What are the predictors of success in raising up the next generation? Classical Christian education is an “all hands on deck” effort and time-proven habits of the home and school are essential to success. Join us for this conversation with Mandi Moore, a veteran K-12 parent, school founder, and administrator. In this conversation, we address ten areas of student success achievable when the school and the home partner well. We explore the importance of parents as primary influencers and the power parents have to shape what their children love in the midst of busy modern living.
Pulling from her own experiences as a mother, wife, and school administrator, Mandi Moore shares ten specific, actionable habits and behaviors that should be found in our homes and schools. She talks about the essential role that parents play in the formation of their children. Parents are primary! Secondly, she talks about the need for parents to serve as protectors in a world of competing time demands and digital influences. And thirdly, parents must be aware of the powerful influence they have in everyday life from conversations around the dinner table and car ride conversations to church attendance and participating in a community of living faith.
We also unpacked how the digital age has brought with it a tidal wave of cultural influences, and in this episode, we confront the effects of social media and smartphones on our children (and us). She provided a list of resources that families can use in their homes to create meaningful moments for spiritual growth and formation. (see the resources listed in the show notes below) We also explored practical resources like the Postman’s Pledge to encourage families to collaboratively pledge to limit smartphone influences and rethink technology use until their kids reach maturity.
Resources recommended in this episode:
Biography: Mandi Moore
While prayerfully researching education options for our oldest child, my husband and I became convinced that classical Christian education is the most effective method for raising our children to love the Lord whole-heartedly, think deeply from a Biblical worldview, love truth, goodness, and beauty, and share the gospel winsomely.
This conviction led us to serve on the founding board of Cross Classical Academy (CCA) in 2010. When my husband accepted a cardiology position in Boise in 2015, our family relocated to Idaho where our two children continued their journey in classical Christian education at The Ambrose School.
We are deeply committed to the school’s mission and are blessed daily by the community of exceptional staff and families. It has been an honor to serve at the Ambrose Bridge Campus since its conception in 2016.
As a family, we enjoy spending time outdoors: hiking, mountain biking, running, rafting, camping, and skiing as well as cooking and enjoying time with family and friends.
Christ the King Anglican Church – Meridian
Cross Classical Academy – Board President
M.A. Physical Therapy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center;
B.S. Multi-Disciplinary Science, Texas Tech University – College of Education;
Secondary Education Teaching Certification: Composite Science Grades 6-12 – State of Texas
00:08 – Davies Owens (Host)
What are the predictors of a student being successful at school and, ultimately, in life? So much of success is directly tied to our children’s environment at home. Regardless of the type of school your children are in, whether it’s five days a week, collaborative or even homeschooling what you do in your home will directly impact the long-term success of your goals. Join us as we look at the essential habits and practical to-dos that should be in every home involved in raising up the next generation. The good news is that, no matter where you are on the parenting journey, there is still an opportunity to make a significant positive impact. So be encouraged and join us for this episode of Basecamp Live Mountains.
01:08 – Davies Owens (Host)
Welcome to another episode of Basecamp Live with Davies Owens. Thank you for taking time in your busy day to jump on board this podcast an opportunity to be encouraged as we raise up the next generation. I want to start out with a special shout out to Matt Greco and his team at the Seattle Classical Christian School in the heart of the city of downtown Seattle. I had an incredible opportunity last week to be on campus with them, inspired by their remarkable work and the partnership that they have between their teachers and the home really shining as a light right there. As you know, Seattle is not the easiest place to run a classical Christian school. They’re the only ones around in the area of downtown and it’s truly a light and a place that needs the encouragement of Jesus and it’s wonderful, Matt, what you’re doing there, and so prayers go out to you and your team. I had the privilege of being a part of a teacher training event in the afternoon and then an evening of a parent education time. We talked about the topic of preparing our children for this cultural moment, and I’ve so enjoyed just getting out and being on campus. As I am traveling a good bit these days, love to be on your campus. Reach out to me for info at basecampalive.com or check out the Basecamp Live website for more details. This episode I always like to thank those organizations that we believe in and that have a lot to offer us America’s Christian Credit Union, Classical Learning Test, Gutenberg College, and Wilson Hill Academy. A special thank you in particular for sponsoring this episode of Basecamp Live.
In this episode, I get to sit down after five years and believe that much time has gone past. As Mandy Moore, whose episode five years ago was on the collaborative model, this home and school collaboration, that the Ambrose School calls the Bridge Program. So many schools around the country are looking at these collaborative models and I encourage that. I think it’s a great solution that fits well next to five-day schools and even home schools.
