How to Discuss Unbiblical Concepts with Your Kids
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Are you seeking to slowly transition from sheltering your children to equipping them with the biblical understanding needed to navigate this world? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz explores how parents can have meaningful conversations with their kids around unbiblical concepts or ideas. As children grow older, it's important to initiate conversations, equip them to evaluate every idea they encounter, and engage in healthy dialogue about difficult topics from a Christian worldview.
Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.
Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and we're going to dive right into our question for today. Today's question asks, "How do you slowly switch from sheltering your kids from the unbiblical concepts and ideas of the world to having discussions about them and what the Bible truly says?" And I love the heart behind this question of transitioning from a place of complete sheltering to actually engaging and equipping. And I even like how this person used the adverb slowly because this person is right in that this change does not happen overnight. We can't just turn on a dime from completely sheltering our kids to going straight into completely equipping them to evaluate every idea that it is a long and slow process.
It does not happen overnight. And so whenever I'm talking with someone about how to make this shift, especially when it's parents or church leaders or Christian educators who have very much just sheltered children from everything, I say, "Okay, if we're going to make this switch, the first thing that we need to make sure that we do is that we have a plan." I mean, just in anything that we do in life, if we enter into anything new without a plan, it's very infrequently that things go well without a plan. Even if we don't know the nitty gritty details of every part of that plan, we at least need to have just some overarching framework that we're going to follow in order to meet whatever goal we have set. So when we're thinking about switching from completely sheltering our kids to actually engaging them in conversations where they're evaluating every idea that they encounter, I would say our plan needs to include both direct planned instruction and organic conversations.
Now, when I first started to seek to equip the kids in my care to carefully evaluate the ideas that they encountered, I started asking others, parents and teachers and other people who worked with kids, "How do you do this? How do you equip kids to carefully evaluate the ideas that they encounter? How do you equip them to recognize faulty worldviews?" The response that I got most frequently is just, "Oh, it happens organically. It happens in dinner, dinnertime conversations. It happens as we're driving on the way to soccer practice. It happens as we're discussing the Sunday school lesson for the week." And I thought that makes sense if we're thinking about forming our child's worldview, worldview takes place in the everyday moments in life, so it would make sense that these organic conversations would come up. However, most of you know that I began my professional career as an educator, and so I immediately thought of an education setting, and I thought, what would happen if parents came in for a parent-teacher conference and they said, Ms. Urbanowicz, tell us about math in third grade. And I said, "Oh, I just love math. Math is so important that math takes place in the organic moments throughout the day. It takes place as the kids are unpacking their backpacks at their lockers, it takes place as we're walking down the hallway to PE class, it takes place around the lunch table...." I knew if I responded that way in a parent-teacher conference, that parents would have one of two reactions. Either one, they would pull their child out of my classroom, or two, they would go and report me to the administration. Why? Well, they would know that if I simply relegated mathematics to the organic moments, their child would have huge gaps in their mathematic understanding.
Yes, math does happen in organic everyday moments that we need math when we're cooking. We need math when we're baking. We need math when we're fixing something around the house. We need math when we're figuring out how much is it going to cost for me to fill up my tank with gas? We need math in those everyday organic moments. But if we haven't had direct instruction in number sense and order of operations and different parts of mathematics, there's just going to be these huge gaps that make organic conversations and organic implementation of mathematics impossible. So if our children's worldview formation is one of the most important things that we're doing with them, why in the world would we leave worldview conversations, evaluating conversations, just up to organic moments? Yes, we need to have them in those organic moments as they arise, but we need to have some sort of systematic plan.
And I would encourage you that this plan, whatever plan we put in place, that it needs to really involve two things. One, it needs to involve instruction in how to read, interpret, and apply scripture because our kids are not going to know how to compare something to scripture or with scripture if they don't actually know what scripture says, and they're intimidated to actually enter the biblical text.
So we need to make sure that we're directly instructing them in how to read, interpret, and apply scripture. Then the second thing we need to do is we need to make sure that we are equipping them to carefully investigate different ideas, that they understand what is truth. What are the careful thinking rules that I need to hold up any claim against? What are the different worldview options that are out there? How do I test whether or not an idea has sufficient support? So we need to make sure that we're equipping our kids in these two ways. One, in understanding the biblical worldview through being able to read, interpret, and apply scripture, and then to become careful investigators of every idea that they encounter and to understand, "What worldview does this idea stem from?" So I would encourage you that whether you're a parent or an educator or a church leader, to just come up with some sort of systematic plan for including this type of instruction.
Now, if you're thinking, I have no idea how to do this, I would highly recommend that you check out our Foundation Worldview curriculums. That's exactly why we create curriculum: because we know that the average person doesn't have time to sit down and develop this systematic plan, so we do it for you. So all you have to do is know how to press print and play, and you have this systematic plan where we teach the children God has placed in your care to read, interpret, and apply scripture, and then to understand what different worldviews are out there and how to carefully investigate any claim that they encounter. So first, we just need to have this plan and make sure that we are implementing it. Then the next part after the planned part and the direct instruction comes the organic part, the part where we have these everyday conversations with our kids.
