Using Scripture to Ground Children in a Christian Worldview

Mentor Mama:Today we are going to be talking about equipping children to think well through a biblical worldview in their informative years, and to also help them learn the Word of God. You know, children today are faced with so much information coming from so many different places: books, movies and school, and hearing conversations outside the home all at such a very young age. So, it’s very fair to say that they will encounter many false ideas and worldly perspectives early and often. It’s so important as parents to understand that the world is changing at a rapid pace and young minds are very impressionable. So being mindful of teaching our young children about the Christian worldview and comparing the information that they receive with the truth of Christianity is critical. Our guest today, Elizabeth Urbanowicz who is founder and CEO of Foundation Worldview will be sharing with us how we can in this media stressed and crazy world, be intentional about equipping our kids to understand and evaluate Biblical truth compared to today’s culture, but first a word from our sponsor.

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Mentor Mama:Elizabeth Urbanowicz is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about equipping kids to understand the truth of the Christian worldview. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in elementary education from Gordon College, an M.S. E D in education from Northern Illinois University and an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her professional career teaching elementary students at a Christian school, now she works full-time on developing comparative worldview and apologetics resources for children. Her goal is to prepare the next generation to be lifelong critical thinkers and most importantly, lifelong disciples of Jesus. Please welcome Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Thank you so much for having me on today, Ellen, it’s just a joy to be with you.

Mentor Mama:I’m so excited to have you on our program today. Your topic is just absolutely fascinating. It’s not a topic that we hear a lot about, so I’m really looking forward to what you have to share with us. Elizabeth, you are the CEO of the organization called Foundation Worldview. Tell us a little bit about what is Foundation Worldview.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Yes, and CEO sounds so impressive. It just means that I’m legally responsible if anything goes wrong, but Foundation Worldview; we are an organization that is really passionate about helping kids know and love and trust Jesus. There have been many people, praise the Lord, throughout human history who have been passionate about this. And you know, a lot of us who know Jesus today, are the result of their faithfulness, and just over the past 20 to 30 years, culture has shifted so rapidly simply because of the prevalence of information. Now, when we think of all the different ideas that the kids in our care are faced with in one week, most of the time that volume of information is more than humans throughout history have been presented with in their entire life. Just because we have the information superhighway at our fingertips at all times. And so, knowing and loving and trusting Jesus is the same today as it was 2000 years ago, however, helping our kids navigate culture in a way that remains faithful to Jesus looks a little bit different today than it even did 20 and 30 years ago, because we have to prepare them for the vast quantity of information that they’re going to face, so we at Foundation Worldview, our goal is to give busy moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents and Ministry leaders and Christian educators just tools that they can take and they can use immediately in their ministry context with the kids that God has placed in their care just to make the most of these formative years.