Mandy is an amazing, dynamic individual and you’ll get to hear in this episode. She’s perfectly positioned for this conversation because she is both a mom who has gone the distance with her youngest now almost all the way out of the K-12 journey, and she’s an administrator who has started a school and has a great heart for the challenges that it takes to run a school and to collaborate well with parents. There are a lot of resources that she talks about. If you go to the show notes on the website, you can link to those specific resources, and you can read more details of her full biography. But without further ado, let me jump into this encouraging conversation with Mandy Moore. Well, Mandi Moore, welcome back to Basecamp Live.
03:47 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Hi, Davies. It’s great to be here with you.
03:49 – Davies Owens (Host)
It’s so good to have you back on, and if folks didn’t hear your prior episode, we’ll definitely encourage them to do that because you’ve been in this education world your whole life. What I love about this conversation we’re about to have is that you have the experience as a parent and as an educator. You really have a foot firmly planted in both worlds. But for folks who don’t know your story, share a little bit about your family world and your educational journey.
04:10 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Well, my grandparents were educators, my parents were career educators, and so I grew up in classrooms and loved school my whole life, went on to minor in education at Texas Tech University and completed my teaching certification in secondary composite science. But it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I actually discovered Christian classical education and also the collaborative model, and right away I knew that’s exactly what God had called us to do as parents, and that’s what I wanted for my own children, and the nearest school of the kind was two hours away in Austin, so it was either pick up and move to Austin or help start a
school. So we looked at moving to Austin actually because starting a school is difficult and controversial sometimes and in the end we felt called to help get this going in my husband’s hometown, Brownwood, texas, and so we served on the board and I was blessed to experience that from administrator, teacher, and parent role. My family still involved in that school back home and it’s fun to see it flourish. But in 2015, our family relocated here to the Treasure Valley and we started school at the Ambrose School.
At that time and the first year we were here, the headmaster called me into his office and said what do you think about the university model? And I said, well, I love it. That’s what we were doing in Texas. And he said you were. And I said yeah, and he said, well, I just thought everyone in Texas knew about it. And he said I really want to know if that would work here at the Ambrose School. So at that time I got to help get that project going and have been here from the beginning, and so it’s wonderful seven years later to see the Bridge kids.
05:53 – Davies Owens (Host)
It is amazing to see. Yeah, in fact, my youngest son was in the Bridge, I think, the first year that we were getting started at the high school there. So it’s and for folks who don’t, it’s just like circle back on a couple of things here. So university model is really collaborative that’s another kind of name for that and it’s fascinating to me and encouraging. Looking nationally, even internationally, you know the the growth in classical first education. There’s certainly all sectors are growing.
But this idea of kind of combining forces with the home and some days of the week are at school and some days are at home, I think it’s a beautiful model. We’re going to jump into this idea of working collaboratively. You can’t get around it in a collaborative school, but in a five-day school there’s just as much collaboration needs to happen. We’re going to get into that in just a minute. But make sure I want to make sure folks understand a little bit of your own, I mean with your parenting hat on. So talk about your kids for a second, because this is not all theory and your kids are in kindergarten Like you’ve. You’ve lived this.
06:48 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Yes, so my daughter is a freshman in college and she’s running for Utah State University a cross country in track, and she completed her education at Ambrose. So pre-K through 12th grade, she was classically educated. And then my son, Kevick, is here on our campus and he’s a freshman in high school.
07:07 – Davies Owens (Host)
So what we’re going to again? We’re going to get into this and I don’t want anybody thinking well, mandy’s just one of those like over, you know, overzealous administrators who has no idea how hard it is in our homes Like, no, you’ve lived the home side of this too.
07:18 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Yes, every day, you still live the home side of it, and so most of what you hear today is from my failures, right.
07:23 – Davies Owens (Host)
07:24 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
In the parenting role, or what I’ve seen, or what, what I wish I could do different, or what. What that vision is that we know we’re never going to reach it, but we need that target to shoot for it, because it actually keeps us on the right path. So it’s. It’s not a perfect world, it’s very difficult, but there’s a lot of hope in what I see, the level of commitment that I see now from families.
07:46 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, and I think it’s just really a word of encouragement from the beginning, because it’s easy to listen to something like this and go okay, well, I’m not doing that and I’m not doing that and I’m a loser parent. Like, well, hold on a minute, I’m not doing that grace, never too late to jump in Right and but you’re living, you’re, we’re again. We’re talking not theory. We’re talking about like real practice of cause. You’ve experienced collaborators. You’re running here, but you’ve also been in a five-day as a mom.
So you’ve seen all of that. And then on the just again, to reiterate, on the on the educator side of this, I mean your own journey starting a school, the realities of a classical Christian school, the DNA I mean. I don’t know if there’s a DNA gene for classical education, but you’ve kind of grown up in it so you know what that side of it deeply is in administration. All right, well, let’s jump in, because there are a lot of indicators of what success looks like. And I think it’s always hard when you’re a family, you live on that side of the proverbial fence I mean right and ministry or in the other side, and it’s so hard to have that collaboration. And this is something that is a 13 year journey. We’re raising up the next generation. So let’s jump right in when you think about what success indicators look like, with that partnership between home and school. Walk us through some of those top ideas.
