May 05, 2021
How Successful Parents Set the Right Family Priorities | S1 EP2

In Episode 2, Steve and Mary open up about how they lived out our faith and set their priorities in order, so that their children could become strong, confident young adults.

Who - or what - should be the center of attention in your family? 

Many parents make their children the singular focus of their family's choices and decisions. 

But maybe....that's not the best parenting method if you want to raise confident, successful children. 

In this episode of The Family Business with The Alessis, Steve and Mary Alessi reveal how they intentionally lived out their faith and made the hard choices that helped their children become strong, confident young adults. 

 With candor and transparency, they share their experiences as parents raising young children and building their church. These experiences map out the daily choices that enabled their children to grow confident and secure in their faith. 

Listen and discover why successful parenting often requires making the tough choices that your children will appreciate in the not-too-distant future. 

Key Takeaways

  • The only way our children will grow spiritually is if we intentionally model love for God and our commitment to a community of faith.  
  • Family life should be focused around the activities that sustain the family as a whole, rather than making children and their desires the central focus. (
  • Parents must refuse to give in to the temptation of allowing their children to choose their own way spiritually without parental input. 
  • Whether children want to go to church or not, parents must lead by example and make attendance and service in a local, healthy church a priority. 
Quotes from The Alessi Family 

“Every family needs to have a single focus and vision.” - Mary Alessi

“He’s not just a Sunday God, He’s a daily God. “ - Steve Alessi

“When it comes to a relationship with Christ, you cannot water it down. You can not sneak it in.” - Mary Alessi 

TFB Question of the Day

What are the full names of all the Alessis ?


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Steve Alessi  0:10  
Welcome to the family business podcast again, where Mary and I are talking about family and business because let's face it, family is everybody's business. So Mary, we are talking today about how we've been able to work, this whole relational thing out with our kids that come alongside of us and serve us in the ministry. And there's some things we can say here that we just can't say on a Sunday... 

Mary Alessi  0:39  

Steve Alessi  0:40  
 ...In a service environment, which is why it's so good to get into these weeds of how it's done. Because for one thing, you have a lot to say, and I got to tell you, I, I say it to you on occasion. And I don't know if I say it always the right way. But you got a lot of great wisdom. Just the way you see things and say things that sometimes the pressure of the the platform podium, because you're trying to communicate a message doesn't always allow you to say. 

Mary Alessi  1:11  
Thanks, babe. 

Steve Alessi  1:11  
Yeah, you're welcome. And so what I'm hoping we'll be able to see and hear from you as we go on is some of that stuff coming out of you naturally, the way it just rolls off your tongue when we're sitting around the house. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I can't pick up my phone quick enough to write that down. Like that little comment you made the other day as we were talking about people. You said, Man, people need to follow the cloud, instead of following the crowd. 

Mary Alessi  1:40  

Steve Alessi  1:40  
 I love that. Little things like that. inspiring. So look, we we have been raised in the ministry, you and I were talking now about these rug rats that we had alongside when we were building the church,

Mary Alessi  1:57  
I prefer the term church rats.

Steve Alessi  1:59  
Church rats. When we were building the church.

Mary Alessi  2:03  
 Mm hmm.

Steve Alessi  2:04  
 And man, there was hardly 50 people in the sanctuary. And yet, those kids, they were jumping in the car, whether they were dressed or not. And we had them out the door and we'd do church. Our focus wasn't on the kids at that time at all. 

Mary Alessi  2:21  

Steve Alessi  2:22  
No. We were just focused on getting through a service, blessing God's people, working with our staff getting that music right, getting that sermon right? The kids were the last thing in our mind, on our mind,

Mary Alessi  2:38  
We were in work mode. We were in build church mode. Yeah.

Steve Alessi  2:41  
Yeah.  You know, that's important for people to know, because some people think, Oh, my gosh, you guys just have this magical thing going on with your family. And what did you do that was so perfect to make it happen? We had our nose down, our head down nose to the grind, as they say right? We were doing our job. And we have a phrase that we'll throw around our church, that what you make happen for God's house, he'll make happen for your house.

Mary Alessi  3:07  
 That's right.

Steve Alessi  3:08  
 Part of the blessing that we have today in our family that comes alongside of us is that we were focused on God's house and God's people. 

Mary Alessi  3:18  
We were.

Steve Alessi  3:19  
Not to the point that we neglected. 

