's Favorite Things
​Hey guys, we're back for another segment of Jen's Favorite Things. This is the part of the show where I share about some wonderful companies that are producing amazing products--and giving back to charitable organizations and really worthy nonprofits. Plus, they have exclusive discounts and extras just for you, our podcast listeners. So here are today's favorites!
Guys, Elaine Turner is a fellow Texan and fashion designer who has been called "The Houston Handbag queen." Not only does she have GORGEOUS purses, she's got the cutest clothes and shoes as well!

<---------I wore one of her "Laney" dresses to my son's graduation. You may have seen it. I've actually worn it everywhere.

Check out elaineturner.com--and just for our listeners, when you checkout, use the code FORTHELOVE20 to get 20% off your whole first purchase.
That's FORTHELOVE20 at ElaineTurner.com.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!
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