Mentor Mama:That’s awesome. Well, how did you get started in this work of equipping children to think well and discern truth?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Well, I know this happens for a lot of us, I think this happened for you as well, Ellen, you know that maybe 20, 30 years ago, you didn’t picture yourself as the host of a podcast and YouTube channel, and similar with me, I knew when I was in college that I loved children and that God had gifted me as a teacher. And so, as you said in my bio, I spent the first 10 years of my professional career as a Christian educator in an elementary classroom, and I loved teaching, and a few years into my teaching experience, I noticed a problem that the majority of the students in my classroom came from wonderful Christian homes, where their parents were very intentional, having them in a Christian school wasn’t an accident, they really wanted them there for Christian education. I am passionate about Scripture and teaching kids Scripture, and so I knew that these students were getting a Biblically based education from me, and most of them were fairly involved in the local body of Christ as well. And so, I thought, okay, there’s these three key targets that are being hit, but they were still just rapidly absorbing ideas from culture without any question. Now this is just a comical example, but this shows just some of the ways these ideas were seeping in. One afternoon, I was teaching handwriting, cursive handwriting to my students and we were working on the letter “J,” and I was walking around helping my students form the letter correctly. I went over to this one sweet little eight-year-old, and she had made her loop backwards and I said, oh sweetie, that’s the way we do a loop for (the letter) F, to do a loop for (the letter) J, we have to go the other way and she looks up at me with all sincerity and goes, don’t judge me. I burst out laughing just because that was not the response I was expecting, but I thought, wow, this mantra from culture that we’re never supposed to judge anyone, and that all judgment is wrong, you know, here she is eight years old, Christian family, Christian school, involved in the body of Christ and she’s already absorbed this idea. So, right then and there we had a little conversation and we talked about, what does it mean to judge? A judge needs to decide if something is right or if something is wrong. And then I said, hmm, is there a right way to make this letter “J”? Yeah. Are there some wrong ways? Yeah. And then I said, well, is it my job as your teacher to make sure that you’re making this letter “J” the right way? And she said, yes. I said, oh, what do you know? It is my job to judge your letter “J”. But that and so many other situations that happened in the classroom just made me realize that there was a problem. So, I started to seek out, what can I do to really help these kids that God has placed in my care, carefully evaluate every idea that they encounter and hold it up to the truth of Scripture. And so, I started searching for materials that would help me do this, and everything that I found was at the high school level or on up. I was so glad that those materials existed because they’re vitally important, but I thought, man, if the eight- and nine-year-old kids in my class are already absorbing ideas from culture, if we wait until they’re 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 to begin training them to evaluate every idea and see if it holds up to the truth of God’s Word, we’ve lost so much time and we’re going to have to do so much reformative work. I thought, well, you know what? I can start reading books, I can start attending conferences, and I’m a teacher so I can start creating materials, so, I started creating materials just to teach my students, you know, what does the Biblical worldview teach? Not just, what does one verse or one chapter say, but what does the entire Bible speak to on a particular subject? Like what it means to be human, or what truth is, or who God is, and then I started teaching them also, okay, so other ideas in our culture, other secular worldviews, what do they teach about this topic? And I was just hoping that, you know, maybe the kids would start to think when they turned on the TV or turned on YouTube, and that happened, but so much bigger than I ever anticipated. Moms started calling me and saying, um, so my son wants to pause family movie night and evaluate the character’s worldview, that’s great, but I don’t know how to do this. Can you help me? And then teachers from other grade levels were coming down to my class and saying, how are you getting these kids in your after-school class to think so deeply about science and mathematics and history? Like I’ve never even thought this deeply about these subjects. And so, it was so exciting to see, you know, I just gave the kids these tools and they took it and ran with them, and they were excited about reading God’s word and they were excited about evaluating ideas, and so, my goal was just to continue doing that in my classroom, but a few years into doing that, people who had kind of heard the buzz about what was going on, started contacting me and saying, how can we get our hands on what you have? And I said, oh, you can’t, I’m a third-grade teacher, I’m not a Publishing House, but several years after receiving those requests, that’s when the Lord really made it clear that this was something that was needed, not just in the sphere of influence God had given me, but in the body of Christ at large. So, I went back to school, got the Masters in apologetics from Biola and then started Foundation Worldview so that we could equip others to do the same thing that I was doing in my classroom with my students. So, God’s fingerprints are just all over this journey and I’m so grateful for it.

Mentor Mama:Yes, and truly those 10 years were just a critical part of the formation of this because you saw what was happening and then you worked towards coming up with a solution, so that’s so amazing.

