082 – The Power of Positive Reinforcement

How to influence your family with positive reinforcement

Welcome to episode 82 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the power of positive reinforcement to influence your family.

The concept of positive reinforcement involves a reward given for a desired behavior. Positive reinforcement is used in applications ranging from training a pet to influencing high performance teams. In today’s podcast, we will discuss how to use positive reinforcement in your family and the benefits you can expect.

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Podcast Sponsor

This podcast episode is sponsored by the Call to Me Prayer Journal by Jeannine Moffitt. 

How can Christians transform the daily call to prayer, with all of its challenges, into a purposeful, organized, and enjoyable routine?

Call To Me provides an easy to use prayer journal that helps keep individuals on track and allows them to see their entire week of prayer at a glance. They can organize prayer requests, concerns, and praises into labeled columns across a spacious two-page spread. With plenty of room to journal, they can reflect on answered prayers, continuing requests, or even the impact of certain verses, all in one convenient location.

Along the bottom of each spread, Call To Me includes scriptures speaking to everyday topics that help spark prayer life. The journal’s creator, Jeannine Moffitt, has provided example spreads to nudge hesitant individuals past the starting line until they settle into their own rhythm.

With its beautifully laid out design, many find Call to Me a user-friendly tool for combined journaling and prayer. By taking care of the organization, it allows Christians to focus on the prayer itself and truly enjoy an enriched prayer life.

Jeannine is a wife, a mother, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, recent cancer survivor, speaker and author. Her husband is a pastor, so she can relate to other women who are also pastor’s wives and all that that brings! She is a woman with a lot of life experiences!  She’s worked in the corporate world and legal field as a certified paralegal. She’s worked in the Christian realm and non-profit arena. She (and her husband) homeschooled for 12 years. She is a recent cancer survivor and understands the difficulties and challenges of dealing with cancer. She can identify with women from varied backgrounds, various ages, and all stages of life.  She likes to use her sense of humor and quick wit to drive home truths that may be difficult to hear and even more difficult to apply!  She enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them to reach their God-given potential and become all God intended for them to be.

No matter where you’ve been—fatherless, abused, abandoned, or divorced—or where you are presently—sick, a single parent, addicted, in financial trouble—you can become the person God intended for you to be.  Jeannine will tell you that our past does not dictate our future. God has a plan for our lives regardless of our circumstances. We have a choice in what we do, and that first, critical choice is to trust God with our lives. He promises when we give our life to Him, He will show us how to live victoriously each and every day.

Jeannine has a passion for prayer and created this journal with that in mind, to help others have a deeper prayer walk with Jesus.

The Importance Of Forgiveness Inside The Family

My son’s lesson in forgiveness

It must have felt like the end of the world for my son. The deal he and I brokered a couple weeks back had already been broken. His mom had already notified me as to how upset he was. What Jacob needed in that moment was forgiveness, not a lecture on personal responsibilities. It was then that I was reminded of the importance of forgiveness inside the family.


Our family has a wonderful Labrador Retriever named Nelli that is four human years old. She is an outside dog, but don’t worry, she is very well cared for. She has acres of woods in which to roam, endless supplies of food and water, and a warm, dry building in which to escape from the rain and cold. Each evening, I put Nellie up in her doghouse, which is the Taj Mahal of doghouses, and let her out to roam early each morning.

Enter the deal made with our son Jacob. Jacob has wanted the German Shepherd for a long time. I’m not sure where his affinity to German Shepherds started, but he’s made it clear he wants one. About two weeks ago, I made a deal with Jacob. The deal was simple. He had to take complete care of Nelli for one month and then we would look into getting him a German Shepherd. This means he was responsible to provide Nelli with food and water, play with her, work on basic dog training with her, and check her in & out of her Taj Mahal each day.

Two weeks into the deal, Jacob forgot the let Nelli out of her doghouse one morning. Luckily, I was still at home, so a simple text message from my wife solved the dilemma. It solved the dilemma for my wife and me, but a serious concern was brewing in the heart and mind of Jacob. He wants a German Shepherd so badly, and he knew he had now broken the deal we made. A simple mistake on his part. He forgot to let Nelli out of her house, just as I’ve done a few times in the four years we’ve had her.