08:50 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Well, there are 10 that I’ve listed, and I know there are many more, but I feel like I could really distill it down to if families can commit to these 10 things, they can ensure that they’re getting the most value they can from their Christian classical school. And I would divide those into three primary categories. And the first is that parents have to be primary. They have to be the first and most influential teachers in their kids’ lives. The second thing is parents are the protectors. The school can’t be the one. The parents actually have to be that frontline of defense to keep their kids from being malformed by the culture around them. And then the last thing is parents are most powerful when they’re in community, and so I would. I would pull it down into those three things.
09:37 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, and we’re gonna unpack all this through. So let’s start with this first idea of parents are primary. What do you mean by that? Cause I could again something that’s like, well, sure, if you’re in a collaborative school, but no, this is for everybody. So what does that mean? Parents are primary.
09:49 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Well, our scripture of our campus is Deuteronomy 6, 4 through 9. Here, oh Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. And I wanna pause there and just point out that the first thing that parents have to do is love the Lord, and that and he has to come first in their home, in their habits, in their daily catechism of their children.
The theology that they’re teaching in their home, and just their worship, both at home and in the church, is crucial. And then, if you continue, right after that, which is what Jesus had quoted as the greatest commandment, he said in these words that I command to you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. And here we see that it is the job of the parent to impress the hearts of the children. So there’s two key words there we see command, which is basically indicating he’s your Lord, and so you’re following his orders. And the second word that stands out is heart, and that is the training of affections or loves, and so what I know to be true about education is that children are gonna love what their parents love, and it’s almost unavoidable.
11:09 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, and that’s the thing that’s again we live in and I talk about all the time the outsource culture. We drop our dry cleaning off to be cleaned and our car to get the oil changed. We drop our kids off the carpool line to get an education and to love Jesus and we’ll pick them up after our busy day, and that is not the way our schools work, our parents. But again, we wanna unpack this a little bit because there is a sense in which we’re definitely looking to the school to carry a certain portion of that weight. But you’re saying that too often. Maybe parents step back further than they should.
11:37 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
I would say it’s the mindset of they need to have extreme ownership over that education.
And I think I would want all of my parents on our campus to be thinking it is my job to educate these children and so I need to be doing everything I can. And if you look at that verse, I mean it’s when you rise and when you go to sleep and it’s when you go and when you stay at home, and so I don’t know when there is other time with your kids, and so it basically just means that all times parents should be on the alert and ready to teach. So anything they see that they come up, they should be having those conversations. And I love the saying from axis.org that it’s not a 1,000 minute conversation that you need to have with your kids, it’s a thousand one minute conversations. And it’s just a particular mindset that I’m looking for in our families, that they’re owning the education. But even when they delegate to us, they’re still in touch, they know what’s happening, they’re a part of it and they’re communicating with the school. They’re strengthening the school by their involvement and so there’s nothing that they’re ever hands off with.
12:37 – Davies Owens (Host)
Right, and there’s that phrase or Latin phrase that we often throw around and sounds very sophisticated in loco parentis, really meaning biblically the authority is given to the parent and then we, the school, are only under the authority of the parent. So that is actually the structure that most all of our schools would say, or it’s absolutely critical to being successful. This is not hand off your kid to the government school, we’ll take care of it from here, which is really what we don’t want.
13:01 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Right, and we can’t ignore God’s design. We can only take children as far as the parents want them to go.
13:06 – Davies Owens (Host)
13:07 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Or the parents have prepared them to go.
13:09 – Davies Owens (Host)
So that you absolutely agree with that. So continue with that idea. So parents is primary. What else would that look like?
13:16 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
So the next thing I have is they need to join the great conversation themselves.
So most of us who have been in the Christian classical world understand that we’re reading about truth, goodness and beauty because we’re wanting it to shape our souls, to shape our affection.
And there’s a disconnect when parents say, hey, I didn’t have this, but I want better for you, so go and do this great thing.
Kids don’t really respond as well to that and they don’t care that we didn’t have that when we grew up, but they want us to do it with them, and so what I would want every parent in our school to do is to look at the reading list when it comes out in May, about what their kids are going to be reading next year, and they would get on audible as fast as they can and start listening to all of these works so that they’re ahead of their children, so that they’ve heard the story, they’re familiar with the themes, and so when their child comes to them, I’m like my son did the other night at 11 o’clock. I just woke up and someone’s standing by my bed and I said what’s going on? And my son said I can’t sleep. Frankenstein is so disturbing, and so you know it’s hard for parents, but unfortunately teenagers like to have late night conversations and if you haven’t read the book, you’re in a bind at that point.
