Are emotions running high in your house right now, or are you unicorns? I had my friend Tricia Goyer join me today, and we’re talking about how to help our kids (and maybe ourselves, ahem) process all the emotions they might not even know they have.
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Philippians 4:8-13
Resources Mentioned In Podcast
- Harvard Law Professor Attacks Homeschoolers, as She Envisions Them by Mike Farris
- Free printable 40 page journal
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- Stay Home Journal on Amazon
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Tricia Goyer is a prolific author of more than seventy books. She is a homeschooling mom of ten, grandmother of four, and wife to John. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana and now leads a teen mom support group in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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Hey everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast. Today is Monday, April 27th. This is episode 916. It’s Mailbox Monday here at the podcast. One of my favorite things to do is to go through my inbox and answer your questions. Today I have a special guest on the show with me and she’s going to help me answer the question from a listener who really is struggling with how to help her daughter deal with her emotions during a crisis. You guys are going to love this, it’s really going to encourage you. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Thanks for tuning in today, everybody. Thank you so much you guys for leading the way in awesomeness as far as podcast listeners go. I so appreciate it when you guys head over to iTunes and leave reviews for the podcast. It’s encouraging to us. We read every single one of them and they really help us spread the love here at the Heidi St. John podcast, so thank you so much for doing that.
We are coping over here. I actually … You guys know me, I don’t like to beat around the bush, I’m not really into pretenses, and I’m having a rotten time, just having a rotten time. I’m starting to … I’m going to write my own No Good, Very Bad Day book. I’ve really been … I’m right in the middle of writing a book also and that has had its own challenges because I’m sort of focused on suffering and what’s going on in our lives collectively as a nation right now and trying not to have the book be all about that, you know what I’m saying?
Appreciate your prayers for us, thank you so much. Several of you have sent in donations and that has been very, very helpful, especially right now since I’m not on the road, so I thank you for that. Speaking of being on the road, I’m looking forward to getting back. Anybody else? Anybody? Anybody? I’m really thankful because some of the conferences that I had been scheduled to speak at in May and June have rescheduled. FPEA for Florida. I just got added to the speaker lineup for CHAP in Pennsylvania and for Teach Them Diligently in Mobile and Columbus. Those guys are rescheduling and are expecting to hold their conventions and they’ve had to adjust the dates to meet state requirements for large gatherings but they’re pushing through, so I’m really proud of them, good for those guys. I know there are others who haven’t been able to do that and we’re going to see them back next year, but it’s good to feel the anticipation of getting together again in the air, it’s definitely happening.
My speaking page has been updated with the new events, dates, and locations. You guys can hop over there and see if I’m going to be in your neck of the woods anytime soon. That is heidistjohn.com/events. Right now FPEA has been rescheduled to June 18th through 20th in Orlando, Florida and it looks like my July is jam packed, every weekend almost in July I will be speaking. Hopefully, Lord willing, the nation’s going to open up and we can get moving again. I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready, I’m absolutely ready.
Also, if you would like your question answered here at Mailbox Monday, the way to do that is to go to heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday. You can do that anytime, and like I said, always please short and sweet and to the point. We have a staff that looks those over and we love to answer your questions, so feel free to do that.
Well, I have been really poring over your questions. I love to hear from you guys, I love to hear what God’s doing in your heart, and I also love that I happen to know some really smart people who are good at helping me answer questions. Since the COVID-19 thing has happened I’ve had a lot more access to people that I normally would not have instant access to. You guys heard me with my friend Mike Ferris on the podcast, which by the way if you haven’t seen his rebuttal too the horrible article that Harvard University put out on homeschooling and how it’s horrible for children and how it should be regulated to death or banned, you really need to, in fact I’ll link back to it in the show notes today, fantastic.
And today my friend Tricia Goyer is back on the show with me. Tricia is like some sort of savant, I think, when it comes to writing. That woman cranks out more books than I could probably ever hope to do in my lifetime, in the month of May. She has recently come up with a really awesome way to help children deal with their emotions. She’s created a journal and it’s super awesome. She showed it to me about two weeks ago and I love it. It’s so precious and it helps to answer the questions that I’ve been getting recently on how we can help our children process through their emotions.
I’ve called Tricia that she should come on the show with me today and talk about it with me. Tricia, my friend, thanks for spending some of your quarantine time on the phone with me.
[Tricia] Oh absolutely, Heidi. You’re one of my favorite people to listen to and to talk to, so I’m so happy to be here.
[Heidi] Thank you. Hey, are you enjoying listening to Phil Hopper talk about Revelation?
