On this episode of Pursuing Uncomfortable, we hear from Luke Grim, a retired army veteran turned high school teacher who discusses the importance of preparing kids for independent living. From his own experience struggling with finances and household management when he had to live alone, Luke emphasizes the need for tough conversations between parents and children, whether it be about pornography, leadership, or values. He introduces a website with resources on 16 important topics related to raising children, including sensitive topics like pornography. He emphasizes the importance of having a good relationship with your child, using discipline as a teaching tool, and standing for truth and Christ in modern-day culture. We also learn more about Luke's personal background, including his extensive military career and his large family of eight children.
Luke was born in Long Beach, California to a military father who served in the Coast Guard. Growing up, Luke experienced frequent moves due to this commitment resulting in him joining the army himself after finishing high school. Luke spent 20 years in the army and rose to the rank of sergeant major before retiring with his wife. They currently reside in the south side of Indianapolis, where he works as a high school teacher focusing on government, economics, and running an alternative education program. He leads a men's group and Bible study at his local church and has a passion for jiu-jitsu and reading. Luke also has eight children, seven daughters, and a son.
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🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶
🎶 Episode Intro: Hello, Hello! On this episode of Pursuing Uncomfortable podcast, we hear from a retired Army veteran turned high school teacher, Luke Grim, who discusses the importance of preparing kids for independent living. From his own experience, struggling with finances and household management when he had to live alone, he emphasizes the need for having the tough conversations between parents and kids, whether it be about pornography and its dangers, drugs and addiction, leadership, how to manage your finances, your values, or anything else. Let's welcome Luke to the podcast. 🎶
Melissa Ebken 0:05
Luke Grim, welcome to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast. How are you today?
Luke Grim 0:10
I am on my third cup of coffee, Melissa. I'm actually feeling really good. It's a good Monday. Great weather. Happy to be here. Thanks for even having me.
Melissa Ebken 0:19
Absolutely. When we met the other day and had a brief discussion, there were so many things that struck with me that resonated with me. And although we have some different things that we're after in this world, not just you and I, but all of us who are here listening, there's some common things that really unite us and bring us together. And that's really what stood out for me in our conversation.
Luke Grim 0:45
Yeah, and both of us being parents and also taking care of young ones outside of our own kids. I think that's a big common goal right now. How do we take care of the up and comers? How do we prep them? Yeah, absolutely. Right. Yeah. Thanks, Melissa.
Melissa Ebken 1:00
Luke, can you give us a little info about who you are and what you do so that whoever's listening here might get a better picture of, of who's with us today?
Luke Grim 1:10
Yeah, absolutely. I was born in Long Beach, California, my dad was a military guy. He was in the Coast Guard. And throughout my 18 years of growing up, he was in the military, all 18 of those. So I experienced, you know, two years and move two years and move. You know, you being in the military, you can understand the moving as well. So once I finished high school, I joined my own right hand, raised my own right hand and joined the Army. So I spent 20 years moving around doing the Army life. Got selected for promotion to Sergeant Major, we went to the academy, and we decided, we devoted enough time of our lives to the Army. And I've watched enough kids grow up on Facebook, that we decided to retire instead of, so we retired now we live in the south side of Indianapolis. I am a high school teacher, I teach 11th and 12th grade government and economics. And I run our alternative education program. So students that are upside down in credits, and they're not going to graduate on time. Those are the students we work with. My wife and I, we have eight kids, seven daughters and a fresh son about a year and a half old. We go to church on the south side of Indianapolis. I lead a men's group and lead a Bible study. I love jujitsu. And if you can see me on screen, I clearly love to read. So yeah, that's those are the nuts and bolts, Melissa,
Melissa Ebken 2:23
Thanks for that Luke. You know, when we were talking, you homeschool your kids, and you teach in a public school, whether people homeschool, or whether they teach in public school, there's always this thought, man, if only they would learn these things. And I have to be honest with you hear a lot of those things. I don't want the school to teach. You know, a lot of the things that I read on social media that the school should be teaching this or should be teaching that I always think I'd rather that I taught that to my kids. I'd rather they hear that from me. That's going to be a little bit of what we talk about today. And I know you have a lot of thoughts on this.