As his dad, I had a choice to make.

Restoring an Estranged Father Son Relationship

4 reasons for restoration

My children know little more about their grandfather than his name. That’s because my father and I have been estranged for many years. Years of anger and bitterness have allowed me to convince myself it’s best we part ways. However, parenting my own children convicts me of the need to restore our father-son relationship.

Restoring an Estranged Father Son Relationship

An addiction to alcohol has driven a wedge between the two of us that has caused us to live completely separate lives though we live only a forty-five minutes’ drive from each other. I’ve witnessed the incredible influence and hold alcohol can have on a person. I don’t understand the addiction to alcohol, but I know it is real. I’ve lived through the abuse an alcohol addiction can inflict on family and friends.

Protected somewhat by my parents’ divorce at a young age, I’m one of the lucky few capable of breaking the generational cycle alcoholism tends to exhibit. I live my life in total abstinence from alcohol; primary because it truly scares me. I could likewise become a nonfunctioning alcoholic. Additionally, I believe the Bible offers very serious warning and commands to stay away from “strong drink.”

However, a major downside to my defiance against alcohol is the divide I’ve allowed it to cause in my relationship with my father. Now, I’m certainly not saying abstinence from alcohol is a bad thing. Rather, I’m saying I never should have let this separate my father and me. Likewise, I’m not saying I condone my father’s abuse of alcohol. We can have a good relationship regardless of our differing opinions regarding alcohol.

But I mentioned that my children brought about this conviction related to my relationship with my father. What do they have to do with it?

079 – 6 Friendships To Eliminate Quickly

And how to eliminate them

Welcome to episode 79 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss how to identify the friendships you need to eliminate from you life.

6 Friendships To Eliminate Quickly

Friendships can be a very positive aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, they can also be negative influences on us. Today’s podcast will help you identify six different friendships that will influence you in a negative manner. It is critical that we identify these friendship and remove them from our life.

Ending a friendship may seem like a bad thing, but not these friendships. Whether we recognize it or not, these types of friendship are bad for us. In many ways, these friendships hold us back or lead us down paths we never would have otherwise taken. While it may be difficult, ending these friendships are for the best.

Lastly, we’ll discuss exactly how to eliminate these friendships. Again, it’s difficult, but it can be done in a loving and gentle way.

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077 – Marriage Or Kids First?

Overcoming the conflict parents have about top priority

Welcome to episode 77 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will answer the question of which is more important, your spouse or your children.

Marriage of Kids First?

Married couples are often told the marriage relationship must be the top priority in their lives; aside from a relationship with Christ. There is typically no problem with this until that couple has children. Parents find themselves conflicted when it comes to making the marriage a priority over there children. Quilt trips like loving your children less, neglecting their needs, or not providing opportunities other kids have will plaque even the best of parent. The Bible does tell us to prioritize our marriage over our children. But what does that really look like. We’ll discuss exactly how that should play out in today’s podcast episode.

We’ll cover the notion that loving our spouse more means we love our children less. We’ll also explain why placing the marriage as priority over your infant child isn’t the same as neglecting their needs. Finally, providing your teenagers with everything that every other teenager has or allowing them to do what all the other kids do doesn’t have to take priority over your marriage. If the children have robbed your marriage of its priority, tune in today to find out how you can get your marriage back where it belongs.

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What I hope my kids know about American Independence Day

Happy Birthday America

I remember it as if it were this morning. I stood at the foot of my bunk in the squad bay that would be my home for the next three months. Drill Instructors swarmed throughout the squad bay until suddenly one stood nose to nose with me. Red-faced, veins bulging, screaming, and spraying he ‘politely’ posed a question.  “Recruit Tanner, why did you join the Marine Corps?” With as much courage as I could muster, I yelled back, “to serve and give back to my country, sir.”

Indepedence Day

It probably seems trite, but I meant it. I happen to believe America is the greatest nation in the history of the world. I truly wanted to give back to this nation in some humble way.

