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Are you struggling with attitudes at your home? Do you wonder how to pass on your values to your kids? Join me as I talk about parenting in today’s culture with one of my favorite guests, Dr. Kathy Koch. You will be encouraged!
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Romans 7:4
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Dr. Kathy Koch (cook) is the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, TX, and a co-founder of Ignite the Family, based in Alpharetta, GA. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, and other events. She is proud to be represented by the Ambassadors Speakers Bureau of Nashville, TN. She is a featured speaker for the Great Homeschool Conventions and a regular presenter for Care Net, Summit Ministries, Axis, and other organizations. She speaks regularly at schools, churches, and pregnancy resource centers.
She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio and other radio talk-shows. Because of listeners’ reactions and feedback, her broadcasts about the 8 great smarts made the top ten shows of the year on Focus on the Family in both 2014 and 2016. Kirk Cameron chose her as the technology expert to interview in his 2018 movie, Connect: Real Help for Parenting Kids in a Social Media World. She has authored six books including Screens and Teens and 8 Great Smarts. Her newest book, Start with the Heart: How to Motivate Your Kids to Be Compassionate, Responsible, and Brave (even when you’re not around) was published by Moody in March.
Dr. Kathy’s practical, relevant, and results-oriented concepts and engaging, honoring, and humorous speaking style draw enthusiastic raves from children, teens, parents, and educators. They leave her events armed with new beliefs, attitudes, practical tools, and increased hope to build healthy relationships and increase success in family, life, and school.
Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University. She was a tenured associate professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a teacher of second graders, a middle school coach, and a school board member before becoming a full-time conference and keynote speaker in 1991. She has loved Jesus for years and her faith and desire to serve and glorify God is the foundation of her ministry.
Connect with Dr. Kathy Koch: Book | Celebrate Kids, In. | Facebook | Instagram
This episode is brought to you by our friends at The Kingdom Code.
Hey everybody, this is Heidi St John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Friday, June 28th this is episode number 785 of the Heidi St. John podcast, brought to you by The Kingdom Code. I am thrilled today because my good friend Dr. Kathy Koch is on the podcast with me today. We’re going to be equipping parents and we’re going to encourage you with regard to how to train your children in righteousness so they can be a light in the culture. You guys are gonna love this show.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right, so it’s Friday the 28th of June. Thanks for tuning in today. I am thrilled because this podcast sponsor is The Kingdom Code. And I know that summer is finally here—moment of silence. Can I get an amen? And for those of you homeschool moms that are just, you got to get to less than 180, just cut it out. Just go ahead and stop. Take a break. It’s okay. And I know a lot of you are already thinking about fall classes and curriculum. And here at the podcast we are proud because we able to sponsor with The Kingdom Code. And you guys, I gotta tell you, they have an outstanding course for students ages nine to 13 that I know you’re going to love. So you’re like, what’s The Kingdom Code? Well, The Kingdom Code provides parents with easy to follow lessons that include a separate teacher’s guide, worksheets, assessments, flashcards, activities, bonus activities, and a system that will reward your kids as they progress through the lessons.
And so, the course is designed for students with varied interests, and talents, and learning styles—and can be used by everybody, not just homeschoolers. So you guys check it out. The Kingdom Code’s goal is to empower Christian students with life lessons that’s going to help them become the leaders in whatever area of influence God directs them. So go ahead and check it out. Visit TheKingdomCode.com/Heidi to receive a coupon for a free samples and 10% off of your entire purchase. Remember it’s TheKingdomCode.com/Heidi.
All right, I’m excited today because my friend Kathy Koch is on the show with me and Kathy is a remarkable human being. I met her several years ago out on the circuit and immediately just fell in love with her. I love her heart for people. I love her heart to help equip parents. And she’s not just a person who talks about this, Kathy is a popular guest on Focus on the Family Radio and other talk shows. She has got incredible insight, very practical, very relevant encouragement for parents that’s going to help you raise your kids to love and follow Jesus. Dr. Kathy Koch. I’m so honored to have you. Welcome back to the show.
[Kathy] Thank you so much, Heidi. It is so great to be with you. Appreciate all those kind comments.
[Heidi] So a little bird tells me that today’s your birthday.
[Kathy] It is. Isn’t that fun!?
[Heidi] This is so exciting. I get to spend your birthday with you. I thank you for the privilege. This is so much fun. Happy Birthday!