Luke Grim 3:07
And it's fascinating with the teacher stuff. If I showed you my state of Indiana licensure to teach, it says US government and citizenship grades 7 through 12. Nowhere on there does it say to teach kids my values. My thoughts on pick any hot button topic in America, anything politically divisive, that is not on my licensure. And so it does fascinate me that teachers will pitch their values. And no matter what a teacher's values are, you and me if you and I were public school teachers, we taught our values. Those are not the values that every kid has been brought up in. We are going to rub against some families out there. So families, it's it is on us to teach a lot of the stuff but we get busy. We get busy and we just just tough to be intentional. Melissa, it's really tough to be intentional.
Melissa Ebken 3:59
Well, and honestly, if I'm a student of yours, and I come away, knowing your values, knowing your political beliefs, knowing your faith, traditions and practices, you're probably not teaching me to think, you're teaching me about yourself. And as a teacher, you teach kids, students, kids or adults, how to think how to how to breach a new topic, how to ask the right questions of it, how to sit with it, how to discern meaning and extrapolate from it. That is what I want from the teachers that my kids interact with.
Luke Grim 4:35
We talked about how elections work today in government class, and I pulled up four screenshots I took from the midterm elections, I I went to the voting booth and I took screenshots before I clicked Democrat, Republican, whatever it was, I just took the screenshots of voting straight party ticket, all these things. So I put them up just showed that kids this is what a ballot looks like. And they don't have a clue if I'm a Trump guy, if I'm a Biden guy If I'm an Obama guy, they don't have a clue. And it's not their job to know. Because once we do that, we alienate half the class. It's just it's not our job. If they want to ask me after they graduate, they know, I absolutely will tell them. But it's just it's not our role, or I love how you put, it's our job to teach them how to think and how to dig and how to think critically. Because that's a skill that they'll need when they're 30, when they're 40, and they're 50. But teaching them what to think right now. I don't see a benefit to that, except for it makes me feel good. Then I made a bunch of mini me's. That's a very selfish feeling. And if we can move past that, yeah, I love how you put it, we need to teach them how to process how to think I like that.
Melissa Ebken 5:41
Alright, I'm gonna put you on the spot here. What's the difference between fact, belief and opinion?
Luke Grim 5:49
So belief and opinion, they're gonna be pretty tough to separate. So fact, I'm gonna take fact and use the word truth if that's okay. Truth is truth, no matter who you are, where you are, and when you live. Or if you don't like that two plus two equals four, you can have an opinion about that. But that is still a truth. So where does truth come from? Well, I hear a lot from my students will will say stuff like this. Well, I have my truth. My truth is, fill in the blank, like, well, well, that's great. Is your truth true for everybody? Well, no, Mr. Grim, you have your own truth. Well, what happens when our truths rub up against each other? And we have an argument? How do we solve that? In other words, if we can't come on an equal playing field about just what's true, how do we ever have a conversation? How do we have dialogue? Okay, well, Mr. Grim where does truth come from? Ah, there we go. Where do we get truth from now we start getting into if we're being honest, a lot of Scripture, a lot of Bible a lot of religion, because we have different playbooks people use, and that becomes a complex conversation, I suppose. Belief and opinion, I can believe something and not know that it's true. It's kind of like having faith, I have faith in something. I believe something, I can't prove it to you 100%. But I do believe in this thing. And an opinions is just, here are my thoughts on vanilla ice cream versus chocolate ice cream. Great. That's your opinion. But it is not a proven fact that vanilla or chocolate is better than the other you just have opinions. And I think a lot of people in modern day conflate these things. Yeah, yes.
Melissa Ebken 7:23
And that's a big soapbox issue. I have. And I think when we're talking in differentiating between belief and opinion, and I had the luxury of contemplating that here for the last couple of minutes. Belief is something that doesn't change a whole lot through your life. I mean, obviously, it can absolutely it can and hopefully it grows and evolves and gets some, gets some real breadth to it. But an opinion can change from minute to minute and opinion, can is kind of the lowest form of knowledge, in one sense. It's just well, I think. Well, okay, have you researched it? Have you checked the facts? Have you, you know, and beliefs. Beliefs tend to be something we build a life on, and an opinion is something we express in the moment. What do you think?
Luke Grim 8:18
I really liked that. A belief you could say, Toby Mac has a song called Cornerstone. We took some of the kids teenage kids go see him in Indianapolis about three weeks ago, and he took some time to explain the song. Have you heard the song, Melissa?
Melissa Ebken 8:32
Probably, but I gotta tell you, I'm terrible with names.