It isn’t the government, the capitalistic economy, the Founding Fathers, or even the great people that make America great. Not to get political, but this nation isn’t made great by any presidential candidate. This nation is made great through the blessings of God. I believe God is willing to bless this nation because we’ve traditionally held firm to the strong belief in the principles of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The real meaning of Independence Day tends to get lost among all the activities of the holiday.

071 – How To Be A REAL Man When Facing Tough TImes

3 ways to face difficulty

Welcome to episode 71 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss how to be a REAL man when life throws you difficult challenges.

How To Be A REAL Man When Facing Tough TImes

Maybe you’re faced with serious illness in your family, maybe it’s loss of a job, or even an unexpected death in the family; regardless of the details, being a REAL man in these situations is very difficult. Nonetheless, our responsibilities as men don’t just go away with these difficult situations. In fact, our role in leading our family becomes all the more important when life sends us into these uncertain times. In this podcast, I’ll share a personal story that has greatly impacted and encouraged me. It’s a story I will certainly draw upon when faced with difficulties of life.

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My “Step” Dad

Father's Day is still about honoring dad

This will be my third Father’s Day without my dad. To honor the memory of my dad, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from a book manuscript I wrote regarding adoption. In the manuscript, I explain the thought process I went through in our decision to adopt our son. During that thought process, I realized I am essentially adopted by my dad. Let me explain…

I hope that you recognized the quotes within the title.  We live in the age of the air quotes.  In our verbal communications, we often times resort to the use of our hands and fingers to indicate our facetiousness or basic lack of belief or agreement in the words we are saying.  I am certainly “guilty” of the use of the air quotes in my conversations, but none more than when I’m talking about my “step” father.

My "Step" Dad

You see, I actually despise having to refer to John Potts as my step father.  I do so only in situations that I have to be clear that he is not my biological father.  I might say to someone: “my dad is a mechanic”.  In that I’m referring to John.  Conversely, when explaining why our last names are different, I will refer to John as my step-father.

You might ask why I am so caught up on the use of the word step.  It is after all quiet accurate of me to use the word.  Under the English language and by definition, John is my step-father.  So why not just be clear and concise when referring to John?  The reason that I despise the use of the title step-father is because it gives the connotation that John is in some way less than a “real father” (air quotes because most folks use this phrase to refer to a biological father, I use it here to refer to a man that is truly engaged and active in his responsibilities in raising a child).  The use of the title step-father gives many the mental image of one of two things: a dictatorial outsider that swoops into a child’s life to steal away his mother and serve as marine drill instructor for the child or a spineless wimp of a man that is afraid to rock the boat within the new family he has stepped into.  These two characterizations do not describe my dad at all.

070 – Transgender Restrooms & Other Touch Topics

How to discuss these issues with your children

Welcome to episode 70 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss transgender restrooms and other touchy topics. You’ll learn how to properly discuss these issues with your children.

Transgender Restrooms & Other Touch Topics

Don’t allow the world to influence your child on this very touchy, but important, topics. Taking a stand for truth regarding these issues requires tremendous courage and wisdom that only you can give to your children.

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To My Future Son-in-law’s Dad

Please teach him to climb a tree

Sir, you don’t know me yet. But rest assured, you will know me well as our children progress in their relationship. More importantly, you will understand well my expectations of any young man that dates my daughter. Maybe you have a daughter also, maybe you don’t. But surely you can understand why I would have such high expectations of my future son-in-law.

To My Future Son-in-law's Dad

Your son has little chance of meeting my expectations without your intentional engagement and teaching in his life. Please do not abdicate your responsibilities to school teachers, youth ministers, church members, or even his mother. If you do, a moral façade will be created that robs your son of the blessing of true moral character and hides your son’s true nature from my daughter. Others can mold a nice façade around your son, but only you can build a proper foundation.

Unlike all the clichés you read about, I have no plans to clean my shotgun while your son is in my home. I don’t plan to take him snipe hunting. I will not be asking my police buddies for any background checks on your family.

However, I will communicate clearly with your son my expectations. It would be much better for him if he hears these things from you first. Let me share a few things that I hope you teach your son long before he pops the question to my daughter.