[Kathy] Oh thank you. It’s just, you know, every year is just a blessing isn’t it? I’m so privileged to be alive and privileged to do what I do and surrounded by great people. So it will be a joyous day and I believe it will be a good year.
[Heidi] Yes. Well I’m excited. Well God is really using you. I’ve been watching you, you know, out on the circuit. I haven’t seen you as much this year because I feel like you and I are kind of on different tracts this season. It’s just been such a thrill for me to watch you on your Facebook page, and watch you working with Kirk Cameron, and Focused on the Family, and some of my other friends that are really making an impact and helping parents direct their children in kind of an upside down world.
You’ve got a brand new book out called Start with the Heart, which I was privileged to endorse. And so I want to talk to you a little bit about that today. But I want to direct our conversation to helping parents who are writing. And you and I were talking about this before the show aired, just that, a lot of parents are feeling frustration and even fear in the culture right now. Are you are interacting with parents as you’re out on the road and speaking, that are struggling to raise their kids in the culture right now?
[Kathy] Oh, absolutely Heidi. And, you know, so frustrated. I was just in a large homeschool conference again, and many of them were like—you know, what are we doing wrong that our youngest kids are so much harder to raise? You know, we thought by the time we got to the fourth, fifth, sixth kid, this would be a dream. And, you know, they’re not doing anything wrong and the kids aren’t bad kids. There are just louder, more confusing messages and we can’t raise our kids in a bubble. You know, we can’t put them in a cage and not let them be exposed to what’s out there. That would be inappropriate and really impossible because those messages are so loud and confusing. So it is hard, you know, we don’t need to be reacting with fear, that’d be inappropriate. And we do need to be on our guard. I love what you do through your podcast, and through your social media presence, and through your books because your equipping people to fight the fight, you know—we can’t give up and give in and throw our hands up and and just twiddle our thumbs. We got to be active.
[Heidi] Yeah, that’s exactly right. And you have had a tremendous success in talking first about social media and trying to help parents, you know, raising their kids in an in a digital age. I loved what you did with Kirk Cameron. And when you’re talking to parents and you’re saying—don’t respond in fear. The opposite of fear of course, is faith. How does a parent…how can we be assured? How can we train our kids and sort of inoculate them against the messages that are coming out and telling them they can be 15 genders and that their parents aren’t the final authority, and there is no God. We were talking about socialism on the show a couple of days ago and saying that socialism can’t exist without the premise that there is no god. But Christians, we tell our kids that’s the foundation, right? So where do parents start right now, Kathy, if they want to really reach the heart of their kids?
[Kathy] You know, we need to be in the Word of God, right? Not just so that we find a golden nugget to teach a child, but so that we are encouraged, and strong, and built up, and that we’re aware of God’s power in us and the Holy Spirit’s influence, you know, within us. So that we then, with integrity, you know, can talk to our kids about—God is our strength and He is our authority. And you know, kids tell me all the time—I don’t see my parents turn to God. And one of my greatest challenges, Heidi, is for parents to be in the Word and to wrestle with it while their kids are awake and in their home. A lot of parents tell me that they do their most heavy lifting of the Scripture while their kids are either in school or in bed—and praise God that those parents are in the Word of God.
But if their kids never see them in the Word of God, except for Sunday morning, Wednesday night, if you will, you know—then it doesn’t look like he is the one we turn to in a time of need. And what about our prayer life? Do we pray only at bedtime and meals? Do our kids see us praise spontaneously in the moment, because we have a decision to make? When we find out that there’s something wrong with a neighbor, do we pray instantly for God to reveal Himself to them and for healing to take place? If we don’t turn to God with just that joyful integrity, if you will—then why would our kids?
[Heidi] No, that’s exactly right. And we’re always saying at the podcast—you can’t pass on what you don’t possess. And so if we want our kids to walk in right relationship with the Lord…I love that you’re saying, you know—why have we relegated prayer to the dinner table? Why have we relegated prayer to church? You know, we go and we worship at church. Why are we not worshiping in our homes? And it actually makes a huge difference. I was noting a study by Barna, I was speaking in Denver a couple of days ago and I noticed Barna has a new study out and he’s talking about the difference between engaged kids—so engaged Christians and Christians who just grow up in a Christian home. There’s a big difference, right? So our kids can grow up in a Christian home and never actually be engaged in Christianity by their parents.