Mary Alessi  3:22  
Never, never.

Steve Alessi  3:23  
But we were focused on God's house. 

Mary Alessi  3:25  

Steve Alessi  3:25  
God's people. 

Mary Alessi  3:26  
And I think it's, it can be so complicated and sound so complicated to get where you, you dream of going with your children and with your family. And along the way, it seems a lot more difficult than it actually is. It's really just making sure you're doing the same simple things consistently all the time, right? It works with disciplining, it works with your job, just get up and go to work. Be there every day, do what you're asked to do. And then in the end, you'll reap a great harvest Well, with our ministry, building our church, we knew God who called us and then Lauren came surprisingly, when we started our church, we had more complications with having Christopher and Stephanie. And then Lauren was a surprise. So she's the age of Metro Life.

Steve Alessi  4:11  
Yep, that's true. 

Mary Alessi  4:12  
And it moved us into a season where we knew really the hand of God was on our lives, because we just so quickly conceived, and we were so thankful, on our own. And then right on the tail end of that she's not even a year old, and we're pregnant with Gaby. So we didn't have a choice to decide, uh oh, we weren't banking on two more kids. So let's stop and just get jobs somewhere. We knew we had to follow the call. And we just went along with our parents in ministry, wherever they went, you know, wherever our parents were, we were. If they had to meet with somebody at the church, we would go and we'd sit there and be quiet and just listen or coloring book. We didn't have iPads or phones back then. But we made it work. And so when our kids came along, we didn't have this preconceived idea that somehow we're supposed to make this nirvana-like childhood for our children. 

Steve Alessi  5:00  
That's true.

Mary Alessi  5:01  
Which a lot of parents fall prey to these days. 

Steve Alessi  5:04  
Okay, when you say that, though, explain a little bit more what you mean.

Mary Alessi  5:06  
Well, we are big believers, that your, your life is your children's life. Now I know you can't take your kids to work with you, if you work at the bank, or if you work at a factory, you work at the car dealership, we get that. But a family needs to have... every family needs to have a central focus and vision for their family life. And I remember, I'll give you an example. Our parents, my mom specifically, was not raised in a ministry home. My grandfather was a railroad engineer. So their family vision was that railroad. And everything, Saturdays, Sunday nights when they would post the schedule, the family, everything they did, the planning of the week was around my grandfather's work at the railroad. 

Steve Alessi  5:55  

Mary Alessi  5:55  
So my mother would tell stories of how they would go there on a Saturday when he was off. And they hated it, because then he'd go in the office and stay all day, when he was only supposed to stay five minutes. But they would go play out on the tracks waiting for him to get done. And really, although you... today we would say, well, the kids can't be bored. Well, the kids, we need to take them to the mall.

Steve Alessi  6:16  
Oh, yeah. 

Oh, the kids should have their own.... This isn't fair. This is your job. No. The family needs to have standards where when we're with dad, we're with dad. And even if he has to go by the office, we're gonna wait. We're going to be there. We're going to find out who his boss is and be around that experience so that you know your dad's world. And I think we have become really a culture where everything's isolated. It's dad's world, his job, mom's world, her job. And then somehow the kids are just supposed to have this incredible Disney like childhood with this perfect school and this perfect after school experience. And then we go to Disney three times a year, it's supposed to be perfect. Well, then we don't like the outcome. Because there's no real central focus and vision around dad, around what that father does, or what the family is supposed to do together. So I think for us, when we started pastoring the church, it was like, Well, whatever dad says what we're going to do. Wherever God leads us, we're going to go and guess what, you're going to be at the church for about five hours, playing with boxes in the back while you wait for mom and dad to get done with what we're doing. I'm not going to just make every day for you that's boring....


Mary Alessi  7:31  
.... this perfect day.

Steve Alessi  7:33  
They came along with us....

Mary Alessi  7:35  
in everything we did.

Steve Alessi  7:36  
And you know, some people, you really do pick and choose what your kids interests are going to be in the future.

Mary Alessi  7:46  

Steve Alessi  7:47  
 Some people want when their kids are young, they're going to make it about sports. So they're going to put them in the different sports and even could get on travel clubs, and so forth. Whether it's soccer, baseball, softball, whatever it is, right? Basketball, football, they're going to put them in that sport. And they're going to make it about that. And they really do. Parents will cater their weekends, and even evenings, around those interests for the kids. The point there is, whatever you do, and focus your kids on at an early age is most likely what's going to be there in the future for those kids, because those kids are going to walk in the harvest of that.