Luke Grim 8:35
No, it's okay. Yeah, his, his oldest son died about three years ago to drug overdose. And Toby Mac has been in Christian music for he started with DC talk. We're talking mid 1990s. He's put out tons of, he's, he's kind of a big name. And all these people look up to him for all these things, then his oldest son dies, not just dies, but from a drug overdose. So now everyone's watching how does this guy process this? So he put out the song Cornerstone is talking about my, my, my faith and life didn't change, it is still on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. So to shake that cornerstone to shake a belief like you're talking about, that's a dramatic thing. We build our face off of cornerstones. And if you try to change somebody's belief, man, we need to understand they probably built their life on that cornerstone, like it or not, you know, but an opinion, this where I think people take opinions and try to make them facts and truth. And that's not how opinions work. Right? Opinions change. So like I said that.
Melissa Ebken 9:38
Absolutely. My opinion can change in the next five minutes on something as we talk about it.
Luke Grim 9:43
And it doesn't make it true or untrue. It's just your personal opinion. It wasn't, gosh, I don't know five years ago that this debate really became a thing. I didn't think that arguing about what truth was was necessary until about five years ago.
Melissa Ebken 9:59
Right I think an understanding of the differences in those things can really go a long way to having better conversations and better learning and understanding in our communities, don't you think?
Luke Grim 10:10
I do. The not to go back to my class, but I give them a paper they have two weeks to write it. And I said, Look, this is just today, pick any political issue that people debate in America, any issue you want, I don't care what it is. Now, next, I'd like you to pick a side, pick a whole page and a half, two pages, just talking about your opinion. But then I want you to explain to me where those opinions come from. So we're talking about 17 year olds. What 17 year old truly has experience in immigration?Truly has experienced being involved in police interaction? Truly has experience with guns. But where do we have all these opinions? Where did it come from? And if we're not careful with our teens, they're going to turn those opinions in the actual beliefs, and they won't know why they did it. They're gonna take an opinion that they hear again, and again and again, and they won't research it. Next, we'll know we'll have a 25 year old that has built a cornerstone on this thing that they can't explain why. And that's why that's, that's something I'd really like to try to help families do is like, let's, let's have some conversations at home. It's it's chaotic, right? It's chaotic, that has conversation with kids. But when did you go to it when you go to basic training? Melissa, if I can take a quick detour here.
Melissa Ebken 11:23
Yeah, I went in the summer of 1988, June to August 1988 in South Carolina.
Luke Grim 11:31
Fort Jackson. You bet. And you can probably relate to this, that when when you got off the bus and everyone's got their duffel bags and, and drill sergeants yelling, it's, it's kind of chaotic. Yeah, yeah, if you see the movies, it's hard to understand unless you're physically there. Well, what the drill sergeants knew was that it was controlled chaos. And if we can get through chaotic situations here where we can control it, well, when somebody gets deployed or asked to do something real, they've gone through it, that's not the time to learn. So let's take that to teenagers at our house. We can control the chaos at our dining room table, we can have these crazy, difficult conversations that are awkward, they're uncomfortable, but we can control it. And if it doesn't work, well reset, hey, let's engage again tomorrow. But if we don't do that, when they get out into the real world, there is no control to that. You're not there to help. I'm not there to help. And it's chaotic with no control. So
Melissa Ebken 12:29
And this is where your passion really lies, isn't it?
Luke Grim 12:33
It is with both was having military experience if we will reflect back and we probably met some people's like, Yo, why did you join? And too often I heard this: well, I didn't have any other options. I didn't have anything else to do. I didn't know what else to do. Okay, I understand that. Well, as a drill sergeant, I was a drill instructor for two years, I had soldiers that didn't know how to brush their teeth. You cannot make this up. Soldiers did not tie shoelaces literally didn't know how to tie shoelaces. I could go on and on at things that didn't know how to do and I'm thinking, Where were your parents? So the judgmental Luke starts to come out now. Where were your parents, I wouldn't ask them this. So now that I'm teaching high school, now, I'm watching high schoolers that are lost. But it's not just lost with life skills. They're lost with morals and values. I can't prove this, but I get the feeling. A lot of parents are on the sidelines, and allowing the world to raise their kids. And when that happens, we cannot be surprised when our kid comes back for the first Thanksgiving. You know, after they graduate, and who the kid that you thought was a Christian or whatever they have now come back an atheist. They had been revolutionized by a freshman philosophy teacher. I'd like to prevent a lot of that I think parents do know best for their kids. We're just trying to equip them with some tools to do these things.
