He’s the beloved voice of Larry the Cucumber of Veggie Tales fame and she’s author of over 60 books for kids and kids at heart! Mike Nawrocki and Amy Parker join Julie Lyles Carr on the AllMomDoes podcast for a powerful conversation about helping our kids develop their own spiritual lives, how we can guide that, and when we need to back off and let God lead the way.
Julie Lyles Carr: Today on the AllMomDoes podcast, I have two guests I’m so excited about as we are in our series on spiritual growth. And today we’re gonna take a little bit of a turn and focus on spiritual growth in a way that maybe you haven’t thought about before. But before we get to that, I want you to meet my guests. I have Mike Nawrocki and Amy Parker. Hey, thanks so much for being on the podcast today.
Amy Parker: Thanks for having us.
Mike Nawrocki: Hey, Julie. Yeah, Great to be back.
Julie Lyles Carr: Great to see y’all. Mike Nawrocki, we had you on many, many episodes ago. It’s episode 169. We’ll have Rebecca tag that in the show note so people can go back and listen. Mike and I bonded because as it turns out, we are both kids of rocket scientists and I’m here to tell you
Mike Nawrocki: That’s right.
Julie Lyles Carr: That is a little small demographic, and we are our own unique kind of weird. So Mike and I were like, Oh yeah, you, you, I think I recognize you.
Mike Nawrocki: That’s right. That’s what,
Julie Lyles Carr: Yeah, that’s right. We both have that interesting upbringing. Mike also is well known for being the magnificent voice of someone familiar to us all. Mike let’s just cut right to the chase. Give us a little moment of how listeners might have encountered you before.
Mike Nawrocki: Well, they may have heard me before as Larry the Cucumber, Julie, I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not.
Julie Lyles Carr: See, there it is. That’s the moment right there. I think that perhaps, Mike, your podcast episode is the only one that my children actually went and hunted out for themselves to hear you do.
Mike Nawrocki: Oh, that’s so sweet.
Julie Lyles Carr: Just that to hear my voice. Yeah. To,
Mike Nawrocki: okay. Yeah, and I can give them a shout out again too, so
Julie Lyles Carr: I’m, I’m sure it’s, I’m sure it’s about your content. I’m sure it’s not. Yeah. Anyway, it’s all about us. So Mike, thanks. Because I know that VeggieTales has been such a big part of a lot of our lives and for a whole new generation of kids who are growing up and watching. So, tell us a little bit, Mike, about where you grew up and then Amy, I wanna hear from you. So Mike, you go first, tell the listeners the things, Give us all things, Mike Nawrocki and, you know, 30 seconds less.
Mike Nawrocki: Okay. In 30 seconds. Yeah. Yeah. So while we’ve talked about this before a little bit, just I, I’m an Air Force brat. Grew up all over the country and world, you know, spent, you know, a few years in Japan as well as, as all over the United States. Primarily we were in Denver for, you know, high school, middle school, high school, and then went up to a small denominational college, St. Paul Bible College, which is now Crown College. For my first year and a half of college where I met Phil Vischer. Who had then later become known as Bob the Tomato. Phil and I hit it off, became really good friends. I ended up moving to Chicago to finish out my undergraduate work at the University of Illinois Chicago. Thought I was gonna be a doctor. Did pre-med, you know, biology history. We to pay my way through school. I was working in in video post-production. And that’s when we conceived the idea of Veggie Tales. Launched the show. I hung up the stethoscope and, you know, headed, headed toward a life as a cucumber instead. So spent yeah, good 23 years with Veggie Tales you know, creating episodes and movies and, you know, all things around Veggie Tales. We launched 321 Penguins, and then when I left in 2016, I went back to get my master’s degree in in film Directing and I also wrote a children’s book series, The Dead Sea Squirrels. And so now I am a full-time college professor, a full-time author, and a full-time, full-time animation producer as we’re producing those books into an animated series. So I’ve got, I’ve got a lot of, lot of irons in the fire, but just having a blast and it’s just such a pleasure to be able to, to do what I do.
Julie Lyles Carr: Three time, three full-time jobs. Triple threat and a unique… Exactly. Exactly. And again, listener, go back and listen to episode 169 after Mike and Amy have our conversation today, but you can find out more about Phil’s trajectory and some of the experiences he’s had. Amy, fill me in on you. Where in the world or you and tell listeners what you’re up to.