Mary Alessi  8:35  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  8:35  
That's where you put your energy?

Mary Alessi  8:36  
 That's right. 

Steve Alessi  8:37  
Then you expect that to be something that's going to help your kids, sustain your kid, maybe their kids are going to do something professionally in the future. Alright? Maybe it's another art, maybe it's dance, they get involved in dance at a young age, and mom and dad are at the performances, maybe it's music, they're at the recitals. There's a lot of that focus on the kids at such a young age. What happens though, that I have seen, is that, like one guy, I knew his daughters got old enough because he had them in softball, travel leagues, everything. You'd open up his garage and have garbage cans full of softballs. They were just always playing softball. Well, when the kid went to go to college, on a softball scholarship, she told her dad, "Listen, I'm done. Yeah, I don't want to play softball anymore. I'm burned down on softball." 

Mary Alessi  9:32  

Steve Alessi  9:33  
 And the very thing that got her to college was the thing she said no, no longer. I'm not going to do that anymore. So they had to reassess all of that season of the kid's life. And now all these years later, the kid never picks up a softball or plays again. Parents have to recognize when they raise their kids like that, that most likely when they're young, most likely, they're not going to be doing that thing when they're young as adults.


And if it's not going to be with their kids are going to be doing as adults, why sacrifice so much of their time and your energy, finances, and time when they're younger to do it... to the extent that some people keep their kids out of church, because basketball or travel sports is more important. What we did was, we didn't say to our kids, even though they wanted to play soccer, and football and basketball and all of that stuff... we knew their future wouldn't be in that. 

Mary Alessi  10:32  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  10:33  
We knew their future, the Levitical priesthood, there was going to be some measure of ministry in them. So that was going to be something they did, it wasn't something that they were.

Mary Alessi  10:45  

Steve Alessi  10:46  
He just played football, Steph played soccer, Lauren, you know, whatever that was.

Mary Alessi  10:51  
Played the violin.

Steve Alessi  10:52  
Played the violin, they just played those things. But they weren't those things. We knew they were going to be in ministry. So we didn't have that mindset that said, Let me make it all about my kids in all my spare time. We made it about what our destiny and calling and purpose was as adults. 

Mary Alessi  11:13  

Steve Alessi  11:14  
 And the kids had to fit into our world. 

Mary Alessi  11:16  

Steve Alessi  11:16  
 We didn't force ourselves into our kids world. Because our kids weren't old enough, didn't know what they were going to do. They weren't mature enough, they didn't have the mindset for it. We knew our kids were somehow going to be in the church when they were adults so the church was going to be the most important thing. Because it was our calling. Daddy and Mommy's calling, Daddy and Mommy's destiny. So let's fit them into our world, instead of us trying to make a world of, for them that then as kids we were trying to fit in.

Mary Alessi  11:47  
Right. And that gives them a bigger vision for the long haul over their life. There wasn't a whole lot of vision for Lauren to get into violin. She liked it for a season. But if we had thought... if we were the kind of parents that said, Oh, this is it, she's gonna be this world class violin player, because she likes it in the third grade. Well, you can water those plants all you want. But if... if Lauren did not love violin for the long haul, all that energy and time that we put into focusing her being this world class violinist would be wasted. And you don't get a do over. That's one thing we learned about raising kids. You don't get to push rewind and go You know what? Yeah, we push you towards sports and that was a waste. Let's go back and do it again. But you know, Steve, something that we incorporated, having learned from our parents, and we say that because what you're learning today, you can incorporate it right now. 

Steve Alessi  12:40  

Mary Alessi  12:41  
Right now, it is never too late. But they made the main thing, the main thing. And the main thing in our family, both our parents growing up, was a relationship with Jesus. 

Steve Alessi  12:51  

Mary Alessi  12:51  
It wasn't a relationships at school. It wasn't with sports. All those things were fun curricular activities.

Steve Alessi  12:57  
And they did them.

Mary Alessi  12:58  
And we did all those things. The only thing I didn't get to do was be a cheerleader, because my dad thought that was sinful. I wish I had been, I would have been more muscular today. But other than that, everything was about living for God and living for God through serving the kingdom, serving the church. Every Wednesday night. You know, going to church now, parents, y'all have it easy. Because when we were growing up, our parents went almost every night of the week. We didn't watch TV. We were in church, at choir, at prayer, at something. There was service plus we had Wednesday night service, and we had Sunday night services. 

