Protecting Innocence while Preparing for the World
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In this episode of the Foundation Worldview podcast, host Elizabeth Urbanowicz discusses how to approach sensitive topics such as gender and same-sex relationships with children, particularly in a homeschooling context. She emphasizes that protecting children does not mean completely isolating them from the world, but rather preparing them to confront and understand deviations from their beliefs.
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've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "we have decided to homeschool our three children, six, five, and three in light of our current culture. My question is how to approach topics such as gender, same-sex, relationships, et cetera, when it is not something we would naturally have come up in conversation through my children being exposed at school or conversations they may have with their peers. We have wanted to homeschool as a way to not expose our children to topics we feel are not appropriate for their age, but also don't want to be naive to the fact that this is the world in which we live. And one of the beautiful parts of homeschooling is that we have the ability to approach these subjects in a way that align with our beliefs. I'm just not sure how much to share with my children at their ages while still protecting their innocence." This is an important question and I think it's one that many of us are thinking through in our current cultural context. So we're going to dive down deep into answering that question today.
But before we do, if you have found the content of this podcast beneficial, please make sure to like and subscribe so that you don't miss any future episodes. I would also ask that you invest time writing a review so that more people can discover our content so that we can equip as many children as possible to understand the truth of the biblical worldview.
Now, this question about thinking through how much to protect our children, how much to expose them to, I think this questioner has identified something key, and that is that protecting our children does not equal complete isolation. It equals preparation. I'll say that again. Protecting our children does not equal complete isolation. It equals preparation. And what I mean by this is that we can't just hide our children from all of the things of the world. Now, are there certain evils that we want to do what we can to protect them from? And I'm talking about evils like pornography or abuse. Yes, we want to do what we can to protect them from those evils. However, there are certain deviations from God's good design that our kids are just going to be exposed to naturally in the world. Even if those of you watching and listening know that, or if you followed the Foundation Worldview ministry for a while, you know that I'm not married and I do not have biological children of my own, but if I did have children and I chose to homeschool them, even just living on the block on which I live, in a pretty conservative area of the country, my children would already be exposed to homosexuality. And that's not necessarily a bad thing because we have neighbors who are living in homosexual relationships and these are neighbors that I genuinely love and care for, and if I have children, I would still have these neighbors into my home, and our children are just going to be exposed to these deviations from God's good design just by living in the world. And we don't want to teach them to fear other people or to fear ever being exposed to deviations from God's good design. Because you know what? The evils of this world do not just reside out there, the evils of this world reside in our own hearts. That Jesus didn't come to protect us from the world. Jesus came to rescue us, to redeem us from our own sin.
And so what we need to do is we don't need to completely isolate our children from the world. We need to prepare them to confront the evils within their own heart to see that Jesus is the only solution to that evil and also to prepare them for the deviations from God's good design that they are going to encounter in the world. An example that I like to give is the example of hand sanitizer that often what we do is we just want to sanitize everything for our children. We want to make sure they only bump into people who align with our worldview and they're only consuming media that comes from a Christian perspective and we want to just sanitize everything. But really in the long run, that is not healthy. I saw this in my own life. I am a huge germaphobe, huge germaphobe, and my first three years of teaching, I got sick so often, and really by your third year of teaching as a teacher, you're supposed to be immune to most viruses and bacteria because you've been exposed to so much. But by my third year of teaching, I was on eight different rounds of antibiotics before we even hit Christmas break. And eventually I went to the doctor and I said, "okay, I don't want to be in any more antibiotics. I want to find out what is the root cause of this problem." And the doctor sat down with me and asked me a bunch of questions, and one of the questions he asked me was, how often do you wash your hands? And I said, well, I teach in a mobile classroom, which is a glorified way to say I teach in a trailer. And I said, I don't have a sink in the classroom, so I use hand sanitizer. And he said, well, how often do you use hand sanitizer? And I was like, at least 50 times a day. And he said, okay, herein I think lies one of your issues here. He said, hand sanitizer is good before you're about to eat some food or before you're about to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. But he said, using hand sanitizer that many times throughout the day is not healthy because what's happening is as you sanitize your hands, you are killing all of the bacteria and viruses and you're not allowing your body to get exposed to those germs in small doses. So therefore, when somebody can comes up and sneezes in your face, you're going to succumb to whatever they just sneezed on you because you're not immune. He said, what I want you to do is I want you to try to wash your hands instead of using hand sanitizer. He said, and I only want you to wash or use hand sanitizer before you eat or before you touch your face. Now, as a germaphobe, that was very hard for me. However, I took his advice seriously and I did not get another sinus infection for over five years.