There’s nothing to offer them but when you have, it’s so amazing to get to have that conversation and to relate that to what they’re living in right now and how we can see God’s truth in that and how we can find hope in the midst of that uneasiness and the fact that sometimes it’s good when we feel uneasy.
14:44 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, I think you’re hitting on something again. All of these, I feel like, are worthy of an entire podcast, but we’ve got a lot of. We got to get through all 10 of these. But I do think. Just to make a point there, mandy, it’s really important. I mean most you know I’m often in speaking with groups of parents around the country and I’ll often ask how many of you as my first questions grew up classically Christian educated and maybe one hand will come up. So almost all of us listening have had that intimidation moment where we’re like, oh my gosh, my fifth grader is now ahead of me when I graduate high school in literature, and so it’s a sense of insecurity. I think that sometimes we’re almost like I don’t know that I wanna be in a great conversation because I think I’m gonna be made to feel inadequate as a parent. So I just I know you wanna how do you balance that I?
15:28 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
feel that way I’m trying to lead this school and. I didn’t have that background and so I always feel like I’m playing catch up and I think the way that I would encourage parents is it’s your commitment to try. You’re not trying to learn every single detail of that book, you’re just trying to read it and let it shape you and be able to have a conversation, and so you shouldn’t make it harder than it is.
And I’m a very busy parent, and so I know that Audible has saved my life. I know if you just handed me this stack of books it wouldn’t actually be possible. I would get interrupted too much. But I can listen when I’m getting ready in the morning, I can listen on my camping trips a lot in the summer in the creek when I’m trying to cool off, and I can listen at night when I’m going to bed. And I will say that it got harder and harder. I did this with my daughter, so I can truly say I now have a classical education because I graduated with her and I read her reading list. But when I got to Brothers K, I just said if it kills me, I will get through this book.
If I sleep through half of it I will get through the book. And so I did, and I love it. It’s now one of my favorite works.
16:28 – Davies Owens (Host)
Maybe we should market this. You can get a two-for-one education, because you too can go through this.
16:32 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
16:32 – Davies Owens (Host)
All right, keep rolling. What’s the next one?
16:35 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
So the last thing I had under formation is habits, and this is really important for parents, because we don’t live in communities anymore with multi-generational families, and so we don’t really have a situation where parents can look to the generations before to say how can I be a good mom or how can I be a good dad, and with the mobility in our environment, it’s very hard to learn how to be a good parent sometimes, and so we do need to educate ourselves and we do need to seek out help, and so a Christian classical school is a great resource, and we’ve learned a lot from Charlotte Mason and we’ve read a lot.
She’s a British educator who just researched so much about education and did so many things beautifully with children, and so one of the things she says is that, left to their own, children will develop bad habits that will actually malform their souls, and so it’s the job of the parent to come in and to train them in habits, and just one example of that is the habit of attention, and that is a much, much-needed habit, and I will just say that if parents don’t have this on their radar, if they’re not working on this at home, then when the child comes to school. They are gonna struggle because it is very hard to read the works that we read with a very narrowing attention span.
17:49 – Davies Owens (Host)
Which again a whole nother podcast is. Obviously you can. I mean there’s clearly a huge problem if home life consists a lot of screen time and just, I mean, we talk, I talk to educators all the time. You see it where, just even in the last few years, the attention span seems to be diminishing pretty quickly because and sometimes I think moms and dads think, well, they’ve had a really hard day, they’ve read all these great books, let’s let them have a little screen time and fun. And that can be a very slippery slope because you’re working against all those habits.
18:16 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Yes, that’s true, and that leads perfectly into our next category, which is how parents can actually protect their children from being malformed and formed in the shaped in the wrong way.
20:02 Davies (Host)
So many of you think about parents as protectors. Probably most parents are like yes, I completely agree, let’s bubble wrap them up. We don’t want them to get tainted by the world out there. But at some point OP has to leave Mayberry and go to the big city, and so that sort of tension between protecting and preparing walk us through that, because, I mean, obviously there’s a huge protector role here, but we have to let them go at some point.