Steve Alessi  13:33  
Gosh, we used to go to church Sunday morning.

Mary Alessi  13:35  

Steve Alessi  13:36  
Then we go to church Sunday night.

Mary Alessi  13:38  
With dinner on the grounds in between sometimes. She didn't even go home. No, we, we did lots and lots of lots of church. 

Steve Alessi  13:44  
Sundays were really church day.

Mary Alessi  13:46  
All day long.

Steve Alessi  13:47  

Mary Alessi  13:47  
And we don't look back and think ever, not one minute, do you? What a waste of time?

Steve Alessi  13:52  
Oh my gosh. 

Mary Alessi  13:53  
I mean, it has shaped us into who we are. And it's given us this real, you know, not just a boost of confidence. But it's created confidence in us that.... I remember Oprah Winfrey said one time, she was interviewing Whitney Houston, I'll never forget this. And she made the statement cuz she was not really raised in church. But she interviewed so many talented artists that were raised in church and she said, "What is it about people that have been raised in church like you, Whitney Houston, that are they are so confident in their gifts, that they can just step out there? You don't have to overcome some sense of insecurity?" And we know it didn't end well with Whitney because she got away from the main thing. Had she stayed in the main thing, could you imagine? But she let the world absolutely destroy her, consume her. But her mama had it right. 

Steve Alessi  14:44  

Mary Alessi  14:44  
She started her out in the right place. But I thought it was so interesting that Oprah analyzed people that she'd met that were raised in the church like we were... 

Steve Alessi  14:55  
Picked up on that.

Mary Alessi  14:55  
...Had something different about them. 

Steve Alessi  14:57  

Mary Alessi  14:57  
And we know that's true. You'll never convince us that that's not true. We lived it and we're raising our kids to live it. 

Steve Alessi  15:04  
So, so let's...let's get a little more specific here. Our kids today are the result of certain things you and I were very intentional about.

Mary Alessi  15:13  
 Very intentional.

Steve Alessi  15:14  
Okay, the first thing was their relationship with God. 

Mary Alessi  15:17  

Steve Alessi  15:18  
 They love, as you've said before, you know, your... your kids are going to love what you love as parents. 

Mary Alessi  15:24  

Steve Alessi  15:25  
If you love God, dad? Most of the time, your son's going to love your God, if you show him at a younger age. If moms ,you know, you're loving, having that relationship with Jesus, your daughters are going to see that and know that that's just natural. That's normal. That's what people do. 

Mary Alessi  15:46  

Steve Alessi  15:47  
He's not just a Sunday God, he is a daily God. 

Mary Alessi  15:52  

Steve Alessi  15:53  
And your choices and decisions then that you make throughout the week, are showing your kids that, hey, I have a relationship with God, which then meant that's intentional. So our kids were at camps, our kids were at conferences for churches, because we weren't thinking we're raising up future church members... 

Mary Alessi  16:15  

Steve Alessi  16:16  
... or church leaders..

Mary Alessi  16:17  
No... right.

Steve Alessi  16:18  
 We were raising up kids that were going to be Christian.

Mary Alessi  16:22  
Would love the Lord. That's right.

Steve Alessi  16:23  
First and foremost, that would have that passion for God. So they would see, in you and I, that our Bible wasn't something that we just had on our phones and would snap an image of a scripture verse and then post it on social media. Our Bible is something we opened up. That's why I try my best on Sundays, man.... tell people bring your Bible.

Mary Alessi  16:46  
Bring it.

Steve Alessi  16:47  
One with pages. The one that you open up and it smells a little old from it sitting closed for a while from time to time. But bring that Bible with you because getting in that Bible let your kids see, man, my dad loves the Word. 

Mary Alessi  17:03  

Steve Alessi  17:03  
 I should be loving the Word. There was some intentionality there at a young age. Not that I'm running around preaching. I don't think I preach to the kids. But they saw something in...all right, dad. He's got a connection with God. 

Mary Alessi  17:18  

Steve Alessi  17:19  
 And this is how I need to do it too. Because our kids model what they see if it's healthy, 

Mary Alessi  17:24  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  17:24  
If it's unhealthy, they'll reject it. 