So I would encourage you in whatever instruction you're doing, whether you're doing your own instruction or whether you're implementing one of the Foundation Worldview curriculums, that whatever you have implemented that week, be specifically on the lookout for things that come up in everyday life that you can have conversations about that relate back to the instruction that you just did with the kids that God has placed in your care.
When I was teaching and I was first writing Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum, I would be watching Disney every week. I was watching the Disney Channel every week to try to find clips that would have alternate worldviews in them. Those of you who have gone through Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum that we include clip recommendations for you to show to the kids God has placed in your care so they can evaluate what worldview idea is present.
If you're going through the laws of logic, logical fallacies... I would encourage you to just look for different memes, look for different billboards, look for different commercial clips where you can then have the kids evaluate, "What is this claim? Does it stand up to these rules for careful thinking? Does it contain any mistakes in careful thinking? Does it contain any logical fallacies?" And then if you're a parent, as you're having family movie night after the movie's done, talk about something a character said and what worldview it stemmed from, or... does it line up with the laws of logic? As your kids are doing homework, implement the things that you're talking about in their homework when different things come up in conversations. So again, just really encourage you that if you want to switch from this model of sheltering your kids to having them really carefully evaluate those ideas, make sure you have a plan for both scripture instruction and for equipping them to think well, and then implement what you have done in that plan in the organic moments every day, in the conversations that you have in the movies that you watch, and the shows that you watch, in just the memes that you see, everything that you encounter.
And this will greatly benefit our children. I just saw this recently, actually, it was a couple years ago now. So semi-recently with a former student of mine and this student of mine, she had gone through Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum with me the first year that I taught it. And she was several years older then. She was in middle school, and her mom texted me and said, "She's starting to doubt God's existence. Could you be praying for her?" And I said, "Of course, I'll be praying for her." And then I texted, "Can I also take her out for ice cream?" So that weekend we went out for ice cream and we just were chatting about a whole bunch of different things. And then I said, your mom told me that you're starting to wonder whether or not God exists.
And she kind of hung her head and she said, "Yeah, I am. And I said, "Well, tell me some more about this." And she said, "I've believed in God my whole life. I've trusted in Jesus when I was... I forget how old." And she said, I pray all the time about so many different things, and I just don't see God answering my prayers. And I'm starting to wonder maybe is God not real? Maybe is this just what I've been taught? But it's not actually the truth. And I think I shocked her a little bit. I said, "Oh, this is so exciting. I said, you're going to start to really carefully evaluate what you believe and determine whether or not what you believe is true." And she kind of looked at me. I had five heads because I don't think that's what she was expecting me to say.
And then I said, "Way back when you took that worldview class with me after school, we learned different questions any worldview has to answer." I said, "If you decide you don't believe that God exists and you take off the Christian worldview, you don't just have no worldview, you have another worldview. So I said, what are some questions that you're going to have to answer whether you believe Christianity is true or whether you don't? And she talked through several of those questions and I pulled one question. I said, "Okay, I want you to think through this question. How does Christianity answer this question? And what are some of the other options out there? When we studied other worldviews, what are some of the other options out there? And so she was talking and talking, and she remembered so much. I was actually pretty impressed because this had been a few years in the past that she had gone through this curriculum with me, and she's talking and talking and talking, and all of a sudden she kind of gasps.
And she said, "Oh my goodness." And I said, "What?" And she said, "I'm just remembering that none of the other answers to this question make any sense when you take God out of the picture." And she said, "It's actually going to be more difficult for me to believe that God doesn't exist, because none of the answers to these questions are going to make sense." She said, "I might not feel like God is there, but I can look at what the Bible teaches about these different questions and say, "Ah, the evidence is there." And I said, "Oh, isn't that so exciting?" And now this isn't the end of this young woman's faith journey. It's not the end of her questions. It's not the end of her doubts or her difficulties. But it was so exciting for me to see that because as her teacher, I hadn't just sheltered her from the ways of the world, but I had actually taught her what scripture teaches had taught her about different worldviews, had taught her to carefully evaluate different ideas... then when she had this crisis of faith in middle school, I didn't have to lecture her about God's existence. I didn't have to pull out some SOS cord. I just had to ask her two questions. What are questions different worldviews have to ask? How do different worldviews answer this one question? And on her own, she was able to come to the conclusion that belief in God and the biblical worldview was the most logical answer to these questions. And this is what we want for the children that God has placed in our care. We want them to understand that Christian faith, that faith in the Bible, faith in the God of the Bible is not some blind, irrational leap into the dark. It's placing our trust in God whom we cannot see because everything we can see points directly to him.
Well, that's a wrap for this episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast. If you found this content beneficial, I would just really encourage you to consider liking, subscribing and even writing a review. And if you would also consider sharing this content with those in your sphere of influence so that we can equip more adults to get the kids and their care carefully evaluating every idea they encounter and understanding the truth of the biblical worldview. As we move on from here, my prayer for you as always is that God would richly bless you as you continue to faithfully disciple the children that He's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.
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