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Mentor Mama:Elizabeth, you talk a lot about teaching children to think well, what do you mean by that and why is it important?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Yes, that’s a really great question because a lot of times we can use words, but if we never pause to think about what they mean and what really is the meaning behind them, we might not understand how to move forward with truth. And so, as we think through Scripture, Scripture talks a lot about the life of the mind, you know, especially in the epistles, it talks about being renewed in the spirit of our minds. You know, Ephesians talks about it, Romans talks about it. You know, it talks about the things that we’re supposed to put on. And a lot of times, as Christians, we tend to focus on loving God with our heart, loving him with our affections, which is appropriate, we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and strength. And then we also focus on the hands, the actions, what are we doing to make sure we’re loving God through the way that we’re living? And both the heart and the hands are vital, but sometimes we forget about the head, and in this world where our kids are just confronted with so many different ideas, all of which are claiming to be true, we need to make sure that our kids are able to, one identify the ideas that are coming their way so that they can pause and say, okay, what is this idea I have just been presented with? Because if they can’t ask that question and stop and think they’re probably just going to absorb that thing as truth. So, first we want them to just be able to ask the question, what is this idea that I’ve just been presented with? Then the second thing is really to evaluate; is this idea true? Because if it’s something that does not line up with Scripture, it’s not something that they should then accept as true and add to their worldview. So, what we’re trying to do is really give kids these skills that they can use in any and every situation to pause and say, okay, what did I just hear? How do I know whether or not it is true? Because sometimes the mistake that we make and this is not meant to be a sharp criticism, but just a warning. Sometimes the mistake that we make in Christian communities is thinking that faith is blind, that we just trust God without any evidence. And now once we have been redeemed, once we’ve been reconciled in our relationship to God, we do submit ourselves under the authority of his Word. That that is our highest and final authority. But sometimes what we forget is a lot of our kids aren’t there yet. A lot of our kids haven’t come to know and to love and to trust Jesus, and when we look at Scripture, God consistently asks us to place our trust, our faith in him, who we cannot see, because everything we can see points to him. And there’s a few very clear examples woven all throughout Scripture, but a few big ones, even just thinking about when God was making his covenant with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai in Exodus 20, when God was giving the 10 Commandments, we tend to think that that chapter begins with, you shall have no other gods before me, and that is the first commandment, however, that’s not how the chapter starts. God starts off by saying, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And then he gives those commands and think about what God is doing there. God is reminding the people who he is and what had they just seen in Egypt? They had just seen 10 visible signs that God was master of the universe, and if that weren’t enough, God parted the sea, and then he went before them as a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by evening. So, he was reminding them, this is the evidence of who I am, now live like this. And we see this throughout Scripture. And another clear example that I love to bring up is in the Gospels when John the Baptist is put in prison. Now, John the Baptist was the first one to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, he leapt in utero when Mary and Elizabeth met, and then at the Jordan river, John said behold, the Lamb of God who washes away the sins of the world, and then he’s put in prison, and he starts to wonder, hmm, did I get this right? And he sends his followers to Jesus and he has them ask, are you the one who is to come, or should we look for someone else? And Jesus doesn’t respond by chastising him or by asking him for blind trust. He says, go back and tell John what you hear and see. Blind are receiving their sight, the lame are walking, the deaf are hearing, the dead are being raised up. He gives John this evidence and says, look, this is where the evidence is pointing, now put your trust in me. So, when I say I want us to equip our kids to think well, I want to equip them to ask: what the idea is? How they know it’s true, and to know that faith in the God of the universe is not blind or rational belief. It is evidence-based trust with all of the evidence that God has given us. So, that’s what I mean when I say to think well.