Mary Alessi  17:26  
They're smarter than we think they are.

Steve Alessi  17:27  
They really are. 

Mary Alessi  17:28  
They are.

Steve Alessi  17:28  
They're... there's so much of what they see in us is helping them determine what is normal and abnormal in life. And if this is normal, not weird, quirky, over the top, you know, like you said, you know, speaking in tongues, just because you're having your cereal filled with a nice bowl of cereal in morning. Oh, speaking in tongues. No not that, that's weird. Quit that. 

Mary Alessi  17:49  
Yeah, yes, please quit that. 

Steve Alessi  17:51  
But when they see that you're opening that Bible and you're studying and they they hear that you're praying, know that you're praying, gosh, I can remember walking by family members doors. And I could hear...

Mary Alessi  18:03  
Oh, my gosh.

Steve Alessi  18:04  
And I just knew that was the normal thing you're supposed to do. Our kids pray today, Mary, not because it's the Christian thing to do. It's the normal thing to do.

Mary Alessi  18:12  
 They've been raised to do, they know. They ..... They've had it modeled. 

Steve Alessi  18:16  
So there' was an intentionality about having a relationship with God. 

Mary Alessi  18:21  

Steve Alessi  18:21  
Church was another intentionality.

Mary Alessi  18:23  
And we had a great relationship with church. Can I say too that, maybe we're talking to somebody here today that will say, you know, I was raised, my parents were really religious, very spiritual. And we went to a church that was very strange, very controlling, we know that. We know that that's out there, we get that that's out there. But that is rare, first and foremost. But it does not mean that that shapes you and marks you forever. There's a right way to do this without that level of control in the church. And there's too much good there to throw that baby out with the bathwater because of a controlling environment, one ....controlling environment, get out of that environment and get a good healthy one. Get your children in a godly, healthy, non controlling church environment, one that understands relationship, that believes in the long haul of relationship, pastors that are shepherds that lead and love their people, and don't love the audience more than they love their people, don't want fame more than they want to make sure that people are growing. Find that place. The Lord will lead you there. But kids don't know what they don't know. When we were raising our children, they don't know what they don't know. We taught them to know. We taught them by modeling. 

Steve Alessi  19:46  

Mary Alessi  19:46  
 That a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing and a relationship, a good healthy one with church, church people. And we would lead that charge. We didn't wait for them to just find it. We pursued the right relationships for our kids all along the way throughout every season of their life when they were little.  When Christopher got a little bit older, you pursued healthy relationships from men around him to help shape him. 

Steve Alessi  20:14  

Mary Alessi  20:15  
With our girls as they've gotten older, the right women in the church that have endorsed my voice, and helped me? I've not, you know, just thought, Well, I'm the pastor's wife. I know it all. No, I don't know it all. 

Steve Alessi  20:26  

Mary Alessi  20:27  
We had to make sure we surrounded our kids with more voices that really signed off for mom and dad. Oh, Mom and Dad aren't wrong. They are right. They're saying the same things as mom and dad are saying.

Steve Alessi  20:38  
Yeah. No, we made church in... intentional.

Mary Alessi  20:41  
We did.

Steve Alessi  20:42  
 We made sure that they were... and when I say church, not just going, but they were involved in all the programs, and they were connected with the people that we were connected with. 

Mary Alessi  20:49  
Yes they were. 

Steve Alessi  20:50  
And what's so beautiful about a healthy church.... You mentioned a controlling church, really a controlling church is just unhealthy. 


But a healthy church is a place where there's freedom. And there's Liberty, and there's connection that's taking place because people want it. And... so I'm thinking about all the good lessons that our kids have learned in church, they also learned some crazy lessons or bad lessons. Like one day. I remember we were I picked up Chris from school. He must have been, I don't know, 12 years old, 11 years old or something like that. 

Mary Alessi  21:24  
The scary years. 

Steve Alessi  21:26  
Yeah. Gosh, you don't want to see his pictures back then.

Mary Alessi  21:29  
 Oh, Lord.

Steve Alessi  21:30  
And he cussed one day. Had a cuss word come out of his mouth.

Mary Alessi  21:34  
Our perfect, precious little boy? 

