PBS recently aired a cartoon version of a gay wedding in the long-running cartoon series, “Arthur.” More than ever before, parents need to be vigilant about what they allow their children to watch and listen to. From curriculum to cartoons, today’s parents need to understand this basic truth: education is never neutral. Also in this episode, I’ll be answering a question about Bible study ideas for families and encouraging a homeschool mom who feels like she is failing. Tune in and be encouraged!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- 1 Corinthians 12:14-16
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
- Evangelical Christian Credit Union
- MomStrong International
- Scripture Writing Challenge
- Teach Them Diligently (use code HEIDI12 for a discount at checkout!)
- Firmly Planted Family Bible Study
- AFA, the American Family Association petition
- Luke 6:40
- James 5:17
- Philippians 4:6-7
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
This podcast is brought to you by our friends at Evangelical Christian Credit Union
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, May 27th—it’s episode number 771. I’m so excited that you’ve joined me at my little corner of the Internet. Today is Mailbox Monday, and so—I’m going to be tackling your questions and encourage you. We’ve got a lot of things to cover today.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so first of all, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has been leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. I love this one from Becky. She said, Heidi lifts my day! Her sweet, perky spirit and gentle encouragement to “get off the bench and into the battlefield” (as my 6 year old quoted to me the other day) is life giving. We enjoy her scripture writing challenges from MomStrong International. I print them and use them for a quiet time activity during church, as well, to keep them focused on God’s Word if they can’t sit still. What a blessing to meet you finally at our state capital.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Becky. That was an encouragement to me and all of you who are leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. We really appreciate it. Those reviews and your ratings help to get this podcast out to other people. It kind of lets people know that we have a podcast that will be an encouragement to them. Speaking of being encouragement, we have a sponsor at the podcast and I just want to encourage you to visit them because they are part of what is making this podcast possible.
And the question I asked you guys last time I talked about them is the same one I’m going to ask you today—because I’m hearing from so many of you that you’ve had wonderful experiences with Evangelical Christian Credit Union. And so here’s my question—do you have children that ask you for money when you don’t have any cash on you? Right? Frustrating? Anybody? A moment of silence. I get it. Allowance might come around or one of the kids wants to get dinner with a friend and they come to you for money. And this is where my friends at Evangelical Christian Credit Union, or ECCU, come in. With their Start Young Account your kids can have access to online mobile banking, the mobile app, and a debit card that they can use in person or online. And get this you guys—no monthly fees! No monthly fees and no fees for purchases. So parents can monitor everything with spending limits and customizable alerts. And this is going to help you—because it will help you build trust and teach your kids godly values about how to manage their money. And you don’t have to worry about running to a bank or an ATM for cash. You could transfer money right there on your phone to their account in just a moment. So I want you guys to check it out. You’re going to love it. We love it. Check it out at ECCU.org/Heidi.
All right, I want to get to your questions today. For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know that I love to answer your questions at the podcast. If you have a question that you would like me to address, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org please put Mailbox Monday in the subject line. And I was thinking about something else that would help us because of the volume of emails that we get. If the very first few words—you can just say “sex ed”, or “homeschooling”, or just something that lets us know what your question is about—that will help me categorize it so I can be sure to get to a variety of different kinds of questions here at the podcast. So again, shoot me an email email@example.com.
All right. The scripture writing challenge for today is found in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. This is the verse that you should be writing out today if you’re following me along in the Scripture Writing Challenge.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 here’s what it says. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This verse is telling us that the person who doesn’t know the Lord is not going to understand the things of God. He won’t understand the things of the Lord. So our job then is to pray for him that he would come to right relationship with the Lord and become born-again. So that he can have that mind that’s being renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, Paul is teaching us in 1 Corinthians 2— we have the mind of Christ, and so we are to be judging everything that goes on around us, through the grid of Scripture, based on what we know to be true about the Word of God.