Amy Parker: Well, in contrast to Mike, I am in Middle Tennessee, and I have been here my whole life. So you can probably pick that up in, in my twang a little bit. But graduated with a degree in English. Started as an editor, fell in love with the whole publishing world and I’ve been writing books for kids for 20 years probably, and then have just recently gone back to law school or gone to law school and am doing that now. So but yeah. Have really enjoyed just pouring into kids and sharing, you know, the Bible and biblical values with the kid, with kids for the past couple of decades, although it does not seem like that long at all.
Julie Lyles Carr: It is wild, isn’t it? How quickly these seasons move and yeah. One thing I’m struck with in hearing both of y’all give your little recent histories, if you will, is we’ve just wrapped up a series on seasons and how seasons change and how we need to be prepared for those seasons. Yeah. And. A lot of times I feel like we think when we’re coming out of one season, then something is really ending. And yes, that’s true, but to hear you both talk about these beginnings that have happened is just such a really cool thing. And so I think that’s gonna bring a lot of, a lot of encouragement to those of us who are transitioning between seasons, whether that’s walking away from a career we’ve had to start staying in with a kid, or we’re launching that last kid and we’re not completely sure what we’re gonna be doing with our lives. It’s just incredible to hear about this chapter that we’re calling next in each of your lives, so thanks for sharing that. Now, I wanted to do a deeper dive because we’re talking about spiritual growth with listeners in this series, and we wanted to help provide tools and ways of thinking about how to go deeper into our spiritual walks. We wanted to address some of the challenges that can pop up and some of the misconceptions sometimes that we have about what spiritual growth is supposed to look like and feel like and all the things. But there is an area that I think you two are uniquely qualified to give us some insight on, and that is about how to inspire, equip, bring tools to helping our kids experience spiritual growth. The two of you have a podcast together in which you talk about the Bible for kids. You have a new book out that is about teaching about the Bible for kids. I wanna back up and say, talk to me about what it means to help our kids in their spiritual journeys. Is it just about making sure they know Bible stories or is there something deeper there that we need to deal with? Mike, I wanna hear you weigh in on this.
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah. You know, in my experience, in my career, it, it has been about storytelling, and I feel like kids… story has such a huge impact on how kids see the world. And you know what, what we’ve tried to do through VeggieTales and what I’ve tried to do through my work is to tell stories that assume that there’s a God who made us, who loves us, who wants a relationship with us. And if that’s the filter by which we are telling our stories, that, that worldview then becomes you know, familiar, it becomes normalized. You know, a child watches this and says, yes, this is, you know, what I’m learning, what I’m, the things that I’m learning at church, the way I’m learning to see the world that is coming through, and the stories that I’m consuming as well. And that becomes, Part of, of, of who I am as, as a person. And so you know, so the, you know, when we, when we, when we tell, you know, tell a veggie tale story about thankfulness or forgiveness, you know, it’s, it’s a simple story. You know, following a character in relation to a theme, you know, through an arc, but you’re investing emotionally in that character. You care about them. You, you care what happens to them and you learn what they learn. And I just think that’s a powerful tool for relating that worldview to kids.
Julie Lyles Carr: Amy, I feel like there are a lot of parents out there who want their kids to have a good Bible basis, that they want them to have that foundation. But it feels like to me that a little bit of our understanding about the Bible, or it sounds like a really weighted term, I’m gonna use it anyway. Our Bible literacy maybe has dropped off some for a generation of parents. I know that in the tradition I was raised in, we could smoke anybody in Bible trivia. I’m just gonna throw it out there. Even, even those Baptist kids we could just take down. I’m telling you. I know. I mean, we knew all the stuff. We knew all the strange little places and we knew the weird numbers of this, that, and the other. And we did Bible bowls and we traveled to quiz each other in the name of Jesus and take each other out of the kneecaps. That’s right. But it feels like that I’m encountering a lot of moms in my world today who feel like they’re unqualified. They don’t know what they feel like they should know, and now they have this responsibility and desire to make sure that their kids have some kind of Bible base. What are you seeing in all of that arena? Do we, do we seem to have an issue with Bible literacy and how do we overcome that and gain the confidence we need to talk to our kids about these incredible stories and examples that can help create guiding light for their lives?