Steve Alessi  21:35  
And I'm like, we didn't make a big deal at it in front of him. You know, we were kind of like, Don't Don't blow it up. Don't make it look like it's that bad. Because I never wanted our kids to feel shamed at something as stupid as a cuss word. Remember my lesson on what is a real cuss word and what is not a cuss word? 


If you call...

Mary Alessi  21:56  
If you say it in anger...

Steve Alessi  21:57  
... yeah. Or you're trying to insult somebody than it's a cuss word. But if there's something that a dog dropped....on the ground, while it was walking through whatever, 

Mary Alessi  22:09  
And you stepped in it....

Steve Alessi  22:10  
You stepped in it, then it is that.

Mary Alessi  22:13  

Steve Alessi  22:13  
 But the moment you go calling somebody that, that's.... that's when it's a cuss word. Remember all that? So here, Chris is, he cusses. And I'm like, gosh, I gotta find out where he heard that. Did he hear it from Mary?

Mary Alessi  22:25  
No, because I would've washed his mouth out with soap.

Steve Alessi  22:27  
 Did he hear it from me? No, I'm pretty, pretty careful about those things. And I'll never forget. I'm driving, taking him to school one morning. And this is like a couple days later, I say "Hey, Chris, by the way, you know, you said that cuss word the other day, and we laughed about and talked about it. But tell me something. Where did you hear that?" I'm thinking he's gonna tell me from school. you know. He says, oh, dad, so and so at church said it. He says, Yeah, so and so at church said it the other day, and I thought it was a funny word. I said, Well, so and so did say it. And so ... our kids learned the good in church. They also learned some of the not so good, but keeping them in the church like this is so important, which is why I've told you about this single mom that I see around our church. 

Mary Alessi  22:56  

Steve Alessi  23:19  
 I'm just so impressed with her. That she comes and she's been coming for a couple years now. But I see her rallying her teenage kids to get in church with her. 

Mary Alessi  23:29  
Oh, yeah.

Steve Alessi  23:30  
She's working. There must be four or five of them. 

Mary Alessi  23:32  
There's a lot of kids. 

Steve Alessi  23:32  
There's a lot of kids that she's bringing.

Mary Alessi  23:34  
And they're all teenagers. 

Steve Alessi  23:35  
They're all teenagers, and some of them are friends of her kids. 

Mary Alessi  23:38  
It's true. 

Steve Alessi  23:39  
And I see her doing the work. Her daughter, couple years ago at a youth camp was one of our best testimonies. And we used her video testimony because she was so overwhelmed by what happened. I think of that single mom who says, You know what, I need to make church a priority. I'm going to intentionalize church. You can do this married, you can do this single.

Mary Alessi  24:00  

Steve Alessi  24:00  
 Kids have to see that church is a priority. 

Mary Alessi  24:06  

Steve Alessi  24:07  
 It can't just be another suggestion for them. It's got to be a priority. We did it for our kids. And we're thankful. Because as we did that our kids loved what we loved, which was really the house of God and then the people of God.

Mary Alessi  24:20  
And you know, Steve, I don't want to dive into this fully on this podcast. We'll probably talk about it in the next couple ones. But one of the things, if we're being fully honest and transparent here that we've talked about for many years that burned me up, that just get under my skin I have to ask God grace for... is when I hear a precious parent say to me, "I don't want to push my kids. I want them to decide." 

Steve Alessi  24:43  
Get ready for the wisdom. Go.

Oh my gosh, that's when I literally... as and as I get older, I have a very hard time being gracious about it. Because I see what a lie from the enemy that has become and it has anchored in the belief system of parents. That is an indicator that they've listened to the world and not listened to the voice of God. I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend. But we've watched this from the front row, how many years? It plays out every single time, you can either take our instruction, heed it, and do it and you'll have what we have or don't. And listen, we're gonna pray for you that mercy and grace, guide you and assist you with your children. But we don't live in a culture anymore more where kids can, quote unquote, make their own way, the world has gotten way more scary, way more dangerous. And the enemy is seeking whom he may devour. Moms and dads, single or not need to be very clear... I want to be clear here. There is no "I don't want to push my kids." And here's why. Do you push them at six o'clock in the morning to get up and brush their teeth and do... do their hair and make them go to school? Do you push them to get to school on time? Do you push them to make sure their grades are good? Do you push them to make sure that they come straight home after school because you're afraid of what could potentially happen to them? Do you push them to practice their piano? Do you push them to make sure they show up to the sports that they're included in? Yes. And you shame them when they're not A students. You push them. They don't get to choose. If they got to choose, they'd stay in bed every day. You think a 12 year old would go to school if he didn't have to? Absolutely not. But when it comes to the most important thing in their life, that they will build their life on? Everything, have good, good gifts that God wants to give you flows out of your relationship with Jesus Christ. You really think you're going to let kids who don't know what they don't know, make up their minds? Well, then just get ready to sit in church by yourself. Because they're not coming

 They're not. 