Mentor Mama:Yes, that’s so awesome. I think about my own personal journey. By just telling someone you need to believe in Jesus and be saved. Like for me, I took that in, but it wasn’t until I learned about the Old Testament and how we are separated from a Holy and perfect God and what all of the sacrifices were required in order to bring us back into a right relationship with God, and then how Jesus ultimately was that sacrifice. It wasn’t until I had that critical thinking process and understanding then, now okay, it makes sense for me to follow Jesus, but to do it blindly without having that explanation and historical evidence, if you will, that really helped my acceptance of Christ. So that’s awesome that you’re getting young kids to think those things at a young age. There are a lot of worldviews out there, talk to us about why you think it’s important to teach our children about other worldviews and the Christian worldview at the same time. What are the benefits of doing that and how do you do this with the Word of God as foundation for these conversations?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:That’s something that we really believe is important to build a foundation on the Biblical worldview and then to show kids what other worldviews teach. There is this quote by Os Guinness where he says, contrast is the mother of clarity. I always find that I wonder at the Gospel more when I see the alternatives and that’s something we want our children to see that, yes, we want them to know the truth and the goodness and the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is made all the more brilliant when they see what the other options are out there, that we don’t want those other options to be mysterious and tempting and something that they have to go off and explore when they’re in their late teens or early twenties, we want them to have the opportunity to look at what are those other options out there and how do they compare to the truth of the Christian worldview? Because the beautiful thing about Scripture, I mean, there’s so many beautiful things, it’s the very breath of God, first of all, but Scripture actually paints an accurate picture of the world around us, that it shows us things exactly as they are, you know, nothing describes the human condition better than God’s word. It just provides such an accurate picture, and so when we show our kids other worldviews, they are going to see how those world views do not align with reality. So just an easy example of how we do this is in one of our curriculums that we have out, we look at the question; how did life begin? And, of course, we have students dive into Scripture and look, and Genesis 1:1 makes clear that God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created all that is alive by speaking, you know, that God created out of nothing. Then we show them how the evidence all around us points to this. And what we do is first, we just show them pictures of things that are living and things that are not living, and we just have them identify, what’s living versus what’s non-living, and so, we get the definition of life, you know, that living things, they grow, they need nutrients, and they make more of themselves. And then we talk about; what do all living things have in common? They have those three things because they have information inside of them that they have DNA that contains this information. Then we look at, where do we find information in the world around us? And we look at places like stop signs and traffic lights and books. We look at things like Mount Rushmore, and how it’s carved with the president’s faces, and then we say, okay, let’s see information. Do we get information on purpose? Does there have to be some kind of design, or do we get it by accident? And what we have them do is, we have them look at different Scrabble tiles on a table, and one group of Scrabble tiles is just, kind of, randomly arranged and another group spells out the sentence: life contains information. And we have them play detectives and we say, okay, could both of these groups have gotten here purposefully? Like, could someone design these? Yeah. Both the random one and the sentence, someone could have been designed. And then we say, hmm, could both of these have gotten here by accident? Well, the random one looks like a complete accident, and then we talk about the one that spells: life contains information. We then give them a chance to try, we have them take a red solo cup and shake up the letters and dump it out. We have them try 10, 20, 30 times to see that we can’t even get one word accidentally. Then we talk about, if we can’t get one word or even one sentence accidentally, what are the chances that we would get DNA, which contains more information than a library full of books. What are the chances of throwing letter tiles on the ground and getting a library full of books? And so, we show them, oh my goodness, look at this evidence, what we find in the world around us lines up exactly with what Scripture says. Then we have them watch a clip from Bill Nye, The Science Guy, you know, really fun old TV show where Bill Nye talks about DNA. And he talks about how it started accidentally, and then we have them sit down and we say, okay, let’s evaluate what Bill Nye just said. Did the information that Bill Nye just give you line up with the evidence we just saw? Not at all! And the evidence we just saw, did it line up with what we saw in God’s word? Absolutely. We see that there is this intelligent being–God–who purposely designed everything. So that’s the approach we like to take. We like to show them what does Scripture teach on the subject? What does the evidence all around us show? What do other worldviews teach about this? And then what lines up with what is true so that they’re consistently seeing, oh my goodness, what the Bible says lines up with what is true. God was just so kind in allowing me to see early on the results that this type of training could have. One of my former students who went through this class with me when she was in fourth grade, when she was in seventh grade, she was just really struggling with doubting whether or not God existed. And her mom had texted me and said, you know, she’s struggling with this, could you pray for her? And I said, absolutely, and then I said, can I also take her out for ice cream? And so, she and I went out for ice cream, you know, we were chatting about a whole bunch of different things, and then I said, you know, your mom shared with me that you’re starting to wonder whether or not God exists. Can you tell me more about this? And she kind of hung her head, and she said, you know, I’ve always felt really close to God. She said, and recently I’ve been praying about a lot of things and God hasn’t been answering any of them, and so it’s just made me think, maybe this was just a feeling, maybe this really isn’t true. And I looked at her and I said, oh, this is so exciting. And she looked at me like I had five heads. And I said, you know, you’re going to really start to think through what you believe and is the Bible actually true. And so, then I said, you know, we learned when you were in the fourth grade, we learned to study different worldviews. And I said, you know, if you decide that you don’t believe that God exists, you don’t believe that Christianity’s true, it’s not like you have no worldview. You’re going to put off the Christian worldview and take on another one. I said, you know, do you remember some of the big questions that worldviews have to answer? And you know, she’s talking through the big questions, and I said, okay, let’s just pick one of those questions. I said, let’s talk through, how does the Bible answer that question? And how do different worldviews answer that question? And she’s talking and talking, you know, the ice cream is melting and dripping down her arm, and I’m refraining myself from cleaning it up, and all of a sudden in midsentence, she kind of does a little gasp, and I said, what? And she said, you know, I forgot about this. She said, I never really thought through how it’s going to be harder for me to believe that God doesn’t exist, and that he does, because even if I don’t feel like he exists, all the evidence is pointing towards him. And I said, isn’t that so interesting? And you know, that’s not the end of her faith journey. It’s not the end for any of us. She’s going to continue to have more questions, more difficult times. It was just so exciting for me to see that, you know, I didn’t have to sit down and give her a lecture, I didn’t have to freak out like, oh my goodness, she’s turning into an atheist. I just asked her two questions. And because she had this training in the past, on her own, she came to the conclusion that it was actually more reasonable for her to believe in the God of the Bible than for her to not believe in him, and it was just so exciting.