Amy Parker: Yeah, I, and I think I would answer that, yes and no. I’m in law school, so I’m learning. I’m learning to answer. That’s a, it depends. Here we go. , No, but I think, I think Mike would agree with me in that when we write, especially Bible stories for kids, we’re aware that parents are coming from all different backgrounds. Not everybody was raised doing Bible bowls and competing in the name of Jesus, right? But so we know, we, we introduce the material, we don’t make it to too headier, too deeply theological. We, we base it on the Bible, and we feel like when we do, you know, the Bible, the Bible can stand alone. It doesn’t need any of our interpretations or anything there. It’s God’s word and alive and active. And so if you just meet the kids or the parents where they are, God will take care of the rest. I think we put so much weight on ourselves in trying to, you know, we feel all of this responsibility that we have to give our children spiritual awakenings and transformations, but that’s up to God. We, it’s our job as parents to make ourselves have biblical literacy, so just be familiar with the Bible, let our kids see us having our daily Bible time, and then also invite them into that in whatever way works for your family. But I think the biggest thing is if we put, I mean, it is, it is vitally important, I mean, you can’t overstate its importance, but I don’t, I also don’t think God wants us to be stressed about learning his word. I think God offers an invitation, you know, it’s like, come to my birthday party and learn about me. Come sit beside me and eat ice cream and let’s talk about the things that I know and the things that I want for you, and the best way to live the, the healthiest way to live your instruction booklet for from your creator, for how I created you. And I think if we, just meet them where they are, parents and kids alike, we’ll learn that God is standing there with open arms, ready to answer our questions, ready to answer any of our doubts. He can take the hard questions and, and I think just when we, when we seek him, he will, he will reach out to us and meet us where we are and just give us more spiritual transformation than anything any bible curriculum could do.
Mike Nawrocki: Well, and I like to say too, there’s not gonna be a test. Right, right. You know, just this idea that, okay, we’re gotta read, we gotta, you know, ingest this because there’s gonna be some sort of standardized test that we need to take to recall all this information. Like, we’re learning about learning, you know, think about learning, you know, you know, science or, or math or something. You know, if we, if we think about the Bible as, as God’s story, Our story with God, God’s, God’s story in creation. It’s interesting. You, you wanna, you wanna see, wow, this is, this is, you know, God created the world and, and, and there was sin and there was, there was a fall. And God created a way and a redemption for that and there’s gonna be a restoration. And so it’s just this really, you know, from a child’s perspective, it’s a really interesting narrative. It’s a story that, you know, I can look at and say, oh, this is great. I can find my place in it. And this, this character’s, you know, you know, this is Joseph’s story, this is Ruth’s story, this is Esther’s story. And then over time, those, those stories then link in a child’s mind as they get older and, you know, they go deeper into the word and they find more and more, I mean, it’s, the God’s word is so rich. You we’re never gonna, we’re never gonna, you know, find plum to the depths of it, you know, And so, so just making it simple and, and understandable and interesting and relational to kids, I think early on you know, kind of just helps them through their life, stay interested and, and when they do go into it later, they’re gonna find more depth there and they’re gonna want more. So, yeah. Yeah. So it’s not, it’s not about cramming, It’s not about cramming for a test that they’re, that they’re gonna get in when they graduate high school.
Julie Lyles Carr: You know, to ya’lls point, I remember when we moved from one church in a city where we were living, and we moved for my husband’s job and went into a new city and started looking for a new church. And the church we had previously been at had what I thought was, you know, top shelf children’s ministry because there were bubble machines and lasers and all kinds of Things and some really talented people who were helping guide our kids and all of that. And when we got to this new city, it was a much smaller city, and the church selection was a little more thin. And as we began to become engaged with this particular faith community, we really love the people. But the children’s church situation, it was very interesting because they taught strictly from scripture whatever was happening in the pulpit, and they were teaching in this very, very straight from the Bible kind of way, verse by verse. And I thought, well, this is never gonna work for kids. This is never. In retrospect, Mike and Amy, it is so interesting. My older kids who were engaged in that, still remember very clearly walking through certain books of the Bible, I’m talking verse by verse. There was no, no magic, no bubble machines, no any of that. And it taught me a really important lesson that it’s really the story and God is the best storyteller. Yeah, absolutely. And the story is what really captured them. All the other stuff is fun, not saying there’s anything wrong with it or whatever. Yeah. But sometimes as parents, I think we shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit because maybe we are engaged with a faith community that has a really, what we think is a very robust children’s ministry with all the trappings and I think it can lead to this sense, well then who are we to try to, to do this thing cuz we don’t have all this stuff. And yet to know that those stories can really tell it. Talk to me about how we should handle the stories and the word that are very complicated, if you catch my drift. Because one of the things that Mike, you and I talked about on a previous episode, this is part of how you had to tackle things with veggie tales, was coming up to stories that just don’t say, they don’t land like Max and Ruby. Okay. It’s not by which, by the way, where are Max and Ruby’s parents? We all need to know that. That’s another children series, not a Bible series. Yeah. But I do think that at times when we get into some of these stories that are a little more complex, it’s part of the beauty, I think, in God’s word, because it’s such a truth-telling about how complicated humans can make their lives at times.
