This week we talk about homeschooling and about using books and other resources to help our children become global citizens living a biblical worldview. Lots of great books!
(00:52): Thank you for the encouragement about my new book: Building Character through Picture Books
(01:45): Asking for notes
(4:51): Psalm 57:9
(5:54): Other scriptures
(7:58): Sharing the Gospel
(8:45): Helping our children understand Christian suffering
(11:16): Creating literature passports
(12:06): Round Is a Mooncake
Round Is a Tortilla
Red Is a Dragon
Green Is a Chile Pepper
One Is a Pinata
1,2,3, Dim Sum
(13:01): Lon Po Po
Seven Chinese Brothers
The Great Wall of China
Welcome to Singapore
Welcome to Ecuador
(13:51): My Breakfast with Jesus
A Bedtime Full of Stories: 50 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World
A Year Full of Stories: 52 Folk Tales and Legends from around the world
(14:42): Cora Cooks Pancit
Once Upon a Time: Traditional Latin American Tales
(16:00): Moja Means One
Jambo Means Hello
Tales of East Africa
(16:35): Anasi the Spider
My First Book of Tagalog Words
My First Words in Spanish
(17:23): Babbel app
The benefit of learning second and third languages
(18:25): Ping Ping and the Very Hairy, Slightly Scary Man
(19:04): Russian Folk Tales Ultimate Collection
(23:22): The power of testimony
Ministering to the world in our midst
(25:50): Experiencing other cultures in our communities
Sharing Thanksgiving and Christmas
(26:30): Language Exchange
Books Discussed in This Episode:
Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children. We just returned from two homeschool conventions recently. We just got back last night from the last one, and I wanted to share some things with you from the conventions and about some books I talked about in my discussion when I did my talk at the two events. So let’s jump on in. First of all, what a wonderful time; I had such a great time getting to know so many of you out there who are homeschooling your kids, trying to disciple your children faithfully and want to see your children grow into wonderful responsible human beings, and I love that. And we talked a lot about books. There are some of you who want to write and I gave you my advice and how to get started. It was just really a blessing, and I thank you so much to those of you who encouraged me with my new book that just launched, Building Character Through Picture Books: 25 Devotionals for Your Family, and so many of you have given me such great feedback on that, and I do appreciate that very much, I’m very excited about this book. But one of the things I talked about during both events that we went to recently, I did a talk on how to give our children the world, and when we say that phrase, giving our children the world, we usually think of material things, but of course I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about how we can give our children the world through prayer and literature and discipleship through missions and cultural events, and so I just want to spend the next few minutes talking about that and sharing some of the books that I can recommend to you. And if you’re interested in knowing more, you’re welcome to comment on the blog post from this episode or email me, and I would love to answer any of your questions, and if you want to get some of the materials that I shared at the event, I can email those to you as well, so just let me know. But as most of you know, we were missionaries in Taiwan for 15 years and our children pretty much grew up in Taiwan, and our oldest daughter, one of the things she said when we first moved to Taiwan is we’re having the time of our lives, and I just love that. I started talking about that because I think it’s wonderful that her attitude from the beginning, even though she wasn’t sure what to expect, she knew we were on an adventure, and I want our children to feel that, that they are on an adventure in this life with us as their parents, with Christ in their lives, and that they are never alone, but they’re always on an adventure. Life is truly an adventure. So that’s part of what we want to accomplish as we’re trying to help our children become global citizens who live a biblical worldview and live a biblical lifestyle and culture as well, so that is one of the main things is that life is an adventure, and one of the things I also shared is that when we give our children the world, we also understand that God may call them to it and it builds in them, especially as they become third culture kids. If you live in another culture, they are usually drawn to either always travel, always go places, or they settle down in one place. It seems to be one or the other with third culture kids, and so we have both in our family, and one of my daughters is right now over in Thailand, I believe that’s where she is right now, and having a wonderful time running around and experiencing culture and meeting people from all over the world and swimming with all kinds of sea animals, so that’s what she’s doing right now. But her heart is overseas and she wants to eventually go back and help with orphans in Myanmar is where her heart is. Learning about the world is a wonderful adventure that we can take together as families, and when we do, we are blessing our children. We’re building in them, like I said, the desire to be a global citizen while living a biblical culture, and that should be our goal, in my opinion, that we are building global citizens while we’re living a biblical culture, and the other thing I shared with everyone is even if we don’t take our children out in the world, even if we don’t give them the world, so to speak, by teaching them about other cultures. If God is calling them, His calling is still going to stand, He’s still going to call them to what He is drawing them to, and my mom always joked about that because she was more of a homebody and I wanted to travel the world- I wanted to go and do missions and nothing could stop me once I knew that was what God was calling me to, and she said, well that was definitely a God thing, because it wasn’t something that I inherited from her. But it’s true, if God is calling our kids, He’s going to call them, and