Melissa Ebken 13:56
You know, and sometimes parents are so burdened and stressed with trying to get through the day, that they just give what they can, and they don't have it to give.
Luke Grim 14:08
My gosh, it's tough. Yeah. You get home at six o'clock at night. Just picture a stereotypical mom or dad. They get home at six o'clock. They've been working all day. And they want me time. I want to get some food. I hope my spouse made dinner. I want to open the fridge and get a beer. I want to sit on the couch and watch what I want to watch on Netflix and all of a sudden 9:30 your night. Your kids went to bed didn't say good night, and a day is gone. You lost another day. Well, how many days that go by into like, gosh, I lost a month. Gosh, I lost a year. So someone's listening to this and you if you were to rewind seven days, 30, 365 When's the last time we've had some really intentional conversation with their kids. And if we've lost that time, don't be disheartened. Let's just start after today.
Melissa Ebken 14:57
So how do we start Luke? Tell us a little bit about your websit and how you help parents have these conversations.
Luke Grim 15:03
Oh, shameless plug. Here we go. Yeah. If somebody were to get on the internet, that's it's a new technology. It's sweeping America. Again, the WWW dot internet. Oh, the interwebs? Yes, it's in Indiana. I don't know if it's where you are. Yeah. And if they went to these16things.com. So Brian Perry, he started
Melissa Ebken 15:27
Quick question, is 16 a number or typed out.
Luke Grim 15:31
It's a number we need to buy the website where it's typed out and just have it redirect, we'll eventually get there. But one, six, these 16 things with the one six, it's going to ask you for your, your email address. So we'll get to that you can even skip that for now. We have a drop down of 16 items that we have noticed are very important. Parents think they're important. We've gotten feedback. And imagine you're holding an umbrella. So these 16 things are the big umbrellas and under them are a bunch of little things we could talk about. Okay. So on a Monday and a Thursday, when somebody signs up for a newsletter, you're gonna get an email address. So I wrote the newsletters for this week. And this week, we're talking about relationships and pornography and the effects its having on boys. And what it does to masculinity and how it affects relationships down the road. Let's just pause. Somebody just heard me say the word pornography and felt, oh my gosh, God speaking to me, oh my gosh, I feel guilty. Oh, my gosh, I'm addicted. This is not about the parents. That's a whole separate conversation. We are not here to judge. We're not here to do any of that stuff. However, even the most addicted dad does not want their sons to get addicted, though. I mean, we're talking about a dad that is in deep, they're sunk now embarrassed, they feel shame. Even that dad doesn't want their kids involved. Even even porn stars don't want their kids addicted to stuff. Nobody does. But many times. It's such a tough topic to have the conversation. We leave it alone. Then if we want to add insult to injury, Melissa, a lot of parents, we pay for a cell phone and give it to our teenagers. You know, it's like we're saying here, we're not going to tell you about the dangers, but just good luck. Okay, so this week, we're I kind of had to explain it. So look, these are the stats. I didn't know this until I research about 35% of downloads on the internet are porn. 35. And this is from last fall. It's from a September research. 35%. Okay, so here's what the newsletter is about. I'm kind of framing this week's newsletter. But generally speaking, it looks like this. I'll have some scriptures about whatever the topic is, then I'm going to, you know, kind of explain some things, get some words of encouragement, then it all culminates with, look, please take the next couple of days, find your teen or teens to bring to the table, put all electronic to the side. And it's just the two of you. Talk about this thing, put it out there. Even if you have an issue with this thing. Your kids think you're the expert. You can be dirt poor, your kids think you're the financial expert to them, you are. So have this conversation. And it's okay if you gotta carry it forward to the next day. So yeah, so that's what the website is we have these these hot topics. And we have videos we put on YouTube. And so each of the 16 things you can sign up there for the newsletter. There's no money, there's no cost. I haven't made a penny yet. Maybe in five years, I'll make 10 cents, I don't know. But it's an outreach, trying to get parents some confidence to have these uncomfortable conversations and let's improve let's improve our families. Let's win back some ground, Melissa.
Melissa Ebken 18:44
Yeah, I'm in. I'm in let's do it.