So there’s a difference between someone who knows the Word of God and someone who doesn’t. And as I start answering your questions today at Mailbox Monday—I want that to sort of be in the forefront of your thinking because the Bible says that we are called to be different. We are different, we have the mind of Christ. And so I’m always asking parents when I’m out on the road and wherever I get the opportunity—are we different? Are we different? We want to be different in the way that we view the world around us.
All right, so the first question I’m going to read to you today comes from an a listener who wants to remain anonymous. And I appreciate that a lot of you send me questions that maybe you might be unwilling or unable—even embarrassed—to ask maybe a family member or something like that. So I don’t mind getting anonymous questions here. And her question was a two part question. I thought it was really good. So she said, Heidi, I’ve been doing my research this year and I came across a wonderful curriculum that I hadn’t seen before. And as I dug in deeper, I realized that the creator of the curriculum isn’t a Christian. And so she goes on to say—the creator of the curriculum is—it’s a Mormon curriculum. And she says—although there’s nothing within the curriculum that’s pushing her beliefs. It’s completely non denominational. I started to wonder if it was okay to even use it.
So, so here’s the thing, sweet anonymous mom. Whatever we teach our children, the Bible teaches us in Luke 6:40 that when a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher. And so you want to be…if you see something in a curriculum…there’s a lot of curriculum that I use with my kids that is secular. And every once in a while I’ll come across something that I’m like—oh, that’s not right—and I’ll correct it. And so I don’t think that the issue is that the thing that you teach your children has to be 100% from a Christian worldview or 100% born-again Evangelical Christian worldview. But if it isn’t, you need to be right in there so that if you see something that’s not right, you can correct it. And this is where—we make mistakes, I think sometimes, when we give our kids curriculum, and we do this, you know, sometimes because we’re tired—sometimes because we’ve, you know, we’re working from outside the home or whatever it is. Or maybe we’re just flat out lazy and we give our kids a book to read or whatever it is. And we don’t realize that the worldview that’s being taught to that child through that book, or through that video, or through that curriculum—is completely antithetical to what God’s Word says.
And so I’m one of those people that, you know, I have been challenged through the years when I see things in curricula, or through a book, or a video, or whatever—that doesn’t line up with the Word of God—to stop what we’re doing and talk about it. So rather than be afraid of that of it, I want to encourage you to teach your children. It’s called apologetics. We teach them—oh, this person said this, but here’s how we know from the Word of God that that’s actually not true and it’s not right. Or if you’re going to ignore because either you don’t have time or you’re not interested in the worldview that that particular teacher or that curriculum is coming from—that’s when I would say, if you want your kids to have a biblical worldview and you’re not going to be involved in what they’re learning, even if it’s a book you give them to read at home—then you better know for sure that what they’re reading is coming from a biblical worldview.
So our job as parents is to shelter them to a certain degree. Right? I shelter my kids from all kinds of things, especially when they’re very little. There are things I don’t want them seeing, don’t want them hearing. This is part of my beef with the cartoon show Arthur. Some of you guys have been watching me on Facebook. PBS has aired their first gay marriage episode—in a children’s cartoon. My kids grew watching Arthur, which is kind of a dumb show, I don’t actually like it. But I didn’t see anything inherently wrong with it. But last week at PBS, which is a tax funded… I’m gonna say that again—it’s tax funded. Your tax dollars are paying for this. It’s a children’s cartoon series. They featured a homosexual wedding for their season premiere episode, on Monday, May 14th. That’s when this happened. The beloved animated series revealed that one of its longtime characters, Arthur’s teacher, Mr Ratburn, was gay and getting married. In the season 22 premiere, they called it Mr Ratburn and the special someone. The students see Mr Ratburn speaking to an uptight lady voiced by guest star Jane Lynch. They fear she is the person Mr Ratburn is going to marry. So they devise a plan to stop the wedding and prevent a life of misery for their teacher. But the kids chicken out when they get to the wedding and don’t stand up to object to the marriage. And they learned that the uptight woman is just Mr Ratburn’s sister who is officiating the nuptials. When Mr Ratburn walks down the aisle, he’s arm in arm with a man. Both grooms grin at all the guests and they smile and celebration at the same sex marriage. The third grade students are happy for their newlywed teacher and their praises further normalize and glorify the gay marriage.