[Tricia] Yes. I texted you today.
[Heidi] It’s awesome.
[Tricia] I’m like … Well, it’s so funny because in our community Bible study we are studying Revelation with the girls. My teen girls and I have been, since I think November when we started, and we are watching the news and we’re going, “Oh my word, this is …” Yeah, it’s amazing.
[Heidi] Well, what a time to be alive. I mean really, what … We’re watching prophecy come to life right in front of us and it’s very, very cool. Phil is a really, really gifted communicator. If you get a chance, I’ve been trying to get my listeners to go to his series on Vimeo called The Well.
[Tricia] Okay. I’m going to go listen.
[Heidi] It’s like 14 videos, it’s going to take you a while to get through them. I think they’re like an hour long, but oh my goodness Tricia, it will blow your mind. I mean, the man … My grandmother was a Bible teacher and her focus was the book of Revelation so I grew up learning all about the second coming and Phil is probably the best person I’ve ever heard teach on it, so you’ve got to check it out.
[Tricia] Okay, I will. I’d love to … Yeah, I texted you when I was making breakfast, I’m like, “Thank you Heidi for talking about this.”
[Heidi] Oh, that’s awesome.
[Tricia] We’re not the only ones around our table that are talking about this.
[Heidi] Well, this is the time boy, I’ll tell you what. You and I, we were just talking about how lousy the month of April has been for me. I told you I’ve spent so much of it just kind of in tears. I feel like as a nation we’re grieving right now, we’re working our way through the stages of grief and also of just disappointment. I just … For me, when this whole thing started I was in denial. I’m like, “There’s no way. This will … No, they are … No, no, no, no, no, this is not happening.” And then it did happen, and then they scared us to death with putting … they said they were putting refrigerated cars outside of hospitals because the bodies were going to be stacking up, which never happened.
[Heidi] And then they shut down the economy and now we’ve got people out of work and it’s rough. I missed … My daughter Savannah had her little girl Juniper the other night.
[Tricia] And she’s so cute.
[Heidi] Is she not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life?
[Tricia] Oh my … I saw that and I’m like, “Oh my word. She’s adorable.”
[Heidi] She’s so, so, so, so, so, so cute. Well, I took the whole month of April off so that I could be with her. The whole goal was to be there when Juniper was born and I’ve been there for all the births of her babies. I’m telling you what, I bawled my head off to have to miss that. Praise the Lord her husband got to go. There was a moment when we were like, “They’re not going to let him go.”
[Tricia] Oh my goodness.
[Heidi] And he got to go, which thank God for that. But I’m never going to get that chance again, I missed it. It just … It broke my heart. I’ve had a chance to see Junie since then and oh my goodness she is a peanut, you just want to eat her up.
[Tricia] She is so cute.
[Heidi] Oh my goodness.
[Tricia] Yeah, my grand baby … My daughter is a missionary in the Czech Republic and her and the one-year-old and then some other family members were coming on Easter and they were going to spend five weeks with us and now all the flights are shut down. I’m telling you, Easter … we were celebrating as well as we could, but all day I kept thinking, “She’s supposed to be here with us.” The video calls, they’re on the other side of the world and we video call every single day. She wakes up from her nap and wants to talk to Nana, but still it’s not the same. They were going to be with us for five weeks, so I know it’s like this…
[Heidi] No, it’s not the same.
[Tricia] It’s grieving.
[Heidi] Yeah. It’s not the same. There is somebody who I’m sure meant very, very well and she was trying to help me process through just not being there when Savannah went into labor, because she called me and was explaining how she was feeling and I was like, “Girlfriend, that’s it. You should go. This is the deal.”
[Heidi] It just hit me so hard and my friend, she’s trying to be gracious. And by the way, we’ve worked it out so if she’s listening to this, nobody’s feelings are getting hurt right now. But she said, “You know Heidi, you’re going to have lots of grandkids, it’s okay.” And I was like, “Shut up!”
[Tricia] Right. That’s not helping.
[Heidi] This isn’t about all the future grand babies, this is about this one and I’m never going to get a chance to do this again. I think it’s okay to let people grieve.
[Heidi] Just to say, “You’re right. That’s really, really lame.” And the fear, there’s so much fear associated right now with the suffering and it’s just this weird, nebulous unknown and if we as adults are having a hard time, our kids are struggling for sure because they’re watching the grownups struggling.
[Tricia] Right. Yeah.
[Heidi] And it is something you’ve really been noticing.
[Tricia] Oh, the kids and just the Facebook messages, just people out there that are up and down with their emotions and then their kids are acting out and the kids are trying to … Some kids are doing distance learning for the first time. Everyone is upset and angry with each other and the kids are having meltdowns or clingy. Some of my friends say, “My kids won’t leave me alone.”