Luke Grim 18:49
Yeah. So when Brian writes the newsletters, I'll get I'll get mine on a Monday and Thursday that he wrote, he's the guy that started it. He brought me in later, I sit down with my kids. And they're awkward. I mean, they're tough. My oldest two are 12 and 13. There are pretty awkward conversations. But if I don't have them, who do I want to have them? Do I want him to go to school? And have them with kids? No. Do I want him to have them with teachers? No. Why would any public school teacher have any business talking to my kids about pornography? I don't care what their angle is. It's just not their job to do that. Well, what if I don't do it? So yeah, so yeah, it's tough. It's awkward. And we go through sometimes scenarios. But what really, really matters to Brian to me is that we paint the end game, like look kids and for me, it's daughters. Girls, you're gonna leave the house. And if you meet a guy that admits or knows he's on porn, this is what you can expect a relationship and this and this, boys listen. studies are showing that people are having less and less kids because men are having issues in the bedroom now. Family sizes are getting smaller. It's not just a coincidence, you can't just blame COVID. Ladies, when you have a man that's staring at this stuff, they're judging you against everything that they're watching. They're taking all. Whether they want to or not. That's right. Yeah. And they're taking all these images into the bedroom. And it's gonna ruin a relationship. So we let's fix it with our teens that I don't want my kids that to step into this danger area when they're older. And my one boy, yeah, we're gonna have some tough conversations when he's older, too. I don't want him to fall in the trap. So again, it's not judging any parents. That's not what this is. This is saying, look, let's be intentional. Let's get uncomfortable. Let's let's fix some things.
Melissa Ebken 20:37
Absolutely. Have the hard conversations lean into them. Because like you said, somebody will somebody will. When I was a young girl of a certain age approaching a certain age, thank goodness for Judy Blume. That's who I had my conversations with. And I don't know where I would have been without Judy Blume. To be honest, uh, you know, back in those days, parents did not have those conversations very often with their kids.
Luke Grim 21:10
Yes, no, you're absolutely right. Let me let me kind of pay this back to the army. Do you remember the names of your drill sergeants?
Melissa Ebken 21:22
One or two,yeah, not generally no. Okay. I get impressions of them. But I can't really recall their names.
Luke Grim 21:33
You were telling me a story about one of your achievement medals. About being the distinguished honor graduate of your your schooling as mechanical school. Was it mechanic school? Yeah. So I would call that, getting that award and remembering the details of that. You may have forgotten a lot of the details of your schooling. Just like I have, and we'll forget tons of details elsewhere. But I would consider getting that award a significant emotional event. Absolutely it was. Yeah, rightly so. And we all have these significant emotional events. These these triggers like man, I can't remember what I had for breakfast two days ago. But I remember this thing three decades ago; we're all like that. Okay, so let's, let's put these conversations in the eyes of the kid. Right? Whoever's listening, picture your kid, they don't have these conversations with you. They're not ready for them. They don't. They are ready. But they're not ready for you. They don't know how you're going to be. It's uncomfortable. They're not going to engage. They really don't want it. They don't expect it. And here you come. Sweetie, let's go to the table. You already know I love you. Now, let me show you that I love you. Like what is going on with dad, and you sit down to the table in it is a tough conversation to get through. And they're not all about pornography. We've had conversations about serving. Last one I wrote was about how we tell our kids to be leaders, well do they know how to be followers. And do they know how to be servants. We talked about Jesus drop into a knee, washing the dirt and the grime off of his disciples feet, and then drying them with the cloth around his waist. I mean, this is the son of the Creator of the Universe doing this. What greater picture of servitude? Well, your kids probably aren't expecting that conversation either. But when it's done, even if there's a debate or an argument, even if you don't agree on everything, they're gonna walk away remembering that. And your 15 year olds, one day will be 25. And they'll have a little kid and they're gonna think, Gosh, I remember my dad did this. I want to do it when I'm older. You'll have no idea. But we're creating significant emotional events. Melissa that sounds good to me.
Melissa Ebken 23:35
Absolutely. And I remember a particular conversation I had with my son, he was, oh, he was young, probably 9/3 grade or so. Fourth grade maybe. And he was going to be around some older kids. He was in some sports and different things. And I found some books that I wanted to use to talk about sex. And I sat down and I had the books and I said I wanted to talk to you about this. And he said, Mom, he paused. And he said, I know it's a thing. But I'm not ready yet to know that. And so I said, Okay, I can respect that. Yep, you're gonna hear a lot of stuff. Some of it will be true. A lot of it will not be. Some of it is going to blow your mind with the true things and the false things. But I want you to know, I am always going to tell you the truth. I am always open to having this conversation and we will down the road. And I feel like that was a really formative moment for the two of us. And I really appreciated the fact that he can say I just don't want to know that yet.