Mentor Mama:That’s just absolutely brilliant, and it’s really taking that information to a level that you so eloquently can talk them through and for their appropriate age group, the way that they can understand it and form their own conclusions. I think it’s just phenomenal. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Christian parents. Sometimes they’re just absolutely overwhelmed in this culture and they’re trying so hard as parents to navigate their child’s screen time and they have these pandemic-related issues and just constant messaging coming from the world into their homes. So, what is your advice to parents? Should they just lock things down and not expose their child to screen time or should parents allow their children to be exposed to things that contradict the Christian world faith?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:That’s such an interesting question, and so I’m going to give an answer and also with a caveat to say that, you know, God has given each parent the primary responsibility of discipling their child, so I’m going to give some general principles, but each family is going to really have to pray through and think through, you know, who has God designed my child to be, and therefore, what is best for my family, because obviously there needs to be some discernment. There are some things that different parents might have different thoughts on with exposing their kids to that might not really be a moral issue but will be an issue of conscience. And then there are some things that are just evil, and vial and we need to keep our children away from so we do need to be very, very intentional with what we do expose our kids to and what we do allow in our homes. I like to give two analogies that I think are really helpful. And the first one is the analogy from my own life. I am a germaphobe and I have been since I was six years old and my first-grade teacher read our class a book called, “Germs Make Me Sick.” Well, my first year of teaching, you know, I got sick a lot, like most first-year teachers, usually your first two years of teaching, you get sick a lot because you’re just exposed to all these germs. Kids are coughing on you and breathing on you and touching your stuff all the time. Usually by year three, you’re supposed to have pretty good immunity. Well, for me by year three, I got sick more times than I had even the previous two years, I had 10 sinus infections before Christmas break, and so, eventually I went to the doctor and I was like, okay, something is wrong, can you help me get to the bottom of it? And so, he asked me just some questions about my routines and rhythms, you know, because I was eating healthy, I was getting sleep, I was exercising. And one of the things that he discovered in our conversation was I didn’t have a sink in my classroom, so I couldn’t wash my hands. So, I was using hand sanitizer a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean, I was probably using it about 10 times an hour. Like I was constantly using this hand sanitizer. And he said, you know, Elizabeth hand sanitizer is beneficial before you’re going to touch your face, you know, before you rub your eyes or your nose and before you eat something. He said, it’s really good for you to be cleaning the bacteria off your hands, he said, however, if you’re using it all the time, he’s like, not only are you killing the bacteria and viruses that you don’t want, but you’re also killing the healthy bacteria and you’re not allowing your body to be exposed to this, you know, unhelpful bacteria and viruses in small doses. He’s like, so therefore you’re not gaining any immunity. So, he said, what I want you to do is I just want you to either use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before you touch your face and before you eat. And other than that, don’t use it, and I was like, oh no, what’s going to happen? But wonder of wonders after that, I honestly, I went four years without another sinus infection because my body had the time to develop immunity by being exposed to these germs in very small dosages, and so that’s what we want for our children that we, you know, like, we’re not going to take them into like the flu ward in a hospital unprotected, that’s not healthy. We don’t want to just throw them to the wolves and say, well, here’s an iPad, hope it goes well. But what we do want to do is, we want to expose them in very small, healthy dosages to incorrect ideas when we still have the opportunity to talk through them with them. So that way we’re developing some natural immunity, so unhealthy ideas in very small-guided dosages. Then the second analogy that I like to think through is the analogy of teaching, because I’m a teacher. Now, when someone is teaching a child how to read, they could teach a child to memorize words. They could just show the child words and the child would memorize the shape of the words and what those words say. But if the parent or teacher did that, the child would be completely dependent on that adult in order to ever learn a new word, because they would just have to memorize it, but instead, what we do is we teach children 26 different letters, the shape of those letters and the different sounds that those letters can make, and then we teach them to put those letters together. Then by the time a child is in third or fourth grade, they’re equipped to sound out any word that they encounter because they know those sounds, they know the letters and they know how to put them together. And so, it’s the same way with what we want to do for our children. That with the vast quantities of information that’s coming their way, there’s no way we could prepare them for every single thing. Because even if we understand, you know, like Snapchat and YouTube and TikTok, there’s going to be a new app that comes out, you know, two months to two years from now, that’s going to take over the social media scene. Also, even if we are very careful about limiting the screen time that our children have in our home, they’re still interacting with kids who have unlimited screen time. You know, even in my Christian school, I would have issues where kids would expose others to inappropriate content at play dates. Things like that are going to happen, so what we want to do is, we want to give our kids transferable skills that they can use in any situation. So, no matter what idea comes their way, they’re able to ask a few key questions, like, what is this idea? Does this idea line up with God’s word? Is it true? How do I know that? So that no matter what idea comes down the pipeline they’re prepared, just like we prepare our children to read any single word. So, in the answer to the question, I would say, yes, we should, prayerfully consider, how can we, just in small dosages, expose our kids to incorrect ideas and talk through them with them. And then what skills can we train them in that they’re going to take on the road with them, no matter where they are, whether they’re eight, whether they’re 18, whether they’re 28 or 38, that they’re always going to be asking themselves these questions.