And I think this is similar to what we have to do with our kids, that if we constantly sanitize everything for them one day, when they are exposed to ideas from other worldviews, they're going to very easily succumb to those ideas or become infected by them. Where if we can expose them to these ideas in small doses and help them critically evaluate these ideas from the lens of the biblical worldview, then they're going to have a chance to see why these ideas don't align with God's good design. For those of you who have gone through either Foundation Biblical Worldview curriculum with kids four on up, Foundation Comparative Worldview curriculum with kids eight on up or Foundation Careful Thinking curriculum with kids 10 on up, this is exactly what we're seeking to do in those three curriculums. We are seeking to expose kids to the biblical worldview and some of the alternate worldview ideas so that they naturally become immune to those ideas.
So now the questioner is specifically talking about ideas related to gender and sexuality. And now this topic is particularly confusing, one to understand and then two, to know how to talk with our kids about, because there are so many different angles to it and things are constantly changing. As I'm recording this podcast, we here at Foundation Worldview are actually working on developing a curriculum for kids four on up called God's Good Design, where we're going to help them understand what is God's good design for our bodies, for our minds, for gender, for sexuality, for marriage, for family, and so that they understand what the positive biblical theology is of these topics, but then also understand what are deviations from these things and why are they deviations from God's good design?
And as I was working on the initial outline for this curriculum, the wall that is over here to my right, it is covered with sticky notes of just big ideas that are important to cover with kids and some minor ideas. And those sticky notes have been arranged and rearranged and rearranged and rearranged. And I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to the drawing board and I've read more books and more books and more books and arranged and rearranged those sticky notes. Because understanding how to present these concepts succinctly and in a way that aligns with what Scripture teaches can be so very confusing.
So what I'm going to do now is I am going to just recommend just certain things that we can do with our kids to expose them both to God's good design and some of the deviations from it. Now, the first thing I'm going to recommend those of you who have followed the Foundation Worldview ministry for a while, you already know what I'm going to say. The first thing I'm going to recommend is we have to build up a positive biblical theology of God's good design for gender and sex and marriage and family. That our kids have to know what are the purposes behind these things? Because if we just focus on, oh, this is a deviation, it's not good, they're not going to have any foundation for which to understand, why is this a deviation? Why does this not align with God's good design and these things, these issues of gender and sex and marriage and family, ultimately, these are all good gifts from our creator, and that's how we want our children to foundationally understand these things. If you're not sure how to talk with your kids about sex or marriage or family and God's good design for these things, a resource that I've recommended in the past and will continue to recommend is the online course put out by the Birds and Bees Company. That's a course that'll just kind of walk you through how to talk with your kids about sex at a very, very basic level, even starting at the age of three.
Once we have built up this positive biblical theology of God's good design, the next thing that we want to do is then introduce our kids to the deviations from these good designs and help 'em understand why these deviations are deviations. A book I highly recommend that you check out is "Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality". That book just has chapter after chapter on the different things that are going on in our culture and how we can help our kids understand what's going on from a biblical perspective. Also, Lord willing, within the next year we here at Foundation Worldview will have released our God's Good Design curriculum. And so highly recommend that once that is released that you check that out because what that's going to be is that's going to be a curriculum that's going to be a video-based curriculum that you can go through with your kids to succinctly build an understanding of how God designed sex and gender and marriage and family, and then what those deviations are.