we might as well equip them and prepare them the best we can. In Psalm 57:9, it says, “I will thank you Lord among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations.” And I love that verse because it’s just a reminder of what we should be doing, thanking God and living out our faith in front of people and then praising Him among the nations so that they can get a glimpse of who He is, and I always pray that God would give people a holy curiosity to want to learn more about Him and His ways and His word, and that as we live out our faith, people be drawn to Him. And of course we want to share our faith and we want to share the gospel with people, but we also need to make sure we’re living the gospel, and that people can see Christ in our lives and see a difference in the way we do things and in the way that we approach life, that we approach it with hope, with dignity, with security in Him and without fear. So there are several scriptures, and I’m just going to list out some scriptures for you if you want to look them up and search a little further, but some of the scriptures that I shared, Matthew 12:18-21 gives us a picture of how we can be Christ-like in the way that we reach out into the world because it’s how God described Christ, and then Ephesians 4:14-16 shows us that as we grow in the Lord, we don’t have to worry about different beliefs, different things that are taught. If we are firm in our foundation of faith and in the word of God, we can remain strong and we will continue to grow in understanding of God and in love for Him and for others. And then Romans 12:9-21 is an excellent section of scripture as well, Romans 12:2 in helping us to know how we should be as followers of Christ and as people who are carrying the gospel to the world. So, some of the things we need to teach our kids if they’re going to be global citizens is: number one, God loves all people and Christ died for people everywhere. This is vital. And second of course is that we should love all people and carry the gospel to everyone who will listen. We need to remember that we are called to be salt and light making a difference in the world. I love to be able to talk about what salt and light means, first of all in just a scientific way, what salt does, but then to apply it then as the analogy to our Christian faith. What does it mean for us to be salt and light to the world? And then thirdly, we need to pray for all people. We need to truly pray that God would open their hearts to His love and His forgiveness, that He would give them a curiosity to learn more about Him in His ways and that there would be peace brought into their lives, into their culture, and that they would learn to love others as well as they grow in their faith in Christ, and we need to truly pray for other Christians around the world too who are being persecuted and that they would be strong and courageous and wise in what they do, and bold when they share their faith, but that many around them would know that their faith is genuine and that God is real. And then we need to share the gospel and we can help our children learn to share the gospel even from very young ages, especially if they have a real gift for evangelism. You won’t be able to stop them anyway, but we’ve often used the little evangelism bracelet where you have the beads of different colors and it helps you go through the gospel, the three circles method of sharing the gospel is really wonderful, and so there’s lots of ways we can help equip our kids, but the best thing we can help them do is to learn how to share what Christ has done in their lives. Testimonies are such powerful tools to help share the gospel and to help the world know God and how He works by sharing what He’s done in our lives and in our kids’ lives, so helping our kids know how to share what God has done in their life is a wonderful thing, and then helping our children understand that there are those who suffer for their faith, and that not everyone’s going to be kind when we share the gospel. Sometimes people are not, and that doesn’t mean they’re not listening and it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested eventually, but sometimes we’re just the one planting the seed, and someone else will water the seed, and someone else will be there to pray with them when they’re ready to open their hearts to Jesus, and so we need to help our kids understand that too. So we need to teach them these five things primarily that God loves all people. Christ died for all people everywhere, we need to love people. Number two, we are salt and light making a difference in the world. Number three, pray for all people for share the gospel and how to share the gospel, and number five, that many suffer for their faith, and we may be called on to suffer as well, even if it’s just feeling sad because someone rejected what Jesus said. I guess that’s six things that we must love people too. The seventh thing we want to teach our kids is that God has placed eternity in the hearts of people, and this is something I just love to help new Christians understand and to remind ourselves as we are going through our day. If someone is asking us about Jesus or asking about our faith or even teasing us about our faith, it often is because Jesus is calling them. It’s because the Holy Spirit is at work in them, but He has placed eternity in the hearts of all people. There is a natural desire to know God in all of us, and I mean, you look at the world and most of the people have a faith of some sort because they are trying to make sense of life, they’re trying to find God, they’re trying to find the way to a meaningful purpose filled life. And even atheists are out there looking for a way to find meaning in life, I believe, and to feel significant, and so there’s a natural way that God has made us to be that way, and so I think it’s wonderful when we recognize that it makes it a little easier to not take things personally when someone is snarky or unkind, but that we can be more open to moving along and being okay with that because we know they’re at a certain place in their walk spiritually and we know that God has placed eternity in their hearts. There