Mentor Mama:That’s such a great approach. And I like to think too about, I can remember, you know, my kids, when they got into the teen years, them then reminding me of things that I should take into better consideration too, so they become little teachers too.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:What a gift.

Mentor Mama:Yeah. Yeah.

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Mentor Mama:

As we talked about parents in this role, how can you just encourage parents to kind of take a deep breath from this culture? Are there any passages of Scripture that you’d like to use to encourage parents?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:First of all, just remembering this sovereignty of God, that this cultural moment is no surprise to the God of the universe, that God has you here at this specific time for a specific plan, and we have been told that greater is he who is in us than he, who is in the world, and that we are also told that all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man and woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Yes, by watching this YouTube video or this podcast, you are seeking to equip yourself and therefore equip the kids that God has placed in your care. So, you should be encouraged by your intentionality there, you should be encouraged to know that God’s Word is going to equip you with the truth that you need to guide your kids through this cultural moment. And it’s no accident that God has you alive this year, in this country, at this time with the children that he has given you, that that’s all purposeful and part of his sovereign plan.

Mentor Mama:Thank you for that, that is an encouragement. Well, another big issue that’s facing parents today is discipline. Can you just touch maybe briefly on how do parents use the Bible as a foundation for their discipline?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Yeah, that’s a really important question because so many different ideas are coming even towards us as adults that can be really difficult to navigate. So, one big worldview issue to think through, you know, it’s very clear in Scripture that God has placed parents in the role of authority over their children. Now, it’s also clear with the commands that we’re given in the epistles that we can do it wrong. You know, fathers are told not to agitate their children, but to bring them up in the instruction of the Word. And so, we need to be careful with what we’re doing, but we need to be also careful that we’re not buying into the cultural lie that children are the fount of wisdom, because most things in our culture, most TV shows, you know, most, even things that are coming through even in legislation are saying, you know, like children know what is best for them, and you know, we need to remember that folly is bound up in the heart of a child that God has given us these precious children. And we need to recognize that God has given us different wisdom than he’s given our children. So, we need to be very intentional and not buy into this cultural lie that our children are the ones who know what is best for them. Yes, we do need to be kind and compassionate and loving, and we need to listen to them, and we need to intentionally love them, but we need to recognize that they’re not in a place yet where they understand what is best for them in the same way that God is our Father, and he knows better than we do what is best for us. And then another thing that I would really recommend is making sure that when we are disciplining our children, that we’re doing it through the lens of the Gospel, you know, the lens of the Gospel is that we are image bearers that have this value that no one can take away from us. Genesis 1:27 says, God created man in his own image and the image of God, he created him, male and female, he created them. And so, we are God’s image bearers. And then we see in Genesis three, that humankind has fallen away from God. In Romans three, it tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that’s where our children are at. Just like we are there, that we have this incredible value, and we are going to continually miss the mark. You know, that’s what sin means. It means missing the mark that we’re falling short of the glory of God. So, in our discipline, we need to make sure that we’re not just trying to modify our child’s behavior. That we’re not just saying, you know what? It really annoys me when you get into a fight with your siblings or, you know, like it really just rubs me the wrong way when you don’t clear the table like I asked you to. Yes, those things are annoying because we’re all sinners and we’re going to get on each other’s nerves. But that our real heart behind that discipline is helping our children see their need for Jesus. So, we need to be really careful in the types of questions that we ask them, you know, not just go to your room. Sometimes, we do need to say, go to your room, but that we at least have a follow-up conversation to talk about, what did you do? So that they actually name their sin. Why did you choose to do it, so that they see that their heart is going to guide them incorrectly. You know, I yelled at my brother because I felt like it, you know, that was what my heart was telling me to do, or I lied to you because I didn’t want you to know the truth about this, so that we’re really asking intentional questions and then talk about, okay, what is the right thing to do? What is the only way that we can do that right thing? You know, the only way that we can do that right thing is by turning from our sin and trusting in Jesus and being empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life that pleases God. So, I think that those are two really important things: to one, be careful that we’re not buying into the cultural lie that our children know what’s best for them because the majority of the time they don’t, and then the second thing to make sure that when we’re disciplining, we’re not just trying to modify their behavior, but we’re really trying to point them to the truth of the Christian worldview, that they are an image bearer of God, that has value that no one can take away, that they have been affected by the fall, that they sin, they’re sinful and they choose to sin, and that redemption can be found in Jesus. So, those would be my two words of encouragement for parents regarding discipline.

