Popping the Bubble: Preparing Kids for the Secular World
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Today's question says, "I have three kids, ages five, seven, and one. My husband and I feel strongly that we want our children to have a Christian education, private school, or homeschooling. However, I don't want the real world to hit them like a ton of bricks when they graduate high school and leave the Christian school bubble. You have given some great ideas on other podcasts about analyzing movies, shows, and music from a biblical worldview, but I was curious if you had any other age-appropriate practical ways to expose our children to the secular world as they grow without destroying their innocence?"
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 that 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 I'm thrilled that you joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "I have three kids, ages five, seven, and one. My husband and I feel strongly that we want our children to have a Christian education, private school or homeschool. However, I don't want the real world to hit them like a ton of bricks when they graduate high school and leave the Christian school bubble. You have given some great ideas on other podcasts about analyzing movies, shows and music from a biblical Worldview. Still, I was curious if you had any other age appropriate practical ways to expose our children to the secular world as they grow without completely destroying their innocence?"
Now, this is a really important question. Those of you who have followed the Foundation Worldview podcast or ministry for a while, you know that we do generally encourage people strongly to consider Christian schooling or homeschooling as educational options, but it is a real concern to think about are our children actually exposed to the world outside of our home and our church and maybe even a Christian school? And we want to make sure that they're prepared for that because they need to be in the world, but not of the world as Jesus has called us to be.
So we're going to think through this question today, but before we do, if you have a question that you would like for me to answer on a future Foundation Worldview Podcast, you can submit that by going to FoundationWorldview.com/podcast. Also, if you found the content of this podcast beneficial, please make sure to like and subscribe so that you don't miss any future episodes. And would also ask that if you're listening on a podcast platform that you take time to write a review or if you're watching on YouTube that you take time to leave a comment. These are things that just help other people discover our content so that we can equip more Christian adults to get their kids carefully evaluating the ideas that they encounter.
Now as we think through making sure that our children just aren't in this Christian bubble where all they know is people that are Christians and material, that's Christian. One thing that we have recommended on other podcasts, so you should be already familiar with this, is just making sure that we are directly teaching them other worldviews and what other worldviews believe so that they can identify these in media and in conversations. That's exactly what we do in our comparative Worldview Curriculum and our Careful Thinking curriculum.
In the Comparative Worldview Curriculum, we have them explore five big questions. What is truth? What should I worship? How did life begin? What does it mean to be human? And how can I tell right from wrong? We have them investigate the evidence in the world around them. We have them dive into Scripture, look at what has God revealed. Then we have them look at what have four different worldviews in our culture, what do they teach? Then we have them compare and contrast and evaluate these different ideas. And then in our Careful Thinking Curriculum, we directly teach them rules for careful thinking, mistakes, people making careful thinking, and how we determine whether or not a claim has enough evidence to support it so that we accept that claim as true or reject it as false. So if you've never checked out those curriculums before, highly recommend that you check them out. Comparative Worldview is for children ages eight plus. Careful Thinking is for children ages 10 plus.
We must give our children the opportunity to learn what other worldviews teach so that they have an opportunity to evaluate those ideas, to see the different kernels of truth in those worldviews, and then evaluate them for their strengths and weaknesses. And we also want to give them real life practice as this questioner mentioned evaluating movies and music and TV shows and different things like that. But then there's more that we need to do than just that, that just intellectually learning about the claims of different worldviews is not sufficient. We do need to make sure that we are not having our kids live inside a bubble.
We need to make sure that if there is that bubble, that we're actually popping that bubble and that we're being intentional at helping our children and our families develop relationships with non-believers in our community. Not that these people are our projects, because that's completely an unbiblical attitude, but we're called to be in the world but not of it. And so we need to make sure that we as family units that we are in the world, but not of the world.
Now, I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the way that their family is going to be in the world, but not of the world, is just by sending their kids to public school. And they're like, oh, that way our kids are in the world, but they're not intentional at making sure that their children are well-trained to recognize many of the faulty ideas that they're going to be presented with every day. And so we don't just want to send our kids out into the world without any training, but we do need to make sure that our children are developing relationships with people who are different than us.