[Tricia] And all these emotions, kids don’t know how to process it. We have a hard enough time as adults processing these things and dealing with kids. We’ve adopted seven kids from trauma backgrounds. You never know what little things are going to trigger those emotions. It could be a commercial that reminds them that they were supposed to go to a friend’s birthday party or who knows what is triggering those things.
But just know that just like we’re up and down the kids are up and down. I think when we could help ourselves, just take the time to go through our emotions and not try to ignore them, that does not help. It wouldn’t have helped if you were like, “Oh yeah, whatever. I’m not upset right now.” But really, we need to take time to cry and grieve. And I love my journal, I’ll write out my prayers to God like, “Help me. Give me peace. I’m so thankful that my daughter is safe and my grand baby is safe.” I’ll try to process it through writing and then once I’m able to do that then I’m able to help my kids. I think we first need to take care of ourselves and then we can help our kids process their emotion.
But just understand, I think so many times we try to discipline them too quickly. We try to tell them, “Don’t worry about it. Calm down, don’t stress.” Really we just need to say, “Tell me about it. What do you worry about? What do you miss?” Talk with these things and then again, even if we could help them write it down, whether we’re writing it down for them or they can write it down in any form, it helps them get it out of their emotional brain into their thinking brain. When our emotional brain is piqued, we aren’t thinking. We aren’t thinking, “Oh, it’s okay. Everyone’s going to be fine.” We are just emotions, the emotions are there. When we’re able to write stuff down, talk about it, process it, then we’re able to get it to our thinking brain and we’re able to get control of those emotions and it helps everybody. I know when I’m in a bad mood my kids just follow along, so everyone can be helped.
[Heidi] Right. Well they sort of soak it in. When we’re really having a hard time, they’re having a hard time.
[Heidi] If we can’t do it they’re going to have a really hard time doing it.
[Heidi] I love that you have said, “Hey, we’re going to try to figure out a way that we can listen to our kids and really bless them.” Part of the way that you’re doing that is by helping them write. You came up with this really, really cute journal. It’s been a few weeks, you texted me and you asked me what Sailor’s favorite animal was, my daughter Sailor, and I said, “A narwhal.”
[Heidi] And you put it on the cover of one of your journals. You’ve created journals to help these kids process their emotions, talk about what they’re going through and how they’re feeling. I think honestly we’re going to look back and they’re going to be precious to the kids.
[Heidi] But tell me about it a little bit because I want my listeners … There’s a bazillion people listening to this today who have got young children that would really benefit from this right now.
[Tricia] Yes. Well first of all Heidi, I will send you a link that you can put in the show notes for a free printable 40-page one so anyone can download it and use it for their kids. I also have them available on amazon.com. I spent the weekend a couple of weeks ago … I was texting my friends, “What’s your kid’s favorite animal?” And I just made these covers and put these journals together for kids. And it’s fun because all the journals … So we have Sailor narwhal, that’s going to be the journal and I cannot wait until she gets in the mail, you have to tell me when she gets it in.
But what it is, basically it just says, “Everyone’s staying home. We love home but this is a weird time for us,” just acknowledging that. It has a date for them to write the date, write what’s going on during that day, and then write what they’re thinking or feeling. And you can even go back … You could start with today or you could go back to when this started three weeks ago or four weeks ago and go through your Facebook messages or Instagram posts and you could even process some of the things that are already happening. First of all, again you’re getting it from their emotional brain to their thinking brain. When those thoughts are in our emotional brain it’s like the fight and flight, the warning, warning, warning, and so they’re just on edge. And if you could get those things from that emotional brain to the thinking brain they could see it on paper. Then your brain says, “Okay, we talked about that. We dealt with that. We don’t have to worry about that. We don’t have to think about that.” And it really helps kids process.
First of all, we’re helping them process. Second, we are capturing these memories because someday this is going to be firsthand documents that people can look back on. This is the fourth grade journal of someone who lived through this time in Washington or in Arkansas. These are going to be historical documents that we’re going to be able to look back on what happened during this time in history. And then plus, the kids will that as a keepsake for them. They’ll be able to, “My mom sat down and wrote this with me,” and it’s that bonding time that you’re coming together. It’s just multiple ways … You could do it with any notebook. I just had a blast making the fun pictures on the front and my kids all wanted different animals too. But really just taking the time.
[Heidi] They’re so cute. It’s really, really cute.
[Tricia] Yeah, just taking the time to process with them. And five minutes a day, it’s amazing how much that will just help kids.