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah, yeah. Right, right.
Julie Lyles Carr: Also hard to tackle when it comes to kids. So how do you advise mom and dads when we come to something that’s tough, whether it’s graphic in nature, violent in nature, sexual in nature, whatever the thing is. Mike, how do we bridge that as parents? How do we read how far to go? I don’t want, at the same time, to sanitize it so much that when my kid hears the real story or I get off on a story, that’s really not the story. An example would be the story of Esther. I mean, technically she was part of a harem, and we try to turn it into this great Hallmark movie love story, which is not really what happened? And so then you’re having to unwind for your, So all that said, how do we present these stories with great veracity while at the same time not overwhelming our kids with, you know, lots of knives and blood and guts and stuff.
Mike Nawrocki: Oh right, Yeah, yeah. No. So, so much of that I think just comes down to age appropriateness. You know, you don’t wanna. You know, the watching the passion of the Christ is a wonderful thing to do as an adult. But, you know, but you, you don’t wanna subject your kids to that. You know, there’s, there’s other ways to tell that story. So, so there, you know, through, through appropriate, you know, children’s bibles you know, we try to do that with Veggie Tales. We try to tackle things. That were, you know, King George and the ducky, you know, was David and Bathsheba. You know, it’s like, just that, that kind of, that clever nod that, Okay, parents get what’s going on here and, and a light bulb will go on in a kid’s head, you know, when they’re in their twenties, like, wait a minute, I remember that. Yeah, exactly.
Julie Lyles Carr: There was never a ducky.
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah. Yeah. And the, and when we did Esther it was that we, we kind of did it as a, as a mafia kind of Godfather movie, you know, and you know, the island of perpetual tickling as a representative of death, you know, so, so just having those themes that are still present in the story that, that they still are integral to the story, but in a way that is not frightening or, you know, over sexualized or, or anything like that. Because the, you know, many parts of the Bible are rated R, and so you want to just, you know, a lot of times you don’t wanna subject your kids to that. So but yeah, so I say age appropriate material is great. But yeah, you and, and typically, you know, when Amy and I did our, our children’s bible, you know, we chose 50, 50 stories you know, from, from, you know, 25 Old Testament, 25 New Testament. And some of them get complicated, but you know, I think it’s, when you’re writing a children’s Bible, you’re really looking to kind of distill down what is the major themes in this? What, what are the, what’s that throughline, what is a child gonna take away from this? That’s, that’s really important. And so, yeah, I think just age-appropriate materials is a, is a good way to go. Right. And Amy, I don’t know if on that, yeah. Amy is, would you, would you concur?
Amy Parker: I would concur. Yes, I think too like King George and the Ducky, when you strip away all of the, you know, the what actually happened. You get to the theme, I think sometimes especially with, you know, King George and the Ducky is a great example because it’s about being super selfish. It’s not necessarily about him having an affair. It’s about his selfishness, what he was willing to do to other people to get what he wanted. And by making it age appropriate, VeggieTales, you know, brilliantly really unravel or, or, or unveiled the theme of that story and got really to the heart of that story. So I think you know, present the stories that, you know, which ones are age appropriate, just like you don’t turn on the TV and let your kids watch everything that’s on tv. And in the same way, you know, for the Bible, it’s a lifelong study. So present the things now that are appropriate and then they’ll have their whole lifetime to read about Jael, and, you know, the other people who,
Julie Lyles Carr: she’s my hero,
Amy Parker: but I do love her. I do. Yes, I do. And so there’s plenty of time to learn about all of those too.