I remember I saw this my first year of teaching at a wonderful private Christian school just outside of Chicago that my first year of teaching, I was teaching fourth grade, and our school hosted, I think it was two weeks every year. I can't remember if it was one or two, but I think it was two weeks every year in the spring we had our missions emphasis weeks. And what we would do is all of the families who were missionaries who were home on furlough, we'd have different missionary families in our classroom explaining what they did. We'd have different people in the community who were missionaries reaching out to the local community. They would come in and talk to our kids. We'd raise money for a special missions project. We'd learn about what God was doing all over the world in different communities, and we'd have the kids practice. How do you share the gospel with someone? It was such a blessing to be part of a school community that placed such a strong emphasis on missions.
And I remember one year that first year I was teaching my students how to use, you may have seen a wordless book or a wordless bracelet. It just has different colors that help you explain the gospel to others. And so I had students practice this. I modeled it for them. We made little wordless bracelets. They practiced with one another, and then we debriefed. And then I said, "okay, I want you to write down the name of two people that you would like to try to share this with over the next month." And the majority of students in my classroom couldn't think of any names to write down of people that they knew who were not Christians.
Now, to be fair, this was a school in Wheaton, Illinois, and anybody familiar with Wheaton, Illinois knows Wheaton is kind of like the mecca of Christiandom, that there's Wheaton College and there are so many huge Christian organizations that have just laid down roots in Wheaton. And so it was harder to find people who were not genuinely believers in Wheaton, Illinois. I grew up in New York, a very secular area of New York where I knew hardly any Christians. And then I moved to Wheaton, Illinois, and I would go to Starbucks and there would be 10 different groups of women doing their Bible studies there. And then different pastors from different churches would be interviewing people there. And I was like, where have I landed? So granted in Wheaton, Illinois, it is harder to find people who are not actually Christians, but it was not impossible.
And I remember thinking, man, my students are going to be at such a disadvantage if they go to Christian school, K 12, they don't know anybody who's not a believer. And then they go to a Christian university. They're going to, one, not have any experience in the world outside of Christianity. And two, they're going to have a really difficult time discerning what is distinctly Christian and what is just culturally Christian. And so we need to make sure that our children are developing relationships with non-believers. And so how can we do this?
Practically practice hospitality if we just invite other families from our neighborhood over into our home. That's a great way to know people. And some families might think they're Christians because they're not Buddhist or they're not Muslim, but they might not understand the gospel. Or if our children are in a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or they're playing on a soccer team, actually building relationships with those families, making sure that we're having them in our homes. As we also have Christians in our homes, we need to make sure that we're practicing biblical hospitality. And this is so important because when we do this when we intentionally develop relationships with those who are not believers, our kids see that we can love others and care for them and show genuine interest in their lives even when we disagree with them about some really important issues.
This was something I was grateful my parents did while growing up, my parents were very intentional about practicing hospitality. And a good majority of the time the people that we had over were Christians from our church, but my parents were also intentional about having families over, whether it was neighbors. When I was growing up, we had a widow down the street from us who was a Mormon, and my mom would have her over every Thursday for dinner. And I remember hearing my mom talking to her about the Bible and talking to her about differences between the Bible and the Book of Mormon and urging her to understand the gospel. And then as we grew and as we developed friendships with different kids in the community, sometimes my parents would have their families over for dinner. And it was just something where I understood growing up that our family believed very different things than these other families, but we were still able to love them.
And so often the argument in our culture is, if you don't agree with X, fill in whatever the blank with X is, you don't know anyone who lives or believes X. Now, if you go and you look back on the comments of any of our YouTube videos where we have talked about biblical sexuality, a lot of the comments will say, "oh, you must not know anyone who's gay," or "You must not know anyone who's transgender" because of the biblical truth that I'm speaking about, that those comments always make me smile. And I think, why do people think that if I hold to a biblical position, I don't know anyone who holds to an unbiblical position, that I have friends, I have neighbors, I have family members who hold to these unbiblical positions, who I deeply love and care about, that I can love someone and choose to believe that their actions contradict what is morally right, because it contradicts Scripture.
So we want to make sure that our children don't buy into this lie, that they understand that we are choosing to live this way because it honors God, and we can still love others who don't live like this.