[Heidi] If you’re just talking to your kids … I was actually thinking, some of the moms and parents who are listening to this have kids that aren’t old enough to really write in a journal, but you can ask them how they’re feeling and then you could write what they say.
[Heidi] You can definitely write for them and I think it really … And it also gives us an opportunity to help turn the eyes of our children back to Jesus.
[Heidi] Just back to the Lord right now, because I…
[Tricia] And you could write prayers in there or scripture verses.
[Tricia] I did it so there’s not lines so they can draw the picture and you could just write a sentence to go with it, it’s mostly open. And then in the back there’s about 10 blank pages. Well, it’s all blue sky, it’s all a pretty color, they’re all color pages, but in the back are blank pages where they can just draw. You could just have a little art area. And I really thought through what I want for my kids, what helps my kids, so this is really coming from someone who’s had kids that have gone through a different type of trauma but what has helped us and just really hoping parents will take that time to write down for their kids and help their kids process all that’s happening right now.
[Heidi] Yeah. And I think if we … The worst thing we can do is shove it under the carpet and pretend like it’s not happening, that’s the worst thing we can do. The best thing we can do is teach our kids how to handle their emotions because this isn’t going to be the first time this will happen. Hopefully this is the last time the COVID-19 thing is going to happen. But we all struggle with things in our lives and just giving these kids a safe space to say, “It’s all right.” And also, I don’t know about you, Tricia, but I get … I have a bazillion people that follow me on social media and lately I’ve been getting … everybody is sending me stuff. “Heidi, have you seen this video? Heidi, look at this YouTube thing. Heidi, look at this. Heidi, look at that.”
I started watching and I fell down this rabbit hole of depression and anxiety because really there’s nothing we can do, you know what I mean?
[Heidi] I mean yes, let’s keep our eyes open, absolutely. I’m not saying we should all be like sheep and just be like, “Hey, let’s get the Gates vaccine.” That’ll be one thing that I will not be doing, right?
[Heidi] But let’s keep our eyes on Jesus because if we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus as grownups, boy our kids are going to have a hard time doing it.
[Tricia] Oh, absolutely. I was just getting so stressed. My husband needed to go get groceries and I’m like, “No, you can’t go!” And he looks at me and he goes, “Really?” And I’m like, “You know what? Yes.” My husband Sean is like, “God knows every one of our days. If something happened to me and if I happened to die it wouldn’t be because of COVID-19 or it wouldn’t even be whatever, it’s because that’s how many days God said I had.” I’m like, “Okay.”
At the beginning when I was watching all the reports and all the updates and I’m like … I could feel myself, that fear building. And I’m like, “Oh, wait. You know what? God is in control and He knows our days, He has a plan. He knows that …” Hopefully these things will turn men and women’s hearts to Him, that is what the ultimate goal is, and if we’re going to get out of control, upset, worried, we’re not going to be able to point people to God. I think when we get our attitudes right, our hearts right, our eyes fixed on Him, then we can say, “You know what? Yes, it’s hard but look what God is going to do and look what He’s already doing. Look at the peace he can bring even during this time.”
[Heidi] Yeah. I was working on doing a live video with the women over at MomStrong International and we were talking about the provision of God and how can we know that we know that we know that God’s going to take care of us? Well, we know because he says in His Word over and over and over again that he is our hiding place. I love that he says he’s our hiding place. I love that he says that the children of God … It’s God’s heart that he will always provide and he will give us more than enough, right?
[Heidi] That’s, I think, out of Psalm 37 when it says that the righteous won’t be disgraced in hard times, even in famine, or COVID-19. They will have more than enough. And I got to thinking, here we are cruising along the pandemic highway and it’s really easy to take our eyes off Jesus. And like Peter, when we do that we can feel ourselves sinking into the waves.
[Heidi] And we sink into those waves really quickly. It’s kind of an amazing opportunity that God has given us and I want to just encourage our listeners to do the same thing.
[Heidi] Well Tricia, where can they get your book?
[Tricia] Okay, so I will send you the link to get the free download. And then just on amazon.com if they look at Stay Home Journal and then Tricia Goyer, all of them should pop up there. There’s all kinds of animals.
[Heidi] Awesome. Well you are awesome and I thank you so much for coming on the show with me today. And for everybody who’s listening, I’ll link back to this in the show notes today. Thank you Tricia, I love you my friend.
[Tricia] Thank you Heidi.
[Heidi] You’re welcome.
For more information on the journal for your kids, head on over to the show notes and I will have it all there for you. You guys have a fantastic day and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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