Mary Alessi  26:45  
And I can't tell you how many parents I've told "make them come." "Well, you know, I don't want to push them and they didn't...."  I'm not making fun of anybody. I'm sorry. I just get... it makes me frustrated because we know what we're talking about. Make them come. Make them sit in church with their arms crossed. So.... so who cares if they embarrass you?

Steve Alessi  27:04  

Mary Alessi  27:04  
Be a parent. 

Steve Alessi  27:05  
Mary. I hated broccoli. 

Mary Alessi  27:08  
Come on. Preach. 

Steve Alessi  27:09  
Good gosh, my mom would make me sit at that table. 

Mary Alessi  27:12  
Yes, she would.

Steve Alessi  27:13  
Everybody in the house'd be already showered and ready for bed. And I'd still be sitting there over that cold broccoli. And I couldn't get up until I ate it. Stupid thing was of me, I had to eat it every night. 

Mary Alessi  27:25  
Your mom made you. 

Steve Alessi  27:26  
I ended up eating it.

Mary Alessi  27:28  
 That's right.

Steve Alessi  27:28  
 So I never slept at the table. I always somehow figured out a way to get the broccoli what... 

Mary Alessi  27:33  
You did it. 

Steve Alessi  27:33  
I couldn't hide it in my napkin.

Mary Alessi  27:35  

Steve Alessi  27:35  
 It was in my mouth.

Mary Alessi  27:37  
Well, you're making a great point. Because one of the things we should not do, which I see a lot of modern day parents do, is they'll take that broccoli, and they'll put it in a blender, and they'll infuse it in the food. And their kid's eight years old, and he's still eating chewed up broccoli that he doesn't know is in his chicken. And the truth is when it comes to a relationship with Christ, you cannot water it down. You don't sneak it in, you make sure you're living a relationship with God that is out loud that your kids see and want. Church should not be something that number one is negotiable. But why is it a place they don't want to go? I mean, ask that question. Whydon't they want to go? 

Steve Alessi  28:16  
Oh, this can keep going on and on with regards to that right there. Because you know what's going to happen? It's going to affect the future spouse.

Mary Alessi  28:24  

Steve Alessi  28:25  
It's going to affect the boyfriend and the girlfriend that comes into your teenager's life. That's right.

 Here... Here's what you what you realize in life. And there, you're going to see with them, you attract who you are. If a kid is not a church, godly person that's developing their relationship with God, just like they're developing the relationship with their mom and dad, their teachers at school and their friends. If they don't have a god influence there, they're not going to be godly, which then means you're going to attract ungodly people to you. 

Mary Alessi  28:56  
That's right.

Steve Alessi  28:57  
So you don't put them in church, then how do you expect them to find good, solid, healthy, godly people coming around them?

Mary Alessi  29:04  
 You won't.

Steve Alessi  29:04  
We knew even to this day, we've seen it, that God has kept certain people from our kids' lives. 

Mary Alessi  29:10  
He has, that's right. 

Steve Alessi  29:11  
Because that.... that... that is... what is in them is so pure and strong, that it rejects anything that's unhealthy and ungodly. 

Mary Alessi  29:21  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  29:22  
So there's so much more of a benefit to young kids being encouraged. And I mean, not just encouraged, not just, you know, blending up the broccoli in the blender. 

Mary Alessi  29:35  

Steve Alessi  29:35  
You know, get them to church.

Mary Alessi  29:37  
 That's right. 

Steve Alessi  29:37  
If they're bored for an hour and a half, let it be a holy boredom.

Mary Alessi  29:42  
 That's right, Steve.

Steve Alessi  29:43  
 So they're not up in their room, on their phone all by themselves doing their deals.

Mary Alessi  29:47  
Well, because that's the mindset that somehow your children are supposed to just enjoy every single day of their life. And that's false. That's a mistake. You're setting your children up to fail. I know this is another podcast, but you're setting your kids up to fail. To truly believe that every environment they're in is somehow supposed to just feed them and be specific for them. And honestly, technology does it. It sets your children up for expectations that cannot be met. 