Mentor Mama:Yes. Amen. Well said! Well as Christian parents we of course love God and his Word. What are some practical tools or advice that you would have for encouraging our children to fall in love with God and his word as well?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:This is actually something I’m passionate about. I’m actually in the midst right now of writing basically a “studying the Bible curriculum,” a basic hermeneutics curriculum for children. Because another thing that I found in my classroom is, I was planning Bible lessons every day and they were engaging and exciting and the kids enjoyed them. But one day I stepped back and said, so what happens when I’m not here anymore? Like what happens over summer break? What happens when they go to fourth grade? What happens when they’re in high school? You know, are they going to stop seeking God through his Word because I’m not there to plan really exciting lessons for them? So, I completely changed the way that I taught Bible class after that. I mean, I still intentionally planned things, but I said, you know what? I’m not planning these crazy wild activities. We’re going to sit down, we’re going to read God’s word, and I gave them a few basic Bible study questions that we could use in any passage of scripture that we read. And then we would read it together and then eventually I’d have them do small groups and then eventually independently. And after that year, I would have students that would tell me they just read through all of scripture, you know, like in fourth and fifth grade and they would come and tell me, you know, “Miss U, I’m in Lamentations,” or “Miss U, I’m in the Book of Acts.” And it was so exciting to see them get really excited. So, one thing I encourage parents to do is again, give them these transferable skills that they can use in any passage of Scripture. Now, obviously we don’t want eight-year-olds reading through the Book of Leviticus on their own or the Song of Solomon, we have to be discerning there, but there are so many passages of Scripture that they can read on their own. So, the questions that I used to like to have my students ask was to first to read a passage and ask, what does this passage teach about God, so that they’re used to looking for the character and the nature of God in Scripture. Then after that asking, what does this passage teach about humans? So, looking at what do we learn about humans from this passage? And then saving the application part until last then asking, okay, what, should I do now that I know this? So, looking at, okay, how does this apply to my life? So, I would encourage parents, don’t think that your children are too young to be reading Scripture. You know, there can be value in children’s story book Bibles, those can be fun. Those can be a great thing to read through together, but I mean, even as young as four and five, you can be reading God’s actual Word to your children. You know, you’re not going to read it for a half hour, that’s too long for them developmentally, but even for just three, four and five minutes, and as soon as your children can read, get them into the Bible, choose easier passages for them to read, because we want to develop this love for God’s Word. And it’s going to be hard to develop that love if they’re dependent on us, we want to create independence. So, give them those transferable skills and get them in God’s Word.

Mentor Mama:Absolutely. Which of course is our mission here is to help people delight in God’s Word. And I love how you’re just even setting that age back. And I just want to encourage any parents here that might be thinking, oh, it’s too late. I wish I would’ve done that. It’s never too late. It’s never too late. I have adult children now, and it’s never too late to encourage them and even talk about some of the basic things that you just said.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:I was just going to say on a really practical level, with so many apps, we can even just have Scripture playing throughout our home. You know, just put an app on your phone. You know, if you have a 20-year-old child, that’s like, I’m not into that, just put it on. Who knows when the Holy Spirit is going to bring that to their mind?