All right, so listen, this is what I’m talking about. You can’t just put your kids in front of a TV show anymore. You can’t send them down in front of Sesame Street like we used to do, or in front of, now —Arthur. I’m very disappointed in PBS, especially because they’re using my tax dollars to promote this. And I guarantee you you guys, the kids are not asking for this. It’s the parents who are really just activists in the industry, which is devoted to, frankly, the indoctrination of children—to say hey, this is normal, this is good—when God says it’s not normal or good. The program is broadcast on PBS kids and they say that their educational purpose is to interest children in reading. But, this episode is a flagrant indoctrination and promotion of the homosexual lifestyle upon impressionable young children and a gross misuse of our tax dollars.
And so I’m going to link to a petition today. AFA, the American Family Association has a petition. It is set up so that you can reach out to PBS and say—Hey, we don’t want you to have this episode. We want you to pull it and no longer air it or future episodes that feature same sex couples because PBS—your job is not to teach our children about sex and morality—it is to teach them to love reading. And clearly that’s not what is happening anymore. So to me, you know, from curriculum to videos to whatever it is that your kids are watching—it’s no longer benign. This is no longer neutral. Education is not neutral. The Bible teaches us in Luke 6:40—when a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher.
All right, next question comes from Amanda. Hey woman. She said—Hi, Heidi. Can you tell us what you do with your homeschoolers as far as anything biblical or a Bible study type of things? I’m considering homeschooling my seven and 10 year old, but when I’ve asked my homeschooling friends, I’ve been surprised to find most of them aren’t doing any kind of thing to build faith. And to me homeschooling is a huge opportunity to do that or to use faith based curriculum. I don’t just want to read through the Bible as we already do that with our kids. I want it to be fun. Thanks.
All right, so first of all, this goes back to the first question and she’s pointing out that curriculum is important. Homeschoolers, we’re supposed to be doing this with our kids. And Amanda, you’re completely right. I think the very best thing about homeschooling is that it gives us an opportunity to train our children in righteousness. And so often we pushed that aside to train them in math, and science, and history, and language, and reading, and writing—and all those things. And we forget that the most important thing that we will ever do with our kids is teach them to walk in right relationship with the Lord. So a couple of things I have to say about this.
First of all, I will link back to some of my favorite Bible study tools, but my husband and I have written a a a Bible study for families that works for little kids. I mean we’re talking toddlers all the way up to high school. It’s called Firmly Planted. It’s a Bible study curriculum for families. It’s sort of done in devotional format, but what makes it different is we read a story to our kids out of a passage that we’re studying. So each book covers 10 major themes of the Bible and then for every story there is a workbook page that corresponds to it. So there are pages for your high schooler to work on that are going to dig deep into that passage and talk a little bit more theological truth with them. And for the younger children, maybe you’ve got a two year old, she’s just going to have a picture to color. And as they get older you’ll see that there are lots and lots and lots of different activities to go with every Bible study. So that’s why Firmly Planted is so awesome.
We wrote it because we have a kids in our home from, you know, little little tiny kids all the way up to high school and we couldn’t find a Bible study that we could use as a family. So that’s why we wrote Firmly Planted. I will link back to it in the show notes today and you can also find it at my store, but it’s Firmly Planted Bible Study and I think you’ll really like it. We are getting ready to make a change in that particular Bible study program and I believe we’re going to be going only to downloadable books. And right now we have a few left in print. So if you’re interested, now’s a great time to get them because when we’re done with this particular print run, we’re going to go solely to a pdf format. So check it out. I will link back to it. It’s called Firmly Planted.
The other thing I want to say about this is if you’re considering homeschooling Amanda, and it sounds like you are, I just want to put a little plug in. Homeschooling is the hardest, best thing, we have ever done for our kids. Hands down, bar none. I’m telling you—you will not be sorry that you did it.