is, as we used to say, a God shaped hole in their heart, and my husband always says, we’re like one beggar who knows where the bread is helping another beggar find bread, so we can help our kids to have that kind of an attitude and have the right approach to what we’re trying to do. Now through literature, we can share the gospel, we can help our children learn how to share the gospel, and we can also help prepare our kids for other cultures. So because we talk about books and focus on books mostly on this podcast, I wanted to share some great picture books, of course, and some other books that we can use in helping our children understand the world more and to be a part of the world, to be global citizens in the world. So if you are wanting to study different countries, I like to make a little passport with stickers or stamps in it, and especially if you’re homeschooling, you can spend a week talking about a different area or a different country or a different cultural part of the world. So you might focus on a country like Taiwan or China, or you might just focus on Asia and do it by continents, that’s up to you, but there are so many great books out there, and there are also audiobooks on Librivox that you can listen to for free, but what I love too is, there are these great books out that are counting color and shape books that teach you different words and different things about culture in different areas. One is Round is a Moon Cake, which is talking about shapes from an Asian perspective, and then we have Round is a Tortilla, which is talking about the Spanish or Latin heritage, and there’s others like this that are the same type of thing. We have. Red is a Dragon, we have Green is a Chile Pepper, One is a Pinata, One, Two, Three, Dim Sum, which I like too. So there are counting books, color books, shape books that you can find in different cultural settings and that will help you learn either language or culture, and so those are a lot of fun, and I’ll post some of those in the show notes so you can see those. Then we have fairytales. Every country has its own fairytales, and some have retellings of very similar fairytales to what we have in America, Lon Po Po is a Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood, or that kind of a story. We have The Seven Chinese brothers. I’ve also seen with The Five Chinese Brothers, that old legend, which is a lot of fun to read, and then we have historical books that tell you about actual history, and we have quite a few of those. The Great Wall of China by Leonard Everett Fisher. We have books that in the title says, Welcome to Singapore, Welcome to Ecuador, and those are not always in print still, but you can still get them, especially at your library, and those are available and they teach you about the culture and about the country, and there are some books that are really wonderful that cover multiple cultures in one volume. One I’ve talked about many times on this episode and actually interviewed the author is, My Breakfast With Jesus, which goes all around the world and it’s talking about what breakfast time is like in each country, and so that one’s a lot of fun, and then there’s A Bedtime Full of Stories: 50 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Anna Shepeta, and there’s A Year Full of Stories, which is 52 Folk Tales and Legends from Around the World by Angela McAllister, and this one’s illustrated by Christopher Corr. So these are some books that deal with more than one culture and so would be a great resource to have available for the Philippines. I have to share one book with you that I just love, it’s called Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and Illustrated by Kristi Valiant, and this is such an adorable story about a Filipino family here in the US, and she wants to learn how to cook pancit. Pancit Guisado is a great Filipino dish if you’ve never had it. It means fried noodles of course, but it’s really wonderful and you can get it with all different kinds of flavors and meats and you squeeze little kumquats or limes or different citrus over it to make it taste wonderful, but that’s a book about learning to cook pancit, and in the Hispanic Spanish Latin culture, we also have a book called Once Upon a Time: Traditional Latin American Tales. Now when we’re talking about these different fairy tales, and especially if you’re getting a collection of stories, you will want to preview them and decide if they’re appropriate for what you want to read with your children because some of them have some religious practices listed in them. Some will have witches and ghosts and different things like that. Even Lon Po Po, it’s a little creepy, a little scary if your kids get scared easily cause it’s talking about a wolf and he’s being tricky and sneaky, and so just be aware, and you know your children best, and you know what you feel right sharing with them. But when you’re dealing with these foreign cultural fairytales, you’re also often dealing with foreign culture in their religion, their practices, their family relationships were maybe different. So you need to be aware of those things and know what you’re ready to share with your children. So some other fun books, let’s go to the African continent. There’s Moja Means One, it’s an old counting book that I just love. Teaches you, I believe it’s Swahili that that one is, and Jambo Means Hello is Swahili alphabet book, and then we have Tales of East Africa. And then of course you cannot forget a Anansi the Spider Stories. I love those stories when I was a kid, had a book of those when I was growing up, and then there’s so many wonderful stories out of Africa that are just so much fun to read, so check those out at your library and check out the different kinds of picture books that are available as you’re getting ready to teach your children about different parts of the world, and then the other thing I want to mention is you can use picture books to teach language. There are books about Your First Words in Tagalog, Your First Words in Spanish, just about every language you’re thinking of, probably. You can find a first words book in that language to read with your children and you guys