Books that Spark podcast cover: Elizabeth Urbanowicz and Helping our Children Understand the Truth

Episode 176: Elizabeth Urbanowicz and Helping Our Children Understand Truth

In this episode we talk with Elizabeth Urbanowicz, founder and CEO of Foundation Worldview, about her new book and teaching our children to discern truth.

Our Guest: Elizabeth Urbanowicz

Elizabeth Urbanowicz is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about equipping kids to understand the truth of the biblical worldview. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her professional career teaching elementary students at a Christian school. After completing her M.A. in Christian Apologetics at Biola University, Elizabeth started Foundation Worldview, an organization that helps Christian adults equip children to carefully evaluate every idea and understand the truth of the biblical worldview.

Information on Foundation Worldview

Our Story
Foundation Worldview began with the realization that the Christian youth exodus
doesn’t begin with teens, it begins with kids.
Our Founder
Elizabeth Urbanowicz (er-ban-o-wits) is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about
equipping kids to understand the truth of the biblical worldview. She holds an M.A. in
Christian Apologetics from Biola University.
Our Mission
Foundation Worldview exists to equip Christian adults with the resources they need
to train children to soundly interpret Scripture, carefully evaluate every idea they
encounter, and understand the truth of the biblical worldview.
Our Resources
Foundation Worldview creates curridula, podcasts, webinars, and book clubs that
equip Christian adults to disciple the children God has placed in their care.
Our Curriculum
Foundation Worldview offers the Biblcal Worldview Curriculum for ages 4+, the
Attributes of God Curriculum for ages 4+, the Comparative Worldview Curriculum
for ages 8+, the Studying the Bible Curriculum for ages 8+, and the Careful Thinking
Curriculum for ages 10+.
Contact
To learn more about Foundation Worldview, contact Renee Reithel, Public Relations
and Media Outreach, at renee@foundationworldview.com or (502) 380-6900.

Show Notes with Links:

00:10 – Welcome/Introduction

00:44 – What Is Truth?

02:26 – Why helping little ones understand truth is so important

04:35 – Foundation Worldview Curriculum

09:52 – Being Proactive rather than Reactive

11:38 – Resources on the Foundation Worldview Website

12:40 – FoundationWorldview.com

12:57 – Next book about the difference between truth and feelings

14:07 – Illustrator: Miranda Duncan

14:32 – Closing

TerrieHellardBrown.com

What Is Truth? Book

Show Transcript:

Terrie:

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. Well, today we have Elizabeth Urbanowicz with us once again, but this time to share with us about her brand new book. Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us.

Elizabeth:

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Terrie.

Terrie:

Well, I love your book and I can’t wait to talk about it and let our people know about it. It just launched, right? When did it come out?

Elizabeth:

It did. So just around Thanksgiving, like the day after Thanksgiving in November it came out.

Terrie:

Wow, that’s great, and it’s called What Is Truth? So tell us about this little book.

Elizabeth:

Yes. So What Is Truth? is just designed to be an interactive and playful book for little ones where we explore the concept of truth through really engaging illustrations and games that are getting the little ones to include both their bodies and their minds in the learning process. So we wrote this just with a desire to help little ones understand what truth is, and with every idea they encounter to ask themselves, hmm, is this true or is this not true?

Terrie:

I love that, and it is, it’s very interactive. This is written for three to five year olds, would you say?

Elizabeth:

About that range? We say four to seven year olds, but you could include three year olds in there as well.

Terrie:

Okay. So for those who haven’t read the book yet, it does have an interactive element to it where like Elizabeth said, that children respond with their bodies as well as their words when the question is asked, “Is this truth or not?” and I love that for little guys to be able to be active and moving as we’re sharing the story together.

Elizabeth:

Yes, that was one thing we really wanted to incorporate just because a lot of people on my team have little ones in that age span and they love to read to them, so we wanted a book that would both engage them through the illustrations but also really get their bodies involved as well.

Terrie:

Yeah, that’s awesome. To start out with that young age to get them thinking about truth, and I know we’ve talked about this before, but your organization is Foundation Worldview, and you deal with helping children especially to understand truth and to evaluate what they’re being told. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Elizabeth:

Yes. The reason that we’re so passionate about helping little ones understand truth really has two reasons behind it. First, we know that truth is important to God, that God is the source of all truth, that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth that He is the truth, He is the true way to God, so we know that truth should be very important for Christians because it’s very important to God. And the second reason is, it’s very confusing in this time and culture to discern what is true simply because of all of the competing ideas that are thrown our way. You know, when you think about life 150, 200 years ago, very few ideas were passed a person’s way simply because there was not the same technology that we have. So in one year of our kids’ lives, they’re going to be confronted with more competing ideas than most humans throughout history have been confronted with in their entire lives, so we really need to make sure that we’re giving our children, especially our little ones, just some basic skills to be able to discern truth from error, because there’s no way that we can prepare them for every single idea that they’re going to encounter, but we can give them some transferrable skills that they can use in any and every situation to discern what is true.