And what’s astonishing is that upwards of 70% of these kids will stay in the faith. A lot of parents are saying—how can I pass on my worldview? And you’re exactly right—start with the heart. That’s where you’re saying it actually starts. So what do you mean by that? When a parent comes to you and says—boy, you know, Dr. Kathy I hear what you’re saying. And I am the parent who is just reading, you know, we read the Scriptures at dinnertime, and we pray before meals. But that’s kind of about it. And you’re saying it’s deeper than that. It’s bigger than that. It starts with the heart. You make an excellent case for the responsibility of parents to train up the hearts of their kids. Give us a little bit of a taste of what you’re talking about.
[Kathy] Yeah, I think that we need to be more concerned about working with God to transform a child’s heart toward obedience and the things that are right, than we need to be concerned about changing their behavior. We can manage their behavior, but then we have to be there and we have to have a carrot on a stick or the threat of a punishment…and they’ll only know if they’re “good or bad” if we’re there to tell them. We need to be raising up our children so that even when we are not around, they are able to make wise decisions, and healthy choices, and to choose righteousness over sin. And that happens when we transformed their heart toward the things of the Lord—which again is done in the Word, in worship, in prayer, in service, and through the relationship that we have.
You know the old fashioned saying that—they don’t care what we think unless they know that we care. So how does that show up? You know, do we know them? Kids tell me…I wonder Heidi, if you’ve ever heard a kid tell you this…but kids have said—you know, Dr. Kathy, my parents have to love me. They don’t have a choice, but I wish they liked me.
[Kathy] You know, so yeah. You know, do you play games with them? Do you put your devices down? Do go for a walk, even though you’re tired too? Do you teach them on a new play, a new game? Do you color with your daughter? Are you willing to, you know, shoot a football in the yard with your son, even if it’s hot outside because he matters to you? And when you relay it in those good times, of course, it makes the bad times easier to take. It’s also true that when you relate it in a variety of ways, then they care more about the things that you care about—and you increase your credibility when talking about joy versus happiness, as an example, if you’ve lived that out with your kids.
[Heidi] Yeah, it’s exactly right. And when you say put your device down—I just heard a collective eye roll across the web right now. What does that look like? Put your device down.
[Kathy] You know, it’s not easy—let’s first go there. We’re addicted and you know, the phone is the motto. You know the phone is the modern jack-knife—my dad never went anywhere without a jack-knife. Our phone today is our address book, is our calculator, our dictionary, our alarm clock, our alerts, our to do lists. It’s everything. And that’s fine, unless it becomes our everything. And that’s not at all appropriate. We’re created for an abundant life and I think the phone gets in the way. So putting it down means exactly that. You leave it in another room when you play a game with your kid or you put it on silencer. And I think one of the things that we can teach our children is the difference between need and want. So I would have a policy for instance. So no digital devices at any table when we’re eating a meal—Grandma’s house, your house, restaurant. No, no devices out at all. With the exception of maybe your daughter could get a phone call for a last minute babysitting job. She’s been alerted by the neighbor—Hey, I might need you tonight. And so she has your permission to leave her phone on next to her at the table.
Maybe you or your husband, your wife, has a potential for a business trip at the last minute to take the place of someone who’s ill. You have a right to your phone in case you get that last minute alert to pack a suitcase and head to the airport. So let’s teach our kids the difference between need and want. And I think that is super healthy and that’s where we ought to respond, I think, to all of life.
[Heidi] Yeah, that’s right. And you’re saying to the parents—listen, we have to practice discernment so you can’t make this just a hard and fast rule. I love that you’re teaching parents to say—hey you got to be aware of what’s going on in the life of your child. And if you’re aware of what’s going on in your own life and your own art and you’re saying—Hey, I’m going to have…like maybe we explained to our kids—normally I wouldn’t have my phone at the table but I’m expecting a really important phone call and I can’t miss it. And so you explain—that’s why it’s sitting here, I’ll only pick it up if it’s that phone call. So that when their turn comes they trust you to make that right and that wise decision regarding their use of their devices, right?
[Kathy] Oh, absolutely. And you know what, Heidi, it’s so much related to what you and I believe in, and that is that children have value. Every child, every person was created by the intentional God in annuity was doing. He wanted your children created now, He wanted them to be your children. And this is perfect. This is a beautiful design. And if our kids don’t believe that they matter, then nothing matters. Nothing. We feel our advice falls on deaf ears, our input about their life choices—all of that becomes really very unnecessary to them because the filter is: wait a second, I don’t matter. So how do kids know they matter? Well, it is what we, what we spend our time on. You know eye-contact, the hug, you know, all of that. So important.