So now until those materials are released, just what I recommend that you do in general is once you've built up that positive biblical theology, then just give a basic overview of these deviations. And one example could be, we talked about marriage and how God designed marriage and what is God's good design for marriage. Do you remember? That's right. God's good design for marriage is that one man and one woman would become one flesh for one lifetime, that that's God's good design, and that that man and that woman that they might have children and start a family, and that is God's good design. We also talked about what does that good design represent? That's right. That good design shows a picture of Jesus and the church and say, you know what? Because all of us are sinful, because all of us have rebelled against God. So many times, we decide that we want to go with our own feelings instead of God's good design. And you know what? There are some people who decide that instead of marriage being one man and one woman, they want marriage to be two men, or they want marriage to be two women. How is that different than God's good design and give your kids an opportunity to talk through that? That's right. And God's good design, it's one man and it's one woman where some people think it can be two men or two women, but you know what? If we have two men or two women, can we have a family? No, we can't. That we need a man's body and we need a woman's body in order to make a baby. Also, when we talk about that picture of Jesus and the church, what changes if we have two men? That's right. We have a picture of Jesus and Jesus or that's not really what it is. It's really Jesus and the church. Or what if we have two women? What's that a picture of? That's a picture of the church and the church. So you know what? There's this deviation, this change from God's good design. You can do the same thing when you're talking about gender, that God has created us as male or female. Now, an important thing to do when we're talking about gender is not to get into gender stereotypes. That yes, God has given different roles for the different genders within marriage and within the church. However, what a person enjoys doing, what a person is gifted at, what a person's personality is like that is not confined to certain rough gender stereotypes. So we want to make sure that we're rooting gender actually in what the Bible says, not going beyond that and what the Bible does not say.
And once we've gone through these different deviations, then what we want to do is we want to provide a game plan for what to do when we see these deviations in public. Because when you're working with little kids, whatever comes into their mind, comes out of their mouth. And so I recently just heard a friend, she told me that they were in a situation where it was actually, I think it was a grandmother and a mom where with two kids, and her son was playing with the mom's son. And he looks up at the grandma and the mom, and he assumes that it's two moms and he shouts out in front of everybody, "Mom! Tthey have two moms!", which was not the case. It was a grandma and a mom. But we know that this is very possible that once we talk about these things with our kids, especially little ones, whatever they're thinking might come out of their mouth. So we're going to have to give them a game plan for what do we do when we see someone who is living not according to God's good design?
Are we going to tell that person no, because that's not our role right now to tell them that what they're doing is wrong. There are situations where we as adults, where we do want to have these conversations because we love others, but we don't want to focus on the fact that homosexuality or transgenderism is wrong because that person's their biggest sin is not homosexuality or transgenderism. It's unbelief. It's the fact that they're not reconciled in their relationship to God. But we want to help our kids understand that they're not in a position where they're supposed to just go around telling everybody that what they're doing is wrong. And so just if we can give our kids a catechizing phrase so every time they bump into somebody where it maybe is a family with two mommies or a family with two daddies, or it's a man who is living as if he's a woman or a woman living as if she's a man that will phrase that, they can say that they're not going to say it out loud, but they're going to say it and their head, and then they're going to run up to you and whisper it in your ear. Maybe they see two mommies and they can say, God designed marriage for one man and one woman. God's design is so good, and they're going to say it in their head, and then they can come to you as soon as they see you and whisper that in your ear. Or if they see a man who is presenting himself as a woman, God designed us as male or female, and God's design is so good. So giving them something that they can do when they encounter that and with little kids, you're going to have to practice this at home. You're going to have to model it. You're going to have to practice it and then talk with them about loving others that we don't want to just go around and look at like, oh, this person is sitting in this way, or this person is sitting in that way. Because you know what? Homosexuality and transgenderism are not the only sins. We have a lot of sin residing in our own heart. That doesn't mean we justify other sin, but it does mean that we are to love others through pointing them to the truth of the gospel. And so we want to make sure that we are always training our kids to love others, and this means having our non-Christian neighbors over for dinner into our homes. It doesn't mean that we just allow whatever they want to happen in our homes, but it does mean that we love them. We invite them into our homes. So I think these are just some basic guidelines that we need to remember that protection does not equal complete isolation. It equals preparation. And then we need to build up the positive biblical theology, introduce the deviations, and give our kids a game plan for then when they are exposed to those deviations.
Well, that's a wrap for this episode. 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. As we leave our time together, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the kids God is 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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