Terrie:

I love that. I’ve never thought about how much they are bombarded with so many varied ideas and things that are thrown at them that they say are truth that we have to evaluate. So that’s amazing. Hadn’t really thought how much that is, and I love it too. I always think of it as kind of immunizing our kids because, like you said, we cannot be with them all the time. We cannot teach them every lesson we want to for them to know exactly what the Bible says, even to make sure they’ve got everything down when they’re confronted with different ideas, but then if we help them to think and to think critically, then they can evaluate what they’re confronted with and I really love that. Okay, so you offer a great curriculum and since we talked the last time on my podcast, you’ve added a curriculum for these young guys as well. Can you go through the different levels of your curriculum and what you offer?

Elizabeth:

Yeah, so our goal really is to give Christian adults, whether they be parents or church leaders or Christian educators, resources that they can implement really easily with the children that God has placed in their care to get them to think critically and biblically in all areas of life. The primary way that we do that is through our curriculums. We have three different levels of curriculums. We have one for children that are ages four on up, another for children that are ages eight on up, and then another for children that are ages 10 on up. So last time we talked, we did have our first curriculum out for these little guys. We had our biblical worldview curriculum out, and then just this past summer we released an Attributes of God curriculum, and the goal with that is to help little ones understand a biblical reality based understanding of who God is and therefore who they are based on the fact of who God is and how He has designed them.

Elizabeth:

We’re really excited about that, and even just the book that we talked about at the beginning of this podcast, the What Is Truth? book that really is the foundation of both of the curriculums we have out for little ones in that in our biblical worldview curriculum, we start off with our first five lessons just talking about what truth is and why it’s so important to know truth, then in our Attributes of God curriculum, we start off with a lesson where the main point is that we need to know truth about God. So we just really want to set little ones and all of these resources on the trajectory of discerning and seeking out truth.

Terrie:

That’s so vital too. I was listening to someone recently and they were saying, “Why didn’t you teach us to discern? That’s what we needed more than anything else. As we were growing up, we needed discernment,” and I thought, “Woah, we’ve really missed it if we haven’t prepared our children and helped them to see it,” cause in scripture, all of us are called to discern the truth, so I think that’s amazing. The other thing I love about this book, back to your little book, What Is Truth? is, as a parent, sometimes we feel Ill-equipped to really know how to approach these topics with our kids. We want to help them understand and to think critically, but maybe we feel overwhelmed with those wonderful apologists we see everywhere, but we feel Ill-equipped for that. That’s what I loved about your book. It breaks it down, it makes it so simple, it makes it fun, and it helps parents as well to feel more confident and empowered to be able to have these discussions and to start that discussion with our children and be able to see how simple it is to continue on. So as they’re going through the day and something comes up and a child may say something that is not true, to stop and say the same thing, “Is that true or not?” and to evaluate. I just think this is brilliant. I think it’s going to be such a great resource for families.

Elizabeth:

Thank you for pointing that out, because that is exactly what our goal was in creating this book that, yeah, we want it to be playful and interactive and engaging in a book that kids come back to you time and again, but we also want it to be the foundation for so many discussions that parents are going to have with their children. The game that we play where if we say a sentence that’s true, they have to spread their arms out and say “True.” If we say a sentence that’s not true, they have to cross their arms like an X and say “Not true,” we want that to be a game that families are going to play all the time. When little ones are in the car, instead of I spy or I’m thinking of an animal that they’ll play, say “Let’s play the true or not true game!” We want that, and as you said, conversations come up in everyday life or as they’re watching a show together as a family that they can pause it and say, “Hmm, let’s think about that, what that character just said. Is that true or is that not true? How do we know?” So thank you for pointing that out cause that is the exact goal.

Terrie:

That’s awesome. Oh, I just love it, I think it’s wonderful. I used it even with my older kids. My kids are grown and we still have that discussion because they’re science kids. They love watching all the science documentaries and videos and many times, they have things that are not true in those documentaries. So from a very young age they’ve been able to say, no, I know this isn’t true, and to just ignore the parts that contradict the word of God, and this was quite a few years ago, but they’ve come out with these CGI documentaries or videos that sound like they’re a real documentary and they’re all fiction, it’s all fantasy, and here my kids are watching the science channel and discovery and all of that, and I thought, “Do you even know that this isn’t even real at all?” I mean, it’s all CGI, it’s all made up, it’s all supposition.