20:22 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Yes, and one of our Bible teachers shares this with our students. He said fences do hold some things out, but they don’t hold everything out. And so there’s this idea of there is a safe place for them to grow and be nurtured without being inappropriately exposed to harmful content. And we do need to hold that out because we need to give them the taste for the true, the good and the beautiful, and they can’t do that if they’re barrage constantly with those opposing things, and so we do want to give them that place to flourish. At the same time, we’re getting them, we’re putting them to work within those fences as well, but those fences keep kids in, and so that’s the main thing that I’m getting at is the fences show kids God’s law and natural consequences, and they show them that when you go outside the fence it will be a curse. And so God has given you these parameters to live within, and it’s just so dangerous in this day and age where society is telling kids you just have to create your own boundaries and your own identity, and that’s why I think that mental health is plummeting in our nation and around the world, because that’s not the way God designed human beings. He designed them with very clear instructions of how to flourish and how not to flourish, and that he does give us that choice. And so classical schools are trying to allow an opportunity for kids to learn that. But until they’re formed, until they’re capable of that decision-making ability, they should be protected. So there are three main things that I want all of our parents to do in this area, and the first is to limit screens. This is the number one threat, in my opinion, to the CC movement and to schools fulfilling their mission, and because screens really undermine everything we’re trying to do. Like you mentioned earlier, it plummets attention and it just without attention, learning can’t even occur, memory can occur, relationships can occur, and so we do, as parents, have to protect that, as our children’s brains are forming, and unsupervised internet goes with that, with that screen time of it’s fine for us to sit down as a family and watch a show together, but every time I do, there’s a conversation afterwards that I’m having with my son Did you notice what choice that character made? What do you think about that? What do you think he should have done instead? What consequences did you see? That came, and my kids kind of laugh because they know that’s coming. They know if we’re going to have family moving out, we’re going to have to debrief afterwards, and so they’re kind of tired of me saying Disney World View again, here we go. So but at the same time I know that if I didn’t speak into that space then all of that content would have just had an impact on their soul with no protection whatsoever. So it’s giving them that layer of protection, helping them think through those things.
Social media and smartphones I mean the studies coming out. No parent can deny this is the number one harm to our children in America right now. And so our school signed what we call a Postman’s Pledge, which was started by a group of parents in Maryland, and basically they just identified smartphones and social media as the two most harmful aspects of technology in relationship to kids. And so this group of parents came together and said, as a community, together, we’re not going to give these things to our children until they’re 18, until their brains are properly formed.
So I do hear the argument a lot. Well then, how can a kid ever learn how to responsibly use it? That would be like saying I’m going to give marijuana to my 14 year old because I want him to responsibly use it when he’s 18. And so that argument just doesn’t make sense to me. I have a background in physical therapy, I’ve worked with traumatic brain injury, and I just know that the state of the brain matters for all of life. Your body is an integrated thing, and so any injury to your body is actually going to harm your life, and so at all costs we need to protect our students’ minds until they are formed until they’re an adult age to where they can start making those decisions for themselves and use it responsibly, because at those ages it’s not as addictive.
24:22 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, and that’s definitely I mean. Again, I feel like every one of these I’d love to launch and do a whole another discussion, which maybe we’ll do at some point. But that is the beauty of our schools, as we are engaged communities and I think to see the school as an active, collaborative community, so we’re making these decisions together because you never want to be that one or two, you know, the weird holdout parent who won’t give the kid the smartphone and all the other parents have given, in so way easier to have sort of a love, the postman pleasure, and there are a lot more we can talk about that, but that’s an absolutely excellent point. What else is under this? Parents protectors, yeah.
24:54 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
The next thing is pop culture.
I think that parents don’t realize the harm that it does to allow those types of things into your home and to allow it usually comes in through media kind of piggybacks on number one that it starts to tell children who they are when they hear those messages from the world over and over and over, and it starts to shape them and they start to say those types of things Well, if I don’t have a phone I’m weird, right, if I don’t text all the time I’m weird.
And so it is an actual battle for their souls, because the kingdom of God isn’t popular. And so parents really do have to decide do I want my child to love God or do I want them to be popular? Do I want them to kind of fit into what the world thinks they should be? And you can see it all the time. I can usually tell when any of my students get a phone, because I will notice subtle changes in their personality or how engaged they are. And I think that when they’re exposed to that a lot they don’t recognize the beauty of what we’re doing here at school as much, because they start to view it as well. That’s not what the world is telling me I should look like.
26:05 – Davies Owens (Host)
And so to that again, everything has got so many elements that we could go into on this. But I mean just to reiterate, because I think people listening are saying well, we completely agree for our grammar school, but you know that high schooler, you know our high school daughter. We don’t want her to show up at college and never have heard of Taylor Swift and be embarrassed because she has no idea. I mean so at some point. And again, that’s a lot like how do you begin to give appropriate cultural awareness so you’re able to sort of what does that look like?
26:30 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
I would just say how could you possibly not hear about?
26:32 – Davies Owens (Host)
it. Well, I mean here yeah, so you’re gonna hear about it.
26:35 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
They’re gonna hear about it. They’re gonna catch on. I think the most encouraging thing to me right now is to hear from my daughter and hear conversations she’s having with her roommates and her dorm and her friends on her team, and she’s explaining to them. This is why I approach dating in this way, like I’m not gonna date someone unless I’m wanting to marry them.