Mike Nawrocki: Right. Well, and there’s some things that are just, you know, complicated cuz I remember doing the, the Boaz and Ruth story and the whole, it’s just, there’s a lot of math in that story just in terms of the Jubilee and, you know, all of that and, and, and, you know, taking care of, you know, the kinsman redeemer and all of that. So,
Amy Parker: Right. Why is she laying on his feet? Like, what’s going on here? Right. You know, .
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So there’s so many cultural things in there to kind of unravel too. And so, Yeah, so it’s not, not just necessarily sex or violence, you know, it could just be like, wow, this is, you know, a very intricately, you know, complicated cultural story.
Julie Lyles Carr: Right, right. How do we avoid when we are working with our kids and reading Bible stories to them and making sure they’re laying that foundation, how do we avoid making spiritual growth equal behavior? So what I mean by that is I can remember as a kid hearing different stories from the Bible and obviously wanting to glean what the point was or what the application was, and yet so quickly that can veer into, am I acting right, versus am I really getting the core of what my heart needs to be, what I’m, what I’m moving toward? And I, I think as parents, we want so badly to see concrete effect in our children’s lives, right? From the things we’re doing for them within spiritual growth. So, how do we work on avoiding that and moving more into really understanding that we’re building something that’s gonna take some time to see, to not get too in the ditch on behavior. Amy, how do you, how do you tackle that?
Amy Parker: I, I think, I think you hit the nail on the head there because it’s not about instant gratification and wouldn’t you love to just pull it out and read the story of Noah when your kids being bad and like, Look, Noah obeyed, why can’t you obey, go to your room, You know, and, but, but I think kids, I think kids teach us how to do this because so many times you’ll think they’re not listening, they’re acting crazy. It sounds like the house is falling down, and then all of a sudden, they’ll come to you and say, I was pray, my kitty cat was lost, and I just kept praying for her to come back. And I’m like, oh, you are, you are picking up on, on some of this. And you know, just through the years there were, and you can see this in hindsight, you know, Mike and I, our kids are practically grown. So we can see this in hindsight, but I know in the thick of it you’re panicking thinking my child is going to be an axe murderer and you know, just because he didn’t pick up his blocks or whatever. And I know how quickly a mom’s brain goes from, from minor infraction to my child is going to be a serial killer. Or that’s what I did anyway. Please tell me I’m not alone. But in the long run it is, we have to just remember it’s not about that instant gratification and, you know, behavior band-aids. It is about spiritual growth and that takes a long time. Any kind of growth takes a long time. It’s, there are growing pains and that’s hard to remember in the thick of it. And I don’t have a magical answer for that because I did the same thing. But I think parents just need to know it’s normal. Your kids are going to act like heathens, especially if they’re boys. No offense boys. But that in the end, it’s about that long-term growth and you will see it, I promise. If you just stick with the day-to-day practice and obedience, and I mean your obedience as a parent of, of keeping your kids in the word and however that looks right for your family.
Mike Nawrocki: There’s so much of that. That it’s, it’s modeling for that, for them.
Amy Parker: Yes. Yeah. And if you just keep doing that, I promise you will see the growth and mine so far are not axe murderers or serial killers. So I’m good.
Mike Nawrocki: That’s good. That’s, that’s a, that’s a plus. Well, and I know too, yeah. And so much, and it’s the, the grace versus works thing too, you know? Yeah. And when you, when you’re looking at, when you’re looking at God’s story you know, as a whole and seeing it overall, as you know, this is God’s grace toward us, providing a way to reconcile. You know, him, him with us or us to him. You know, and it becomes, you know, these are, these are these disobedient children, this disobedient nation that keeps rejecting you and doing all these things wrong. And then, but you take them back, you take them back, and then you provide a way through Jesus. You know? So, you know, And, but then ultimately, you know, and in Proverbs, if you, you know, if you act like this, then there’ll be consequences for this. You know, So there’s, there’s a lot of truth in that you know, to, to, to, you know, kind of you know, the action-reaction of what happens when you live a certain way, but overall, you know, we’re under God’s grace and we can mess up and you know, there will be consequences to that. But in the end, there’s a God who made us and loves us and he’s gonna take us back. And, you know, there’s a mom and dad who, I have a mom and dad who love me and you know, who are living in his word and you know, and I’ve got that relationship with them and they’ve got that relationship with him and, you know, that’s very nurturing and, you know, you grow up in that and, and that becomes something that, you know, stays with you.