Terrie:

And of course, I was very happy and very proud of them because they recognized it right away. So they were quite savvy at a very young age when it comes to those kinds of things, and it was so vital because we lived in a country that was not Christian at all. Less than 2% Christian when we moved there, so they grew up in that environment. They grew up in an environment that espouses reincarnation, ghosts and fear, and living in fear of spirits; all of these kinds of things they were confronted with on a daily basis. So helping them to be equipped to recognize truth was vital, and I think now in America it’s vital as well. It’s always been vital, but I think it’s becoming more imperative, as you said, because of our environment and what they’re exposed to. What other advice would you give parents as they are facing this, as they are trying to build a strong biblical worldview for their kids? How can we help our kids even more?

Elizabeth:

Well, the term that I usually like to give parents is to think of how can we be proactive rather than reactive? Because a lot of times what we do is we wait until something comes up, whether it’s in culture or around the dining room table or at school or in the neighborhood, then we react to it and obviously when things that happen that are not biblical kids are exposed to them, we do have to respond. We do have to help our kids talk through those things. However, if we can be proactive in preparing our kids with a biblical reality-based understanding of life so that they understand the goodness of God’s design, then when they encounter manipulations of that good design or corruptions of that good design, that they’re prepared to understand how that is different than God’s good design, and then we can talk through, okay, why is this a corruption of God’s good design?

Elizabeth:

If we don’t have those proactive conversations or we don’t do things like grounding them in an understanding of what truth is and how they can seek the truth and that God’s word is truth, then we’re going to have to do a lot of backpedaling when these different situations arise in culture. So that would just be my encouragement to parents, to be proactive in building a solid biblical foundation so that our kids understand that God’s word is true, that they can trust it, what god’s good design is, so that then when they encounter counterfeits or corruptions in culture, they’re prepared to then have that conversation, and you don’t have to do a lot of backpedaling. What you can do is comparing and contrasting how does this differ from God’s good design? Are there any parts that align with God’s good design? How do you know? So that would be my encouragement.

Terrie:

I love that. That’s good. On your website, I wanted to also mention that you have a lot of resources for parents, not just the curriculum for children. Can you tell us about those resources you have?

Elizabeth:

Yes. So we have a number of different resources. Usually at least once a month we do a webinar and that’ll either be a time where I do 45 minutes of teaching on a certain topic and then live Q&A or I’ll interview an author and we’ll talk about their book and how it can help parents and then do live Q&A there. We also have a podcast that comes out twice a week where people will write into our organization with questions and we just try to answer those questions in under 20 minutes so it’s quick and easy for parents on the go. We have a book club that comes out once a month where we just recommend three different titles, one title for adults, one for 8 to 12 year olds and one for 4 to 7 year olds, and for the two titles recommended for kids, we have corresponding worldview questions so parents can read through the books with their kids and then talk through those questions. The goal in all of those resources, like I said at the beginning, is just to equip Christian adults with the skills that they need to get their kids to think critically and biblically in every area of life.

Terrie:

I love that. That’s great. Can you tell us the website’s address so we’d be sure we have that for parents to find you?

Elizabeth:

Yes. If you can remember the name of the organization, which is Foundation Worldview, and you go to FoundationWorldview.com, you can find all of our resources there.

Terrie:

That’s great. Well thank you so much. I really am excited about this book. Are you going to publish some more books in the future?

Elizabeth:

Well, we already have our second one in the works. I don’t know if we’ll do anymore after that one, but the second one is going to be on discerning the difference between truths and feelings, so that one will hopefully come out within the next six months.

Terrie:

Oh, I love that. Woah, that’s really important too, that’s awesome. Okay, well when that comes out, I will definitely be talking about it on the podcast and maybe we can even have you on again. That would be great. I talk about your website all the time because I think it is such a great resource for parents and like I said, we often feel so ill-equipped to handle the things that are coming at our kids. We were raised in a basically Christian culture for the most part, and it has changed so radically that I see young parents feeling so overwhelmed and feeling betrayed by the school system and stuff sometimes, so I feel like your website is like an oasis in the desert we live in right now, so I’ve talked about it many times cause I just appreciate what you guys are doing so, so much. I think it’s so vital, so important, and such a blessing to have it available for parents.

Elizabeth:

Well thank you, Terrie.

Terrie:

Well thank you so much and as we said, the website is FoundationWorldview.com. You can find everything we’ve talked about there. Check out the book, it is really cute. The kids will love it, and the illustrator, we should mention her name. The illustrator is Miranda Duncan and she’s done such a cute job with all the pictures in the book. It really is a fun interactive book and I can’t wait to see the next one that comes out. So thank you so much for taking your time with us, Elizabeth. We really appreciate it.

Elizabeth:

My pleasure, Terrie.

Terrie:

Thank you for joining us for “Books That Spark,” where we encourage each other to grasp those teachable moments sparked by great books and 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 are here or leave comments on one of the podcast host sites. We truly appreciate you. 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.

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