Bring them to church, even if they have to sit and listen to you or me teach and they don't understand it. It doesn't matter. The culture of your home is, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and we go to church every time the church doors are open."

Steve Alessi  30:24  
Yep. Well, I hope people are getting that because they want to be able to extend anything of legacy that they have... They want to see their kids later walking and step with them alongside of them and...and ....and all be on the same page and sharing holidays together, and people really wanting to do that together as a family, then there has to be this certain intentionality. And it's how we have built our family business ministry with our kids involved. That was some of the other things that church was one of them. God, relationship with God was one of those things that were very intentional for us. So hopefully some people have learned something but here, I don't know if people know your full name. 

Mary Alessi  31:04  

Steve Alessi  31:04  
I don't know.

Mary Alessi  31:05  
My full name?

Steve Alessi  31:06  
 Your full name.

Mary Alessi  31:07  
Maria Anjela Elena? That one?

Steve Alessi  31:13  
That one. The one where

Mary Alessi  31:15  

Steve Alessi  31:16  
Nah. What is your legal name?

Mary Alessi  31:20  
My legal name? Angel. No. My legal name.... My legal name is Mary. Elaine. Stallings. Alessi.

Steve Alessi  31:31  
You don't have Stallings in there.

Mary Alessi  31:32  
I don't know what you were asking me. 

Steve Alessi  31:33  
I just... 

Mary Alessi  31:34  
Mary Elaine Alessi. 

Steve Alessi  31:35  
Did they know you have a middle name?

Mary Alessi  31:38  
I don't know.

Steve Alessi  31:38  
Did they know your middle name?

Mary Alessi  31:41  
I don't know. Yeah, Mary Elaine Alessi. My maiden name was Stallings. And I didn't like that because my initial spelled out MES which prophesied over my life. A true prophecy I was a mess for a long, long time. 

Steve Alessi  31:53  
You said it not me.

Mary Alessi  31:55  
Baby. You help me clean up.

Steve Alessi  31:56  
Stephanie's name is what?

Mary Alessi  31:58  
Stephanie Elaine Alessi.

Steve Alessi  32:01  
So she took your middle name. That's very cool. Lauren?

Mary Alessi  32:04  
 Lauren Ann Alessi, named after your mom. 

Steve Alessi  32:07  

Mary Alessi  32:08  
Gabrielle Faith.

Steve Alessi  32:09  
There you go.

Mary Alessi  32:10  

Steve Alessi  32:10  
All right, my name is john Steven Alessi. 

Mary Alessi  32:15  
After your dad. 

Steve Alessi  32:16  
After my dad. And then we named... Of course I go by Steve. Because my dad didn't want a JJ, John Jr. 

Mary Alessi  32:23  
Oh brother.

Steve Alessi  32:24  
 Then we named Christopher Christopher John Alessi. And that John was my father's name and your father's name? 

Mary Alessi  32:34  

Steve Alessi  32:34  
So he shares that together and who knows what they're going to... if our names will survive?

Mary Alessi  32:41  
Well, I just have to say I have to say because I'm very proud of this. You know, two of our daughters are fighting over my name for one of their daughters. So we'll just be interested to see who...

Steve Alessi  32:51  
 Mary? Or Elaine?

Mary Alessi  32:52  
 Mary. They like the name Mary. 

Steve Alessi  32:53  
Oh, sure. 

Mary Alessi  32:54  
That's the most boring name home. 

Steve Alessi  32:56  
Oh, it's not babe. That's a precious thing. All right. We hope you enjoyed the family business podcast today.

Chris Alessi  33:03  
Thanks for listening to the Family Business Podcast with the Alessis. We appreciate you listening and learning with us as we just shared more about the family business. You know, I bet there's someone you know who could use this kind of advice and encouragement, so make sure to share this episode with them and their family. Because let's face it, family is everyone's business. If you want to be a part of our family, subscribe to the show right now on your favorite app and make sure to download the episodes so you can hear them at any time. Oh, and one more thing. One of the best ways to help us spread the word about the family business with the Alessis is by reviewing the show on Apple podcasts or your favorite app. So help us out, write a review and join us next time at the Family Business Podcast with the Alessis.