Julie Lyles Carr: Your whole life, exactly. Yeah. Talk to me, Mike, about how, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna reverse course in a weird way because I’ve said, you know, we have these youth programs and all this stuff that have all the bells and whistles and disco balls and all the things, and we worry, will it be enough to just sit down and have a simple time of looking at Bible stories with my kid? And of course, we know the answer to that is, well, of course, because God’s the best storyteller. Yeah. There is also a tendency though, with parents, and I’m gonna just, I’m gonna throw one out there. My sweet mom, bless. She’s already home with the Lord so she can take this up with him that I’m telling, tell the story. But when I was a kid and would pull something, and this did not happen often, but it happened a couple of times that I did something. I’m sure I told a lie, or I was rebellious or something. Yeah. And she would have me sit down and write verses. I would have to look up verses and write them down and I, Okay, Amy’s, Amy’s raising her hand. Now the haha on my mom was, I actually found this really fascinating because I am one of those people now who loves getting into the Greek and the Aramaic and the Hebrew and all the things and all the history and all the archeology, and I passed for several years, all that. But at the time, I, I laugh because I look back and, you know, Mom, you, you were the best and I don’t, I don’t know if we wanna just, you know, use the Bible as punishment. That’s not always the best approach. And I think so think about it. I think as parents, it’s hard sometimes because we want our kids to get the weight of the truth and the importance of what is happening. And we want them to understand, Mike, to your point about the proverbs, that, you know, behaviors have consequence and, and yes, grace surrounds us, but there are also things that we may choose to do in life that aren’t God’s best, and that’s the outcome that we see. So how do we instill in our kids this love and excitement about going into his word? And we don’t wanna beat ’em over the head with it, but we also want them to understand the weight of the truth, that this is not just a collection of interesting stories, that it provides wisdom, and it provides guidance. And how do we get that in there without turning into the heavy?
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah. Yeah. Amy, do you know the answer to that question,
Amy Parker: I have as you’re talking, I just have so many answers coming. But, I think one specifically with, with the Bible storybook that Mike and I wrote together, we intentionally did not reduce these to morality tales. We wanted every story to relate to the child and to show the character of God. It’s so much bigger and deeper in that than, than just a morality tale. Yes, we want our kids to obey. Yes, we want our kids to have faith, but what is what? How do you even tell a six-year-old how to have faith? What does that even mean? What does that look like? We can’t see faith, right? And so we, in every one of these stories, it starts with a theme and ends with a prayer that reinforces that theme of what this Bible story reveals about God. What is it? What is the big picture that this Bible story says about God? So it’s not just You know, Noah obeyed. It’s that God saved his people. Noah was obedient and God saved his people as a result. And then two, as you were talking about not being the heavy. So I did, I am guilty. You know, if my children were Dis, not even, disrespectful usually is when it happened, I would go have them write; honor your father and mother and you will live long in the land that I’m giving you.
Julie Lyles Carr: There she is, there it is.
Mike Nawrocki: It’s spare the word spoil the child.
Amy Parker: But two, I bet my kids know that verse and I bet whenever they think about being disrespectful there’s probably at least a twinkle of that that comes back up. So and I think our, I think God’s word can be all things. He can be reassurance in the Psalms, you know, and then stories of grace and forgiveness. And then, you know, we see ourselves in the Israelites grumbling in the wilderness. And I think, I think we, we, if we live in God’s word and not just use it for punishment and not just use it to show grace, if we live in God’s word and use it as our go-to for life instruction, then it becomes so much more than just a correction tool.
Mike Nawrocki: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think the, the position of the church can’t be overstated here too, just to have that community within which, you know, kids are hearing these stories and people that they’re relating to, this common set of beliefs that we’re all adhering to and striving toward. I think that’s so important. You know, I think of in my own life, you know, the importance of, you know, youth ministry growing up, and then also just how that affected my kids as well. You know, they, they, this is the family that I belong to, the people that I love. This is what we believe. And so I think that’s, that’s, you know, these are, these are some of the rules that go along with it. But, but, but this all makes us part of this family and this group, and I think that’s super important for kids.