And that brings me to the last question for today. This woman says—Hi Heidi. I have a random question. I just finished my first year of homeschooling. So now Amanda, you’re going to hear from a mom who just finished her first year of homeschooling—moment of silence, because it might not be what you think it’s going to be. She says—I just finished my first year of homeschooling and I feel like I failed. My second oldest son just had open heart surgery for a hole in his heart that we were unaware of. I feel like I do not have a passion for homeschooling. I am tired, unmotivated, and honestly I don’t know what to do. My kids aren’t excited to do schoolwork, but yet they don’t want to go back to school. Please help me.
Okay. Unmotivated, tired Mama, soon to be a mother of five. First of all, can I just tell you—your worst day of homeschooling is going to be better than your kids best day in a public school where they’re taught that they were not made in the image of God, that you are not the final authority, that they evolve from an ape, and that their genders can change at will. All right, so even if you feel like you’ve had a bad year— can I just encourage you?—you’ve done a whole lot better than you think you’ve done. I promise you. My sister just finished her first year of homeschooling and she was feeling pretty discouraged too until she got her kids standardized tests back. And what do you know—her kids tested well above where they were supposed to be. I’m telling you, homeschooling works. So I want to give you just—I’m going to tell you guys a story of one of my worst years of homeschooling. I’ve had some bad years over the 22 plus years that we’ve been homeschooling. But I think one of my worst ones was when I was pregnant with my son Spencer, who is graduating. He’s gonna graduate next week from our homeschool. Oh my goodness. I can’t even believe it. So he’s gonna graduate next week from our homeschool. But when I was pregnant with him, I had a very—just a very, very difficult pregnancy for a variety of reasons.
I had just learned about notebooking, and lap booking, and Charlotte Mason, and delight directed learning, and literature approaches to education. And I was determined to move my family to a point in our homeschooling where we were loving learning rather than just putting notebooks, and workbooks, and videos in front of my kids. And so as I prepared to do this, and my pregnancy with Spencer became more and more difficult—I realized in pretty short order—I wasn’t going to be able to do the things I wanted to do. And sure enough, my doctor put me on bed-rest and then I had a difficult delivery. So difficult birth made kind of just the icing on the cake.
And I remember telling my husband—I feel like such a failure. This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what I wanted for my kids. Really, most that we had done that year—I think my oldest child was in fifth grade at the time—but the most that we had done that year was we had done some math and we’d done some reading a lots and lots and lots of books in the library. This is before the library was promoting the LGBTQ agenda, like they are now—don’t get me started. But we read a ton of books, and you know what? You guys—I took my kids in to have testing done. It’s required here in the state of Washington. I actually am not anti-testing—I actually like the test. It tells me where my kids are, helps me to know what I need to work on more for the next year. So I look forward to testing. But that particular year I thought—you know, CPS is going to come and take my kids and I was just so filled with fear. Obviously they weren’t going to come and take my kids. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but I hadn’t lived up to the standard that I set for myself.
I hadn’t said—Lord, please help me with this. I can only do so much, please. And the Lord showed me something beautiful about himself and this is what it is. That was the year that I learned that the Lord will finish in my children what He has begun in them through me. And the Lord’s going to finish this in your kids, sweet mom, tired, unmotivated mom—soon to be mother of five. The Lord is going to do it. And I really believe that homeschooling is very much a loaves and fishes thing. Because a lot of times as mothers we are busy. It’s not just schooling our kids, right? We’re trying to get dinner on the table. A lot of us are working from home. We’ve got a lot of other things on our plate and I’m telling you what you guys—this is the Lord. He will do it. He will finish it. If you will do your part, God will do His.