[Heidi] Yeah, it is so important. In your book, you write—that beliefs—I thought this was so interesting: that beliefs cause behavior. I think a lot of parents are dealing with, they’re struggling with issues with their kids—whether it’s disobedience, or disrespect, or whatever it is. And you’ve laid out a really good case for it saying that you think beliefs cause behavior. And so as you unpack that for listeners a little bit, what are some components of a child’s behavior, if a child’s changing behavior. In other words, help the parents understand. Because what we really want to know is can we create a desire to change in a child or not?
[Kathy] Yeah. Good question. Can we? Absolutely. And that’s, boy—that would be a whole other 20 minutes. But I love that you’re bringing this out because beliefs do cause behavior. You know, the collective eye roll when we said, you know, put the devices down. No one’s eyes roll by themselves.
[Heidi] Yeah, you’re right. You’re right.
[Kathy] Yeah. You have to make a choice to roll your eyes. So I tell parents I can get any kid who rolls his eyes at you to stop rolling his eyes at you. That’s not hard. But that doesn’t mean he’s changed his opinion of you. It just means he no longer wants you to know that he’s disrespecting you. So beliefs cause behavior. We’ve got to go believe that below the external obvious, you know, argumentative behavior, the roll of the eye, the slam of the door, the pods in the ear even though we’re trying to talk to them— we need to ask why. You know, what’s going on there? Why do they disrespect? Have we been unloving? Have we not forgiven? Have we not had any integrity? Are we not consistent? Are we playing favorites…even though we say we’re not, are we really possibly putting a kid ahead other kids from their perspective, right? Which is what matters, right? Not Ours. And if we can determine, you know, why they might be struggling, then that’s what we talk about.
We don’t talk about the behavior. We talk about what’s going on underneath that. And you know what, Heidi? Kids love to talk in the dark because they say to me all the time—I don’t want to look at mom’s eyes when I heard her heart. When I say something that’s going to be hard for my dad to hear, I really don’t want to look into his eyes. They like talking in the car also because we’re captured, so are they, you can’t run from a hard conversation if you’re going down the highway. And kids say3you know, my dad can’t look at me when he’s driving. So it’s easier for me to be honest. So sometimes, you know, if you feel like your kids aren’t sharing the underlying issue of the heart—then go for a drive, go walk the aisles of a Home Depot, or a Hobby Lobby if you will. And you know, be looking for stuff. But wow, watch the conversation take place there and ask your kids about the why. What’s the why behind the what? Why are you doing? Why are you believing that? Why do you think that’s true? And listen longer. Listen longer. Keeping your mouth shut, which is so hard.
[Heidi] It’s so hard. I don’t even think I’m not good at it. I’ll be honest. You need to come stay with me for a couple of weeks. You can be like the new Supernanny.
[Kathy] Yea, people have asked me about that.
[Heidi] I bet!
[Kathy] So the joke is you couldn’t afford me. But, you know what? You know what Heidi? Those of us with opinions, you know, praise God that you have truth in your soul. Those of us who know the truth, and know what is right over wrong, and have strong beliefs about who we want our children to become—we do have a harder time being quiet and I praise God that we have truth and know it. That’s so much healthier than the people who have nothing to say, therefore keeping their mouth shut is easy.
If kids know that you parent by faith, and grace, and truth—and they know that you know what you know—they may even be more reticent to share with you because the lecture is always coming. So we do need to pray that God would inspire us to listen within an intent to understand. I talk about this in the book—listen for your turn to talk. You listen to try to get to know what’s really going on so that you can attack the correct misbelief, and have all of your conversations be much more efficient.
[Heidi] Man Kathy, can you slow down? I’m trying to take notes on all this stuff so I can be a better mother. I’m not writing fast enough. I love that you said that. You know, and I’ve said this to you—I wrote this in Becoming MomStrong, right? The goal of listening is understanding. And I love that you just said it even better. The goal is not waiting so that you know—listening for a minute so that you can get your next point in. I think people like me, and you’re totally right—like usually when someone talks to me within 15 seconds I’m like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, back up. You know? I can do that with my kids and we need to be so, so careful. Kathy, I wonder if for just a minute, if you—I want to take in a little bit of a different direction and talk to the parent who’s been parenting passively.