And they don’t really understand that that’s counterculture and they’re like why? And so she’ll start to explain well, this is the kind of home that I want. So I don’t view this as a recreational activity. I have plenty of friends for that but to me that’s gonna build my home. I want a home that’s in the word of God. We go to church together, and so unless someone matches up with me on those types of things, then I really don’t see it moving forward. And they’re listening with interest and they’ll they say I respect you for that. They don’t understand it.
It seems completely foreign to them but they can respect it. That’s what I wanna see of our students. I know that they’re gonna go out, they’re gonna go into that world soon enough and that is gonna be around them, but I think that they’re gonna be viewed as rare exceptions. They’re gonna be viewed as, hopefully, people very comfortable. They know what they believe, they know why, they know what’s important to them and they’re confident enough to live according to those convictions and they can kind of let pop culture land where it is.
27:52 – Davies Owens (Host)
What I think and we talked about earlier, there’s a myth or fallacy that we would need them to kind of try it out under our roof and make some mistakes Cause like we all did, and we just need to kind of give a little bit of freedom for them to fail. But I think that is a very dangerous. Again, there’s a fine line between that and creating the Amish kid who’d never seen a car before. I mean that kind of a balancing act.
28:15 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
You have to count the costs, because parents need to realize every tool that they allow their child to hand up, it changes them fundamentally, like it’s not just the child using the tool, it’s the tool shaping the child at the same time. And so parents need to read everything that Neil Postman wrote, because he was way ahead of his time in warning parents. Hey, we need to stop back and consider yes, technology is great in many ways, but it comes at a cost and it will shape you, whether you think it will or not. It will shape your thinking, it will shape the way that you live.
One resource that I do want us to put in the notes for the podcast is access.org, which gives me an email every Friday and it lets me know what’s happening in pop culture, so to speak, to your concern. It’s great because every Friday I talk to my son and I say, hey, here’s one of the most popular songs. Here are the lyrics, let’s talk about this. He already knows what that song is.
I don’t know how, because he’s on screens very little, but he has friends and he’s out in the world, and so that’s what I say, like to me, I don’t see how any child is gonna show up on a college campus and not know about those things. But what’s more important is, do they love those things or not? And so, and how much of that is it a part of their life?
29:30 – Davies Owens (Host)
It is a battle of the loves. And, just to reiterate, because we get through this, you’ve compiled a number of fantastic resources that are in the show notes, that are on basecamplife.com, so people can go there and download links and connections to resources that you’re mentioning here. So, okay, what else is it?
29:47 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
The very last thing is addictions, and so, of course, all of these things are interconnected. When kids have screen time or they have unsupervised internet access, they are going to become addicted to porn, they’re gonna become addicted to social media, they’re gonna become addicted to screen time in general, binge watching, that sort of thing. It’s just, it’s a neurological fact, and so that is something that the Ambrose School talks to parents about in every parent interview is a lot of parents will say, well, what’s the right age to give your child a phone? And we say, well, as soon as you want them addicted to porn, that’s when, for boys, that’s when you give them a phone.
And I think it is time for parents to wake up, because this is predatory. This is selfish people looking to gain from our children, and parents do need to wake up. None of the Mac executives give their kids any type of devices at all. They pay huge amounts of money to send their kids to school with no technology, and that’s because they know. They know that they stand to gain a lot. And so parents really do have to be willing to be different and be willing to take that stand for the sake of their child, because it is going to shape them.
30:54 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, and the beautiful thing we often say in classical Christian education is that you know. A lot of times they will say you know, it was picking out of school for my child and I found a community for my family and I think again, we’re meant to live in community and so these norms become norms of the whole community we have. We can live the good life because we’re not stuck on a phone the whole time. And there are. You know we talk a lot on the podcast about it’s, not just say no, there are. It’s positive in terms of we’re aiming towards this good life. There’s also positive answers to well, but how am I going to communicate with them in eighth grade after their soccer game? Like well, there’s things like the light phone that I promote. There’s things that are definitely answers to those practical problems that are not just go give in and do it or else it’s doing so.
31:34 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
But you’re exactly right, davies. I hear you know, when the students are grammar age, parents are 100% on board and I’m completely on board. And around junior high, that’s when the pressure starts to come.
31:44 – Davies Owens (Host)
31:45 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
And I will just say I waited until I thought it was the last possible moment to give my daughter a phone or a smartphone or access to be recruited to social media, and I, looking back now, I could have pushed back.