I remember seeing a TLC show years ago. It was a documentary just about this really, really conservative family. And it was not 19 Kids and Counting. It was some other documentary. And the parents had, they were super insular. Their kids were never allowed out in the community. They were never allowed to build relationships anywhere else, all sorts of interesting things. They had never had sugar before, all these things. And these parents just wanted to create this perfect little world. And then one of their older teenage daughters, she was invited on a trip somewhere, and she was a teenager, and it was with another family member.
And so the parents let her go. And when she was there, she saw all of these things that she had never experienced, but these things that her parents had always told her, these are bad. These are wrong. Don't do them. And the people on the camera interviewed her and they're like, well, what do you think about this now that you've seen this? And she's like, it's really making me wonder meeting these people and seeing how nice they are if my parents weren't just wrong. And we don't want our kids to have this idea, this false idea that anyone who comes from a different worldview is just this terrible, horrible person. No, we're all sinners, but by God's common grace, we can be kind to one another. We can enjoy one another. And so we want to make sure that our children have relationships with all different kinds of people.
Now, I've seen this played out very, very differently in some friends of mine, those of you who have watched previous Foundation Worldview webinars, you know that several years ago now, I interviewed Rosaria Butterfield about raising children in a home that practices biblical hospitality. And over the years, Rosaria has become a friend, and as I have stayed with her family when I've been visiting them, I've observed something that's really different that the Butterfields practice, what they call radically ordinary hospitality, that they have their home open to believers and to unbelievers in their community most evenings. And their children, have pretty firmly rooted Christian faith, and they also understand what it looks like to love others from radically different worldviews because that's what they've seen their parents modeled. And they don't think that just because someone comes from a different worldview and they're nice, that that automatically means what they're believing is true because they've seen this model that their home has been open up, that their parents have loved others well, and their parents are also intentional at sharing the gospel with non-believers.
And so this is just really my main encouragement that yes, we need to teach our kids what other worldviews believe we need to have them practice evaluating those claims, identifying those claims as they come up in the media and in conversation. And we need to make sure that we're intentional as a family about developing relationships with those who are different than us, that our children need to understand that we are to be in the world, but not of the world.
Just as another small aside, for those of you who are or are planning to send your children to Christian school. Christian school can be a wonderful thing, especially with everything that's going on in our culture. So much of the public school day is spent actually teaching things that contradict reality and contradict Scripture, and do we really want our children indoctrinated, but also with that much time wasted on time that should be spent teaching them how to think and reason well. So Christian school can be a really great option, but one thing that we have to make sure that we're doing if we have our children in a Christian school is keeping an open conversation about things that they encounter in that school that align with the biblical worldview and things that do not.
I can tell you from the perspective of having taught in a wonderful Christian school for a decade, that the families that send their children to Christian school are vastly different and have very different ideas of why they want their children in a Christian school. And so I had many children in my classroom who came from homes where their parents were very serious about the faith and were intentional about discipleship. Then I had other children in my classroom where their parents sent them to the school, not because they really loved the Lord, but because they didn't want them in the public school or because they just really liked the state-of-the-art technology or the sports teams or different things like that.
And so many things were said and by children in my classroom that came from those types of homes that were the same types of things that you would encounter in a public school. And we don't want our children to think that everything that happens in a Christian school is distinctly Christian. We want them to be prepared to evaluate, does this align with Scripture? Does this not align with Scripture?
Also, the teachers in a Christian school, I think Christian schools are starting, Christian school administrators are starting to wake up to the fact that just because someone has graduated from a Christian university does not mean that they have a biblical understanding of what education is. But there are a lot of teachers in Christian schools who have a great heart for Christian education for their students, and they have a love for Jesus, but they've never actually been taught how to think biblically about education. So some of the stuff that they bring into the classroom isn't distinctly biblical.
So I say this, not to scare anyone, but just to say, if we're sending our children to a Christian school, we need to keep an open conversation with them to help them evaluate, okay, what things that are going on in this classroom are distinctly biblical? And what are some of the things that don't align with the biblical worldview? Not that we're going to be complaining or always judging what others are doing, but we're just keeping in mind that just because we go to a Christian school doesn't mean that everything that happens inside the classroom is distinctly biblical.
Well, that's a wrap for this episode, but as always, as we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the children God has placed in your care, find yourselves that you would trust that God is working all things together for your good by using all things to conform you more into the image of His Son. I'll see you next time.
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