Luke Grim 24:55
Do you know if you do remember if you had a follow up conversation to that?
Melissa Ebken 24:59
We have he's an internal processor. He doesn't like to talk about things outwardly until he's had time to think about it and process it and through the years. We haven't had one that I can point to sit down long conversation, but we've had little ones along the way. I feel like the doors open. And you know, as he has relationships, we have an ease and talking about those things.
Luke Grim 25:23
Yeah. How old is he now?
Melissa Ebken 25:25
Luke Grim 25:26
So this is great. Let's use your kid as an example here. And for everyone listening, just put your kid out. Let's focus on Melissa's kid. Melissa, I'm willing to bet that when your kid finishes high school, and they move out whenever that is, you would like your son, we're talking about your son. We would like your son to call home occasionally. Yeah, yeah, you'd like your son to come home for Christmas. And not just you having a guest bedroom for him. But can you imagine he gets a place and says mom, I have always got a guest bedroom for you guys. It's a relationship. Well, I consider what we're talking about here is a funnel. So let's say you're out of windshield wiper fluid in the car. And you want to put some more in Well, some people need that funnel, it's got the really narrow end and opens up. Okay. So take the big open ended that represents freedom, relationships, and the narrow end is discipline. If we can get some of the discipline in some of these conversations, when they're young, when they get older, truly opens up. So when your 13 year olds 18, we don't want them leaving the house and remember, Mom and Dad is the tough, strict disciplinarian, you may have been when they're younger, but if that's how they leave the house, they're less likely, I believe, to want to have that relationship with you. So you opening the door, oh my gosh, I want to be like you when I grow up. I want to have that with my kids. I love that concept of having them want to come back. I love it. Good job Melissa.
Melissa Ebken 26:52
You know, thank you. And I really like having conversations with them of when I'm struggling, or when I'm insecure when I feel vulnerable. Because you don't always see that in someone. And as a pastor, I'm up in front of people. And that's not what I project though I often feel it. And he's shocked if I share that. Like, really, like yeah, you know, I was doing this. But there was a big part of me inside that wanted to kind of run away and cry in the shower for a while. And he's, that's always surprising. And I think those conversations are really important too. That, here's what I did. Here's how I handled it. Here's what I'm going to do now. And now that I did go crying in the shower, and I'm able to have this conversation with you. You know, it's important for you to know that you're gonna have vulnerable times.
Luke Grim 27:50
I might steal the apologizing piece as a future lesson. guys to think about as parents, we tell our kids, hey, you need to apologize for this. What you did to her was wrong. You can't punch her. You can't push her. Don't steal. You should apologize. But when do our kids ever hear us apologize for anything? Because we feel like we have, you know this base of power and we don't want to lose that. But if we can teach our kids that skill. Oh my gosh. I'm going to steal that and make that a lesson one day. Awesome. Yeah, I've really, really. Yeah, copyright copyright. Melissa.
Melissa Ebken 28:25
You don't have to worry about that.
Luke Grim 28:28
Every time somebody uses the word apology, you get five cents. Okay, well I'm in. Well, you know, when I was in the army, I was in Korea and Fort Bragg and Korea, Fort Bragg and I was always in the barracks. I always had a dining facility to go to, three meals a day. I didn't have to pay for electricity. I didn't have to pay for any utilities. I didn't have to pay any kind of mortgage, any kind of rent. And then the army sent me to the middle of Minnesota to go be an army recruiter for few years. Now I'm living on the economy. So let's let's take let's kind of go from the soft skills of morals and values and go to hard skills. I was not ready to handle finances. I was not ready to cook. I was not ready to buy furniture. I'd never had any kind of maturity in that in that realm. And so when my wife met me, I had been out there in Minnesota for about a year and a half. And when she stopped by my apartment for the first time, I had no couch. I had no bed. I had no chair. I had no dresser. I had no nightstand. I slept on the floor. I'd put a little sheet down on the floor. And I'd cuddle up with my little blanket, and had a 13 inch TV with a little DVD player on the side. And I'm sure she was thinking straight out of a movie. Did you just move in? I had been there for a year and a half. And out of the 21 meals a week easily 19 of them are fast food or gas station because we're recruiting always driving and the other two are probably Ramen. I was a mess. I was immature and I'm thinking I wish I would have grown up sooner with caring about cooking knowing how to cook, knowing how to really handle finances better. And it's not that my dad did a poor job at all, he probably thought I would be okay. But that's really the point of our website is being intentional and making sure our kids are ready to function. So,
Melissa Ebken 30:14
Yeah, and in some of the soft skills that translate across many of those different areas are discipline over motivation. We have to use, we have to be committed to doing the things we need to do. Whether or not we feel like, you know, basketball practice, we may not feel like going to the gym that day, but we do it because the practices are scheduled and we'll be benched if we don't go. Putting in the time to fill in the blank. Whatever skill, we have to have the discipline to do it. Whether or not we feel like it. I don't wake up on a Saturday morning thinking I can't wait to scrub the toilet. Man, I can't wait to get my hands in there. Because I live with guys. I really don't look forward to you know, doing that. But the discipline, time to clean the bathroom. I don't want to have a life where I have a gross bathroom. So it's the discipline of doing it. Or any other chore. You know, it's I think teaching them of you do what you got to do. Whether or not you feel like it. And my that I use that I read this, this isn't an original of mine, but I love it. Somebody's a teacher once said her response to any kid who says Why do I have to learn this? I'm never going to use it and she said no. But what you will use is the practice of doing what you don't want to do. Even doing something you have to do even if you don't feel like doing it.