31:57 – Davies Owens (Host)
There were other ways to do things and so I learned the first go around, and I do think parents need to push back, because once you let it out, then it really does feel impossible to roll it back and again the, I think, the story, but the reality behind it, though, is that majority of families, parents, us adults, are just as consumed in all of this, so it’s very difficult to be on our high horse about how bad it is. And then not only do they just see us on it, which is a little bit hypocritical, but I don’t know that we want to give it up, and I’m saying that we generally is just parents. In America today, even Christian parents that are, you know, especially well, I think, all millennial Gen Z. I saw a stat recently there’s only 7% variance in screen use between Gen X, which who? I am basically in Gen Z, so it’s easy to kind of act like it’s just the younger people, but we’re just as strung out on as anybody.
32:48 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
It’s true, there’s no escaping it. A lot of the resources I’m gonna share with parents are through an app on my phone. I think it comes down to intention and limits, like it’s just something you have to think about and make a decision before how am I gonna use it and how is it gonna shape me? And if the benefit is not tremendously outweighing the harms, then that’s when we need to say no, yeah, that’s good.
33:11 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, we want touch on one more before we get a break.
33:14 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
And we’re ready for the next category.
33:16 – Davies Owens (Host)
Hey, the next category is gonna be parents are powerful. That sounds really so. We’re superheroes, is that right? That’s true.
Why don’t we take a break, cause we’re gonna come by. I wanna jump into that. That’ll be a fun topic to end on. Be right back after the break.
35:10 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Yeah. So for the formation, there were four things. We talked about them loving God in their home and making him Lord. Number two impressing his commandments on their kids, and that was just in the daily worship, daily reading that they’re doing at home and the teaching they’re giving theologically to their children. Biblical literacy falls under that. And then third was joining the great conversation, reading the great books, having those discussions with their children of what they’re reading in school. And fourth was habit formation. Then we moved on to protecting them from malformation, and there were three items there, which was limiting screen time and unsupervised internet access. Number two was resisting the pop culture messages. And number three was preventing addictions.
36:00 – Davies Owens (Host)
Wow, again amazing. The third big category is parents are powerful, so that sounds great. What does that mean?
36:09 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Well, first of all, just remember you are primary. God said you teach your children, and he told parents to do that because he equipped us to just operate that way and to flourish that way. And so, really, your voice is loudest. And so I’ve heard, at meetings before national conferences, educators and administrators say what do we do when the parents don’t align with us? And then, you know, we get this child who’s scoffing at what we’re doing in the classroom, and my argument would be we can’t do anything about it because God gave that child to that parent. And so we as parents have to be very careful. We can’t say one thing and then ask our kids to do another just because they’ve gone to a Christian classical school. So we really have to take ownership. Our voice is loud, but our voice is even multiplied when we’re living in unity with other believers when we put deep roots into a community and we say I belong to this place and they belong to me. So it’s a deep forging of relationships.
So there are several ways families need to really look at this. Their family if they come from a Christian home, even if they live far away. It’s important that kids are connected to their heritage, especially if they have a Christian heritage. Talk all the time about my grandparents to my children because they didn’t get to know them well, but their stories of faith inform my kids of who they are. It gives them deeper roots. They talk to their grandparents all the time, even though they’re in Texas. When big things happen in their lives, that’s who they wanna call and share it with, and of course, we go back to visit regularly. So that’s important.
But a lot of us don’t live close to family, and so then church becomes even more crucial, if that’s even possible. God commanded us to be a part of the body of Christ, and that doesn’t just mean watching an internet service from your sofa. It means going and physically being with other believers, even ones you don’t understand or don’t agree with. It means just submitting to that authority of the church and living as examples. So Josh Gibbs on his website. He mentions every week Christians versus Christians who just go when it’s convenient. And most of our families are members of a church, but I want them there every week, unless someone is very ill. I want them there every single week because it tells our students who they are in Christ.
And then the last thing is putting deep roots in your school, where you are. So it’s important to me that in our classes, not only do the students act as a unified class, but those parents act as a unified class and they know deeply about each other. They know when someone’s going through something, they come alongside them. They regularly get together just to have fun, just to know each other, because it’s very inspiring to be around people who have the same goals and same vision as you, and so when you’re having a hard time, they’re there to lift you up and get you back on track.
And then the local place, the place that you live. Wendell Berry talks a lot about why belonging is so important to identity and why our nation is fractured because we’re separated from our local communities. We’re kind of just thinking of ourselves as a big city or a big nation rather than actual people, and that usually it’s hard to get mad at someone you know well. And so on Fridays our grammar school does the essentials. They have Monday through Thursday so that Friday they can go out in the community, they can go on field trips, they can go learn about the world where they live, so that they’re more in touch and their identity is being forged in those ways.