can learn some basic words in a different language. And of course, we all love our wonderful apps that are available between Babel, Duolingo, and those type of apps that allow you to learn different pronunciations and different words from different languages, so I encourage you to bring those out, and if you don’t know, I’m sure you do, but if you don’t, if you’re new to being a parent, you may not know yet, but when we help our children become bilingual, trilingual, multilingual, we are helping their brain develop in a different way and they also will improve in their ability to learn other subjects besides languages, and it becomes a real gift that we’re giving our children when we do that, not to mention the joy of being able to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak English. It’s wonderful to be able to, especially here in America, if someone is needing help and they don’t speak English or don’t speak it well, to know another language and be able to help them is such a ministry and such a blessing when you’re traveling around the world. There may be times when no one around you speaks English and knowing a few words in another language can really help a lot. I want to share one more picture book before we move along. This one I have shared before and it is a little bit difficult to find, it is from OMF, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and it is by Jennifer Su McIntyre, and I really love her work, not just her picture book, but some of her other books I’ve read too, but Ping Ping and The Very Hairy, Slightly Scary Man is a missionary story and it is a fun, fun story. Of course I love it because it’s about Taiwan. It’s a great story and it kind of shows how a child might be responding to some missionary who looks very different from what he’s used to and it’s just a cute, cute story. We have several books from Russia, but there’s one called Russian Folk Tales Ultimate Collection by Riley M. Green and Illustrated by Charis B. Chusna, and this is a whole collection of different Russian stories, so that’s a lot of fun, and then you can also find some of the fairy tales and folk tales right online and you don’t have to pay to even go buy the book, you don’t have to go get the book from the library, the stories are on the web, and so you can search for whatever country you’re looking at folk tales from, and then list the country and see what you can find, and again, I want to remind you to please preview those before you show them to your children and make sure you’re ready to either talk about what the story has in it or choose a different story if it isn’t quite what you want them to read or to hear. Even in our own culture, the Western culture, if you look at some of the Grimm Fairy Tales, you wouldn’t want your kids reading those when they were little either, so we want to make sure that we’re giving our children things that are right for them where they are developmentally. Okay, so this is what I talked about at the different events. Of course I had an hour long talk and shared a lot more than what I’m sharing with you today, but I just wanted to share a few books with you, share with you how much fun this has been the last couple weeks going and sharing and being a part of these homeschool families and getting to see them such a joy and such a blessing, and I just am so impressed with homeschoolers and homeschool families. One of the things you notice when you go to these events is how confident and full of integrity these young children are. There’s a maturity about them and a brilliance. Some of them are so, so smart, but also you just see this way of acting. Everybody says that homeschooling doesn’t allow a child to be socialized well, and I would disagree 100%. Children who grow up in the security of their family being held accountable by their parents and their siblings, you see such a grace in their lives and such a maturity in the way that they respond to other people. They’re not all day long with one age group that’s all their age, their same level of maturity. They’re interacting with people of all different ages and learning to care for the young, and encourage and help the younger ones, and they are around older people and are expected to show respect and manners and, oh my goodness, it’s just been such a blessing to see the difference in these children. Then you see sometimes when you’re talking about a regular traditional classroom, the socialization is night and day, but it’s more positive in my opinion, in the homeschool setting. I’ve just been very impressed what I’ve experienced on my own as well as what I saw at these events, so I just am thrilled that so many families are choosing to homeschool their kids, and the relationships you see these dads have with their kids are wonderful, they are respected, the kids respect their fathers, and the fathers just pour life into their kids. It’s just beautiful and I’m really impressed, and just want to encourage those of you who have chosen to do this, cause I know it’s not easy. It is a definite choice that requires a real commitment on every family member, and so I am just so impressed and pray that you are really truly blessed as you endeavor to raise your children well and teach them well, and I know some of you don’t have this choice, you just don’t. You have to work, and if you had your choice, maybe you would homeschool, but you can’t, and I’m not trying to discount what you’re doing either, but I would encourage you to disciple your children, every opportunity that you have, pour into their lives guide and direct them and help them to become global citizens, living a biblical culture. I think that should be all of our goals, all of us in all of our lives, that should be our goal. The other thing I really wanted to emphasize, there’s a couple other things that we pray, pray, pray for our children, for our communities, for our world, and for people especially who are in other cultures, who are persecuted for their faith, that they would stand strong and that if the Lord wills that He would rescue them from that. And then also that we would share what God has done in our lives because our testimonies for our children