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Bravotv.com: This week, we see you guys getting the whole family ready for church. Why is it important to have everyone attend?
Ben Tankard: We are very blessed that from my platinum music career and multiple businesses we can finance our great lifestyle. We donate are time as non-salaried Pastors of Destiny Center Church, and because of that reason, it is important to me that the family give just as much priority to coming to church and serving (as a family unit) as they would for something that they would be paid for (like a job, hair show, DJ party, or whatever). I was taught that if you put God first at the beginning of the week (Sunday), then it makes your entire week go better. There is nothing wrong with having "things," but you just don't want to ignore God (and his church) -- and then "things” have you.
Bravotv.com: You gave a few individuals at church $100 bills. What is the lesson you’re hoping to teach those people? Do you impart those same lessons to your kids?
Ben: I consider myself a "reacher" not a "preacher." Therefore, in my lessons, I am always reaching for an example that will hit home with my audience. Personally, I make it a DAILY habit to donate something to someone else (money, time, charity appearance, donation, etc.). The lesson I taught was to NOT let money have you. Give it freely because it can be used as a tool of encouragement or change someone's life. The bible says that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. If you give it away as often as possible, you don't have to worry about falling in love with it. The lesson cost me $500, but it was worth it for me for my 200-300 members to grab that revelation. Furthermore, I know it was a blessing to the several people that received the $100 because they were ALL smiling. I DO teach these principles to my kids, and they have a heart for giving as well. Brooklyn in fact is on several cancer boards and is ALWAYS running in some sort of charity marathon and donating from her hair shows. They are ALL learning that it is better to give than to receive, just like the Bible says.
Bravotv.com: This week you ask your children what their plan is to become a millionaire.
Ben: Yes, it's like telling your kids you want them to make straight As. You know it may not happen, and the Bs and Cs they made are fine because it got them shooting for the A. Nobody trains for the bronze and silver medal. They go for the GOLD, and in return the silver or bronze is what they achieve by attempting to get the gold. I always say, shoot for the sky and the roof will always be there to catch you. Shoot for the roof and the floor is unacceptable.
Bravotv.com: Do you think they are all on the path?
Ben: We are not there yet, but at least we are moving in the right direction. Benji is looking at the International DJ thing. Cyrene is going to college and already has a nail polish and lipstick line in the works. Of course, Queen Brooklyn is the "weave queen," with her hair company and event planning. Britney is holding down her 9-5 customer service job, but is looking over the fence at maybe a wig company and a dance studio. Marcus, our eldest son, is an author and motivational speaker. He and his wife Latisha live in Missouri.
Bravotv.com: Have they ever told you that they feel pressured or scared to meet your expectations?
Ben: They are not scared, but they DO feel pressure from us as parents. My reason for wanting them to set a goal to be millionaires has NOTHING to do with money. It has to do with the person they have to become to attract a million. They are going to have to get up in the mornings (which they don't always want to do), they are going to have return phone calls, keep their word, protect their credit, and create jobs for others. These characteristics that I have instilled in my children are more valuable to me then the money. Money comes and goes, but integrity will last.
Bravotv.com: Has money changed anything about your relationship with Jewel?
Ben: No, not at all. The only thing that has changed is when I get ready to surprise her for her birthday or Mother's Day, the gift is more representative of what I wanted to do for her all along. Back in the early years, date night was a hamburger joint, now we can have a steak. Same love, different menu (though we WILL go old school and grab a greasy burger on occasion).
Bravotv.com: Ben, what do you think of their differences and of Junice’s perspective?
Ben: It's "baby sister" syndrome on steroids. Jewel is a powerful mover and shaker and she casts a very big shadow. . .Junice has been in Jewel's shadow for many years, and I guess she felt like it was time have a coming out party. I believe down on the inside Junice has had some of the same over-the-top dreams as Jewel (in fact they both were executive level movers and shakers for the same network marketing business for years). Somewhere down the line the communication stopped and they have grown apart. I believe it will all work out though in time. They just need space to miss each other and recharge the "sisterhood battery." I always saw them as Batman and Robin, but I guess Robin is a little mad at Batman this week.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of Junice's decision to move? She made a major statement to Jewel when she told her "You are NOT the boss of me." What did you think of her decision to not tell you guys?
Ben: It was totally new for them to NOT tell us. They have lived in Tennessee for several years, and moved a couple times as they worked their way up the ladder in size as their family grew. Because we are so close as a family, we were ALWAYS involved with their moves and often participated in housewarmings, home selection, etc. For them NOT to tell us this time was a major change, which blindsided the entire family. It was totally their RIGHT to not tell us. . .But compared to how they have been for years, it was not normal. And what agitated the family was Junice insisting that this WAS normal, and that they did this "all the time."
Bravotv.com: Benji and Brooklyn butted heads at her event. Who do you think was at fault?
Ben: Per usual, Brooklyn is the brilliant visionary and very creative, but NOT organized. Per usual, Benji is organized but not as creative (or flexible). It was EQUAL fault of both parties. I was highly upset that they were acting out on each other in public. . .They both know that daddy does not play that. Events come and go, but family is forever and they must always protect one another. After all, blood is "thicker than water."