39:41 – Davies Owens (Host)
So when you think about belonging again, there are a lot of folks listening in very different circumstances. You have some, perhaps, some are homeschooling, some are in hybrid collaborative and they’ve already carved out a portion of their schedule and their life to kind of work in that community. And then you’ve got families that are very busy, dual income, just afforded tuition. They’re in the five day. They’re probably the hardest ones to figure out. How do you really lean into that community? And I know just for my years as an administrator, there’s even some tension between parents. Like, well, you’re the stay at home mom and I have to go work, and like I, just what advice do you have? Cause everybody’s gonna have different capacities, I guess, in different seasons.
40:16 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
I think it comes down to mindset. Like we were talking about earlier. There are varying amounts of time. Most of the parents in my campus are busy as well and I think it comes down to the mindset of we decide that we are gonna be bigger, part of something bigger than ourselves, that we aren’t just gonna be this island making our own decisions, but we’re actually going to consider the community in what we do. And so it is difficult. There isn’t a lot of time. Every Friday night I’m tired, but I’ve told my son, when the weather’s great, you can always have your class over Fridays to do a devotional and social time. By the time I get to Friday I’m like why did I say that? I’m exhausted. But when they actually come, it’s wonderful. So I do think even busy families can carve out time, and I guess my argument would be if you’re too busy to be deeply rooted somewhere, then you’re too busy, and so things need to start coming off the plate.
41:10 – Davies Owens (Host)
Which is a whole another conversation of just our fear of the FOMO, fear that somebody parents have that my child isn’t. They’re going to miss out and not get the scholarship if they don’t get on the soccer team at age one. How is it? And now we’re doing three travel teams and so sort of all of that sort of modern angst that parents feel I think it’s a good point, Like maybe we should reevaluate some of that. All right, well, number 10, I feel like we should have a drum roll. So parents are powerful. What’s the number 10 idea here?
41:36 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Unity would be that I would want our parents to have the mindset that we are truly partners with them. We have their best interests at heart. We’re here to serve them and encourage them, equip them and apart from them, like none of us would be here. It’s that. That’s why we’re here. We have a heart for families. We want to see families honor God in their homes, and we want to share truth, goodness and beauty with both parents and children. That’s our whole mission, and so we need to realize we all are following the Lord, and so, even though we may disagree on minor points, I think it’s really important at the Ambrose Bridge Campus that we focus on what we do.
I’ll agree on that. And so we have those core tenants. We all are seeking to have our identity in him. Abide in Christ. And so it makes the hard conversations easier, because when you go in with that mindset, you’re able to say the hard things that need to be said in love and you’re able to actually make progress and solve problems rather than just being offended, and so that’s what’s so beautiful.
I see many people when they move into the Bridge campus, they’re reluctant to say anything when something negative happens, and I’m like why didn’t you let me know that I’m happy to fix that? And they’re like well, I thought that was too small to come to you. I was like, well, it wasn’t getting fixed right. So it’s not too small, right? So just having this growth mindset of and this humility of, we none of us have arrived. All of us are failures as parents in many ways, but without redemption, that’s a bleak place to be. But because Christ can redeem all things, he can even redeem my mistakes to help another mom, in other words. So he uses everything, and so that’s why we need community. We can’t do this by ourselves, and if we want to really have the most powerful voice in the lives of our children, we need to stop trying to do it alone.
43:27 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, I think and that’s a great word to end on, just both encouragement that for those listening thinking, oh, I’ve so dropped the ball on this and my child’s in high school, what am I to do? Or this is all new, I didn’t. Most families to your point earlier don’t live near their extended family. I know so many families today say they’re just sort of trying to figure out how to parent by whatever the trending voices are on YouTube or whatever the group think is. So we need each other in this community and so many thanks for the guidance, encouragement and again, it’s encouraging to know that you’ve gone the distance with your own children, you’re a mom, and you’re also an administrator and this is probably without a shadow of a doubt. I think that I often say it’s the last best hope we have for changing a culture. Today is what happens when homes and schools and churches work together. So thank you so much.
44:16 – Mandi Moore (Guest)
Thank you, Davies.
44:18 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, you’ve done it. You’ve made it through another episode of Basecamp Live and I sincerely hope that you’ve been encouraged along the way. Thank you for being such a faithful listener, and thanks again to America’s Christian Credit Union, Classic Learning Test, Gutenberg College and Wilson Hill Academy for sponsoring this episode of Basecamp Live. Be sure to give us a five star rating on Spotify, apple Podcast or wherever you’re listening from. We would love to hear from you and let us know what’s in your mind, what questions you have. Email us at info at basecamplivecom. We really do appreciate you as a faithful listener. Take a moment and invite other parents and school leaders anyone involved in raising the next generation to listen to the podcast, and we will see you back here next week with another episode that you will not want to miss. Thanks again for listening. I will see you guys next.