Luke Grim 31:49
I have so many thoughts. The discipline piece you should turn that into a YouTube short what you said about discipline. So Jocko Willink from SEAL Team Six the commander he's got his own podcasts out there. What a sharp guy. I listened to one of his four minute things on PragerU a few years back about discipline, and almost word for word what you said. I mean, this is a prior SEAL Team Six Commander, the SEAL team that we all hear about. This is the guy that ran one of those SEAL teams for a couple years. I mean, this guy's out there motivational speaker and yes, how do we get our teenagers to understand when you don't want to work out but you want the end result of working out? You got to do it anyways. You don't want to cook? Well, here's what the other end result looks like. So when I wasn't cooking, Melissa on one physical fitness test, I failed the run. And I busted my body fat. I had never done any one before that I've never failed since then. That was a wake up call. I was not prepared for the for the consequences. I don't feel like cooking. Well, this is what happened. I don't feel like exercising. Well, that's what happened. That's a tough lesson to learn as a 27 year old at the time. So yeah, yeah. How about our kids don't do that? So I love your definition discipline, you should really turn that into a YouTube short, I think you should do. So the algebra. I also saw a shirt one day, I think it was in Kuwait. And it said another day of not using algebra. Like okay, that's that's kind of clever. And my daughter finished Algebra 2 just last week, and we're talking about Dad, am I ever gonna use this? Isn't that the classic question, right? And algebra and trig? Am I ever going to use it? No. If you get an engineering you will, but otherwise, what you're learning is the ability to think this way processes this way, develop this. That's what you're getting from this. She's nodding. She totally understood. How many times Melissa, do you think kids are like, Oh, well, I'm never going to use this. Yeah, you're right, sweetheart. Just put it down. What did that just teach them?
Melissa Ebken 33:51
Or what about a situation where there's some knowledge you don't know? But there are some things you do know. And you use the things you know, to extrapolate and figure out what you don't know. Is that not an Algebra problem?
Luke Grim 34:08
No, that's great. Not to bring it back to our website these16things.com. But one of those items on there is learning independently. Yeah, learning independently. When our kids, they're working at Walmart, right? They're stocking boxes. And an opportunity comes around to go be a manager. Is the kid let's say, let's say your kid says I'll do it. I'll raise my hand. I'll do it. Well, now they're expected to learn things on their own and no longer have someone hold them by the hand and walk them through everything. And if they fail at that. They don't get demoted back to the boxes. They get fired. They just get let go because you couldn't handle the position you're in. They don't demote they always promote but companies don't typically demote they just let you go. So yeah, how do we teach kids to learn on their own? I think that the algebra concept you're bringing up is a prime example of if you can pick these things up and learn how to do this stuff, I tell you what the sky's the limit for you.
Melissa Ebken 35:06
For sure. And I will tell you, as a pastor of a small rural church, I have used the Pythagorean theorem in a board meeting.
Luke Grim 35:16
No kidding. No kidding. Do you remember why?
Melissa Ebken 35:20
Yes, we have a space where our fellowship hall, our social gathering area is adjacent to our kitchen. And there's an open space in between the two, where if you're in the kitchen, you can look out like a big picture window type thing into the gathering area there. And we were wondering if something would fit through or fit on or whatever. And I said, give me a minute, what are the dimensions of that? And I wrote down on my piece of paper, a squared plus b squared equals c squared. And I solved and came up with the response.