are powerful in helping them grow in their faith, and our testimonies with others can help them see how God has made a difference in our lives and our testimonies. Helping our children know how to share their testimony gives them tools they can use to make a difference in the world, and as we try to build global citizenship into our children, we can do that right here at home. In almost all of our communities we have refugees, we have those who have immigrated to the U.S. and we have opportunities to minister to them, but also to just befriend them and help them know that we care about them. It is hard when you move to a new culture to just navigate the simplest of things. We needed help getting cell phones, we needed help getting electricity, there are so many things that- just think about when you move to a new home, the things you have to do to get that home set up. Now imagine if you couldn’t speak the language and didn’t know the culture, didn’t know what number to call or what office to call, or where to find the information to do what you needed to do to set up your household, how hard that would be, or if you went into the grocery store and couldn’t read what the labels said, what would you do? How would you navigate that? If we can put ourselves in the place of the people around us and help our kids to do the same, then we’ll have more compassion in helping those who have moved into our communities who may need a little help from us and who could use some help with language, who could use some help with setting up their homes, getting their kids in school, all of these things, and you can do a lot of wonderful volunteer work to help these families. There are organizations like World Relief who will even tell you what kind of gift basket you could make because, if they’ve got a young child and need diapers or different things cause they’re brand new to the country, what we can do and help our children put together to bless these people as they are moving into our different communities. So this is a wonderful way to teach missions, to teach culture and to teach compassion, and so I encourage you to look in your community and see where your children and your family can make a difference in your community, and in the process, help our children to understand that there are people who are very different from us in our culture, or in the way they dress, in the way they interact in their home, and yet they are still wonderful people that God loves just as much as He loves us and help our children to understand that there will often be cultural festivals that we can go to that are a lot of fun in our communities. And when we have Thanksgiving and Christmas, if you contact your local minister at the colleges in your area, they are usually looking for host families who will just let a foreign exchange student come to Thanksgiving dinner with a family or maybe the dorms are closed and they need somewhere to stay just for that weekend, and so we have a great opportunity to minister to them and to get to know them and learn about their culture, and then, the one thing I always loved is we called it language exchange, and we can do that as well to not just teach them English but let them teach us their language, and that is so much fun, and usually how we would do it is we would have one hour of me teaching English to my friend and then one hour of my friend teaching their language to me, or you can do two and two hours or you can do one week. We are learning English the next week we’re learning their language, and so you can go back and forth and choose what works best, but language exchange is a great way not only to help someone who may need to learn English, but then to also show respect for their language and show an interest in their language and learn it, and when you learn a language, you learn a lot about the culture as well, so that’s a lot of fun too. So there are ways that we can really give our children the gift of the world and knowing what it’s like to love other people and experience other cultures. So this is a brief overview of what I shared, quite a bit of what I shared at the two homeschool events and I really had a good time talking with so many of you and talking to you about missions and short-term missions and all of these things, so thank you for coming to the different events. And for those of you who are now part of our mailing list, welcome, we are just glad you’re here, and I hope that we can bless you as we go forward. For those of you who were not at these things, I just wanted to share a little bit of what we talked about, because I do think it is such a gift that we give our children to embrace this life as an adventure, and to grow up to be global citizens living a biblical worldview. Thank you for joining us for “Books That Spark,” where we encourage each other to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share on social media so people know we’re here and leave a review on one of the podcast host sites, we truly, truly appreciate it when you do that, and if you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you and we respond to every comment and question. We pray you feel empowered as a parent or caregiver to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.
Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown
Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.
Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.
Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.
Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.
Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.
Our Fourth Year! Happy Birthday to “Books that Spark!”
I completely forgot to mention that this week marks the beginning of our fourth year for “Books that Spark”! I told several people about it, but when I recorded the episode, I forgot! So, I’ll just write it here: Happy Birthday to Us! We’re so excited to be starting our fourth year. It’s been a joy to be here and to share so many great books with you and to introduce you to so many wonderful authors as well as other helpful resources! If you’ve been a part of “Books that Spark” over the past four years, THANK YOU! We love and appreciate you!