Because the most important thing we’re doing is teaching our children how loved they are and that they have a Creator—and that having a creator changes everything. It really does. And so—hang in there. When I took my kids down for that test that year, I took him down in May and I walked him in. The test was being done at our church and I walked in just feeling sort of defeated. And I waited for about two weeks for those test results to come in the mail. And when I opened the letter, I fell to my knees in my kitchen and I just thanked the Lord. Tears streaming down my face. You see, my children had tested, not one, not two, but three grade levels above where they were supposed to be in every subject. And I knew it was the Lord. It was the Lord who took my best that I could offer. The Lord knew that I was on bed rest. The Lord knew that I was exhausted. The Lord knew about the birth of Spencer and how physically and emotional depleted I was. And He watched me giving my children to Him everyday—sometimes not well. Sometimes I struggled and the Lord finished in my children what He had begun in them through me that year. And Mom—that is what God wants you to know. Your children belong to the Lord.
We represent a kingdom that is not of this earth. And I am telling you that as I have walked with the Lord these many years now, and as I’ve seen the Lord take even my failures, even my weaknesses, —and sometimes even my sinful decisions. So an act of the will that I might make that shows that I’m not trusting the Lord—and God uses them. When we take our petitions to Him, God answers our prayers and He will help you. And there is something beautiful about a mama who can say—I did not know what I was doing. I was scared. I feel tired, but I’m going to give my kids the Lord and then let the Lord do what He—I’m not saying don’t try. I’m not saying don’t school your kids. I schooled my kids from bed. I just didn’t school in the way I wanted to and I didn’t think it was enough by the world’s standards.
And God said, guess what? If you give it to me, I’m going to make it enough. I will make it enough. And I’m always telling parents for as many years as I’ve homeschooled, and the years that we felt like we did well, and the years that we felt like we didn’t do well—my biggest takeaway is that God answers prayer, that God is in it. And He wants to answer your prayer, and He wants to be seen as the one that you give the glory to, right? Because like I’ve said many times on the podcast—God’s committed to His glory. He’s not committed to your glory. He’s committed to His own glory.
And the Bible teaches us that whatever we bring to the Lord, He wants us to give the glory back to Him. He wants us to get to the end of our day, or the end of our school year, or whatever it is—fall flat on our face, lift our hands to the heavens, and say—Thank You, Lord, that was all you.
And not just that—He wants us to shout from the rooftops that God is the one who answers prayer. I want to encourage you to dare to pray for great things with your kids. James 5:17 says—Elijah was a human being, even as we are, he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops. This was an incredible thing that God gave to Elijah because Elijah dared to pray for an amazing thing.
So if you find yourself in a season of life that defies human reasoning, or you just think—I can’t do this— bring it before the Lord. I think sometimes we practically to kill ourselves because we didn’t say—Lord, what does this look like for you? Jesus said—take my yoke upon upon you and learn from Me because My yoke is easy—right? And my burden is light. So instead of worrying about next year, instead of feeling like you’re a failure, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7—Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Pray about homeschooling, pray about your marriage, pray about the hearts of your children. Pray about God’s financial provision. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace—which exceeds anything we can understand. And His peace will guard your hearts, and your minds, as you live in Christ Jesus. Are you encouraged, tired and motivated mama, soon to be a mother of five? Because that’s God’s heart for you.
All right, I want to thank you guys for listening today. Before I go, I’ve got a giveaway. So listen up. We’re doing a giveaway today over at my Instagram. Last Friday I had my friends Aaron and Jennifer Smith on. They have a brand new book out called Marriage After God. It releases in just a couple of days and you can win a copy of that head on over to my Instagram. All you’ve got to do is like the post tag, a friend in it, and you could be the winner. So like the post, tag a friend. Tell us why you are interested in getting Aaron and Jennifer’s new book, a Marriage After God, and we’re going to be giving away three copies. So head on over to my Instagram. You can find me at @HeidiStJohn.
Also coming up—I’m going to be in Columbus for the Teach Them Diligently Conference. I’ll be there May 30th through June 1st—just a couple of days from now. And after that I’ll be at CHEC in Colorado from June 13th through the 15th.
Thanks for listening, everybody. Hope you have a fantastic day and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
Write to Heidi:
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682