Mentor Mama:Absolutely. The other thing I wanted to mention for young children and something that really impacted my daughter, Taylor, was there’s a Bible, I think it’s called The Action Bible. I’ll put a link in the show notes, but it’s actually like cartoon renderings of the Bible, but very well done, very well done. And it actually makes the Bible kind of come to life. And so, we found that to be a great tool, too, that you could use alongside then asking the questions that you suggested. Well, Elizabeth, thank you so much for what you’ve talked about. How can people find out more information about you and some of the resources that you have?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Yes. If they go to, we have tons of free resources on there: webinars, blogs, and we have a monthly book club. Then we also have curriculums that you can use and implement in your homes or in your churches or in your schools with the kids that God has placed in your care. So,

Mentor Mama:That’s so awesome. Before we go, I just want to ask you a couple of our standard questions here about your favorite Bible study tools. What Bible do you use and what translation is it?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:I usually like to have a couple different translations with me just to see what different translators say. When I’m listening to the Bible, I love the ESV version. I just love that translation and the ESV app has Kristyn Getty reading it in her wonderful Irish accent. So, I love that. So, I listen to that all throughout the day in the ESV. And then my favorite Bible study Bible is called the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. It’s published by Zondervan and the reason that I really love that one is, you know, we’re so far removed from the ancient near Eastern culture, especially, and then also the Greco Roman culture of the first century. And so, the notes in that Bible, they just give the cultural background of like, when it says this item or like the people did this, why did they do that? What would this have meant in the culture back then? It just helps give me a clearer understanding of, okay, how would the original audience have understood this? So, I love the Cultural Background Study Bible. I think it’s only published in two versions. I think it’s in the NIV and the New King James version, and so, the one I have is in the NIV. And then when I’m listening to Scripture, I love the ESV app with Kristyn Getty reading it.

Mentor Mama:I’ll make sure I put links to those in our show notes below. Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Yes. I love journaling. I found really early on in my Christian walk when I was in high school, I found that I had a lot of trouble focusing on praying because I’m a thinker and my mind is constantly going. So, I would start off with Dear God, thank you, and then I would be 20 miles away in that second. So, I actually love to journal out my prayers, so that’s something that really helps me focus after I’ve just read a passage of Scripture, I might actually write down some of the verses or if I’m memorizing a certain passage, I might write that down. And then I really love to respond through journaling. The journals that I like, I’m just a person that likes routine and order, so, I just have the same exact journal that I buy from Amazon all the time, so that they’re all lined up and look the same, but that can look different for different people, but yes, I just love prayer journaling and response to reading Scripture.

Mentor Mama:That’s a great way to just enhance and kind of really meditate on what you’ve learned in God’s word when you’re journaling. How about one last one? What is your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:The app that I probably go to most on my phone is Blue Letter Bible. I’m sure a lot of people say that. I don’t have a background in the original languages of the Bible, I know basically nothing about Hebrew or Greek. And so, I really love to be able to go on that app and just look at the Lexicon and say, okay, what does this word mean in the Greek? Am I missing something? Or what does this word mean in the Hebrew? Am I missing something? I also love how you can just pull up parallel translations, because I think it’s helpful to even see, okay, how have different English-speaking translators translated these passages either similarly or differently? So Blue Letter Bible’s my current favorite.

Mentor Mama:Oh, that’s awesome. I love that one too. Well Elizabeth, thank you so much for being here today to share your thoughts on preparing the next generation to be lifelong critical thinkers, and most importantly, lifelong disciples of Jesus. What you’re doing is just so encouraging and so amazing. So delighted to have you on our blog today.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz:Thank you for having me on. It’s been a joy.

Mentor Mama:And for our readers, you can find all of the links to Elizabeth and what we’ve talked about today throughout this blog post. Please share in our YouTube podcast video comments, your thoughts and struggles in parenting in today’s culture, and teaching our children to think critically while navigating culture so that we can all learn from one another. And lastly, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our Prayer Journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at Thank you so much for joining us today on our blog. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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