And by passive, I mean that we bought into the lie that we are our kids’ friends when they’re growing up. And we really, we just want our kids to—we want our kids to love us above everything else. You know, I don’t want to upset them. We’re passive in our discipline. Maybe not passive in kind of giving them what they want, but passive to the point where we don’t cause any kind of pain. And this is really what the Bible says of King David—that he didn’t love his kids to the point where he would not discipline them. Not even by saying—why are you doing that? And as a result, his family tree ended up in chaos. And so, can you speak to the mom or the dad who’s listening to this, and they realize—whether it’s in education or with their watching their children choose bad friendships—and the parent has chosen not to get involved, not to intervene. What can you say to that parent?
[Kathy] First of all, I have compassion for you. Parenting has never been easy and it sure isn’t easy now. Yet I would say with respect that your children are not supposed to be meeting your need for solid belonging and healthy relationships. That’s something that we ought to be doing with adults. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends with your kids, but as I write about in this boo—parent so that when they’re 25, they want to be your friend. Don’t parent so that they will be your friend today. Be brave and courageous. You know, the theme of your ministry, Heidi, be willing to let them be angry with you because you have put right over wrong and you’re thinking big picture. You’re thinking—if I give into this now, you know, what’s the future hold? You have to, as a parent, be thinking long term.
Let your no be no your yes be yes. Stop saying maybe, so I have compassion. Apologize if necessary. You know, if you believe that you’ve been a bit passive, maybe you’ve been fearful, maybe you haven’t known the truth yourself and you’re listening to engage—and praise God for that, I love your humility. Apologize. Your being vulnerable will strengthen your focus with your kids. It won’t waken it. And just look them in the eye. Especially the firstborn—hey, you’re a guinea pig, you’ve known, you’ve always been our guinea pig child and we’ve made some mistakes and we love you too much to allow this to continue. We’re going to break the pattern, or I’m going to break the pattern. We’re going to have a clean start here. I love you too much to allow it to continue in your heart—it’s just too important to me to argue with you. We’re going to start something new and here, let’s talk about what that might look like. And engage with them if they’re old enough, you know, to participate with you and be in the Word, be in prayer—maybe get some accountability from someone local who can look you in the eye and walk with you. Don’t give up, don’t give in—your kids mattered too much.
[Heidi] It’s so good. I love your heart. I love your heart for parents. I love your heart to see healthy families, which we are absolutely struggling to raise in the culture right now. And I just wanted to say thank you. Happy Birthday, girlfriend. I hope you have a fantastic, fantastic day.
[Kathy] Thank you Heidi. It has started out well with you. I really appreciate your support for what we are all about here at Celebrate Kids. Thank you.
[Heidi] You’re very welcome. If you guys want more information about Dr. Kathy Koch, her ministry, Celebrate Kids, her brand new book, Start with the Heart—I wanted to let you guys know I was privileged, I think I said this earlier, I was privileged to endorse her book and I just want it to read the endorsement to you because, you need to go out and get this book.
In an age when parents are being challenged to take a back seat to the culture, struggling with opposing ideologies and an ever-changing social landscape, Dr. Kathy Koch is a much needed voice of reassurance, biblical wisdom, and strength. How do we reach the heart of our kids? How do I help my child find his identity and purpose? How do I transition with my child into the teen years successfully? The answer, of course, lies in the heart. When giving up is easier, Dr. Kathy gently reminds us why we must never give up. Parenting is faith work at every stage, but with a little help from Kathy, you will gain confidence and a confident identity as a parent. Start with the Heart is a must-read book for every parent!
I absolutely believe this is true and I hope you guys will go out and get it.
For more information on Dr. Kathy and her ministry, just head on over to the show notes today. I will link it back to every possible link I can think of for Dr. Kathy today at the podcast.
Also want to remind you, we are starting a brand spanking new Bible study at MomStrong International. You guys are going to be stoked. We’re going to be talking about how to engage your kids in the culture for this next month as we continue our study on the fruit of the Spirit. For more information on that, visit me online at momstronginternational.com.
Thanks for tuning in and everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
Write to Heidi:
Heidi St. John
c/o Firmly Planted Family
11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
Support this ministry by donating through E-giving. You can also send donations to: 1100 NE34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682