Luke Grim 35:54
You are a walking testament to the power of geometry.
Melissa Ebken 35:58
I love geometry, it's all logic. Yeah, the tree is just logic.
Luke Grim 36:02
Geometry was fun, I'm with you on that geometry was fun. So I'm thinking about, not related to geometry. But there's another item on there 16 things about standing, standing for truth and standing against culture. There is a push from culture, that if we are not careful, as parents, we're gonna lose our kids. I don't remember how it got brought up. I don't want to go into specific like LGBTQ or immigration or abortion. I don't know how far we want to go into this. But some of these things in culture, if we're not careful, they will take hold of the souls of our children. And it may be a decade or two until they realize this is like a life altering thing. And I've hit up some people about culture. And I try to explain that culture, decade after decade, century after century, it's been proven wrong, it steered people wrong. If you want to look at recent example, this suppose last century, we had people spraying blacks down with fire hoses. Really, if you were born in certain parts of Europe, in 1930, you were taught that this way of life is okay. I'm talking about whole nations, nation size, people thought this stuff was okay. Nazi Germany, if you and I were born, in Mississippi in 1830, we were taught that slavery wasn't just acceptable, it was culturally appropriate. That's what we were actually taught. But if you were born in the exact same decade, up north or way out west, you were not taught that. So just because culture teaches something doesn't make it okay. And so we have a nation of kids that are getting jacked up right now. And yeah, parents are like, well, let the I don't want to get in the way. And this is what they're going to do. I don't want to take a stance. But I'll tell you, Melissa it's fascinating. If your 13 year old, walked in one day, I don't imagine I don't know, if you have beer in the fridge, and your 13 year old go to the refrigerator and just opens up the door and gets beer, you would not stop your 13 year old because he's not 21. That is not the reason you would stop them. It's not because of the law, you wouldn't say it's against the law. That's not what you would say. You would take a stance based on other reasons. We do it all the time. But it's amazing how many parents feel like they're handcuffed on modern day culture issues, so they stay quiet. So the topic we have about standing for truth and standing for Christ, that is my top one of all 16 things. I think that is a heart issue. That is a soul issue. And if parents really wanted to focus in on one, start there. And if you like what you see there, it's probably a good website for you probably liked it newsletter. And if you don't like that, if you disagree, because it is a Christian perspective, I understand. You should still subscribe.
Melissa Ebken 38:56
And you know, a lot of these lessons and values transcend. So, you know, if you have a different faith perspective, a lot of times, you know, the paths lead to similar truths, similar teachings. And I can learn something from you. I can learn something from a different faith website. So maybe not excluded just because of that. Give it a shot. See what you think.
Luke Grim 39:22
You absolutely right. Yeah, there's no 16th there's no 17th thing that says you should be a Christian and here's why. I'd love to have conversation with people about that. But no one's gonna win a conversation like that on a website. So no matter what your faith is, we're not talking about that. We're talking about being intentional with our children and preparing them based on our values at the house. And yeah, that's what it's about. Well, said Melissa.
Melissa Ebken 39:46
Yeah. And that's fantastic. Yep. What last words would you like to leave people with today?
Luke Grim 39:55
I'd like parents to know that you're not alone. Just because I wrote a newsletter this week, it does not mean that I don't have issues with this stuff. When Brian writes his next week, I'm going to sit down because I have issues with this stuff. And I'm gonna do it with my kids. You're definitely not alone. We're trying to get some confidence and let you know you can do this. But it's going to be uncomfortable. And that's the name of the podcast, Persuing Uncomfortable. And you and your kid are going to build a relationship through this. And if they knew, every week, okay, here comes dad. Here's our weekly uncomfortable conversation. They're going to be so better prepared for stuff when they leave the house. It is worth it because these are our kids lives and taking 15 minutes instead to turning on Netflix. Oh, man, they're going to appreciate us for that. It's going to build relationships. So feel empowered, feel encouraged, you're not alone, and you can do this.
Melissa Ebken 40:47
Thanks, Luke. I appreciate it so much.
Luke Grim 40:50
You're welcome. Thanks again, Melissa.
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Christian father/husband, 8 kiddos, active in Jiu Jitsu and reading. Running thru season 1 of The Chosen. That’s something that belongs in a bio…? Right?