Julie Lyles Carr: I love that, that we don’t need to try to craft God’s word heavily into one lane or the other to just let it speak for all the facets that it has. You’re so right because it is all part of that, and within the context of faith community, we hear that also gives our children an opportunity to hear different perspective and a different way of understanding something that all still gets us back to the core, which is God’s love for us. Right. The book is called, The Bible for Me, Bible Stories and Prayers that you guys have worked on together. And you have a podcast too, The Bible for Kids podcast. Tell me about the genesis of that and how you decided that this would be a way to reach kids in this podcast age. I think it’s just brilliant.
Amy Parker: Just talking about hearing different facets and different voices speak into it, that has been the most fascinating thing for me, at least in the Bible for Kids podcast. The genesis was our agent came to, Mike and I share an agent, and he came to us and said, What about a podcast? And I said, No way, never. And he said, Okay, well what if you had a cohost? And I’m like, Okay, now you’re talking. So, and what if you only had to show up and talk? I’m like, oh, I could do that all day long. So, that our agent was wise enough to use our gifts and not our weaknesses, which is, you know, audio technology for me, not Mike, but and we just wanted to talk to creators of biblical resources, whatever they may be, you know, songwriters, film people, authors and we just, anybody who is creating biblical products for kids, we wanted to talk to them and hear what their approach was. And there are so many fascinating products out there. Maybe, maybe 50 years ago we could say, I can’t find this resource for my child. But now there are just tons and tons of excellent quality resources for our kids, and that’s what we do on The Bible for Kids podcast is just seek out those people, or sometimes they come to us who are creating those excellent products, and we talk about the heart behind those and all of the excellence that is poured into those products. And then what your kids and your family what you’re going to get out of those products. And there’s just a wealth of resources out there and anything that you, that you need or wanna teach your kids or are looking for as it relates to the Bible, those people are just creating excellent products out there.
Mike Nawrocki: And, and part of that was driven, you know, and again, this credit goes to Dan Lynch, but who spent, you know all of his career, most of his career in you know, the Christian bookstore, you know arena and, and, and the recent years last five, 10 years with so many Christian bookstores, just, you know, going away just really felt like there was a need for, if I’m not gonna be able to walk into my local Christian bookstore, you know, where could I go to to hear about these, you know, these different resources. And so that’s kind of what drove what drove, you know, the, the, you know, doing the podcast as well.
Julie Lyles Carr: What I love about that too, and I think this is a really important thing for listeners to hear when it comes to being intentional about the spiritual growth of our children, is honoring how God knit them together. Because you may have a kid who’s very happy to sit by your side and engage in a book, in a Bible story book. You may have a child who’s much more auditory, and so to be able to incorporate that into how you’re bringing the word of God to them. You may have a child who, it’s, it’s pulling out those great veggie tales movies and letting them watch those to really be respectful and honoring of how God wired your child, that there’s not a singular way that we are able to inculcate God’s truth into our kids. And there are ways that God gives us a real speedy on-ramp if we’ll just pay attention to it and not get so focused on it’s gotta be this one way. So my hat is off to you for helping create things that honor all of the ways that God wires kids together for learning and to give them resources that allow them to access his word in their way and their language, and in the way that he created them to learn. So I wanna thank you for that. Well, Mike Nawrocki and Amy Parker, tell me, Mike, you go first and then Amy, you tell me where listeners can find you and where they can find out more about all the great things that you’re doing.
Mike Nawrocki: Sure, I have a website. Probably not as robust as it needs to be, but it’s MikeNawrocki.com. Also DeadSeaSquirrels.com. You know, is that I’m spending a lot of my time writing and you know, animating squirrels. So that’s where folks can find out more about me.
Amy Parker: And I’m at AmyParkerBooks.com. And then the Bible for Kids podcast is TheBibleForKids.com. And then you can also find the Bible storybook there.
Julie Lyles Carr: Fantastic, and we’ll have Rebecca get those into the show notes that she puts together for us each and every week. Well, Mike and Amy, it is great to have you on. Thank you so much for your time today, and I really appreciate all of your wisdom and the experiences you had and how you’re helping equip a generation of parents to be able to talk to their kids about God’s word. Thank you so much.
Amy Parker: Thank you, Julie.
Mike Nawrocki: Thank you so much.