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In this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, host Shaun Tabatt sits down with Bethany Mandel, co-author of Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation. Mandel and co-author Karol Markowicz shopped their book around to several publishers, but they all backed out, citing fear of being canceled. DW Books was the only publisher brave enough to publish it.
Stolen Youth exposes the Left’s all-out attack on the American family and the youngest members of society, providing a deep dive into the current woke indoctrination happening in various areas of society, such as politics, education, medicine, mental health, entertainment, and culture.
Moms and Dads must understand what is truly going on before they can do something about it, and as concerned parents and American citizens, they can no longer afford to stay ignorant. Stolen Youth outlines how to fight for your kid’s freedom and win. If you want to protect your children and your family, then you must listen to this podcast episode and read the book.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Bethany Mandel:
Connect with Karol Markowicz:
Episode 867: Life Updates: Bethany Mandel - The Left's Battle for Our Children - How to Fight Back Against Woke Indoctrination and Win
Shaun Tabatt: It's time for another episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, a podcast where I connect you with thought leaders from across the globe. Digging into some of my favorite topics like personal development, marketing, spirituality, and pretty much any other shiny object that happens to catch my attention. Today my special guest is Bethany Mandel and we're going to be discussing her new book Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation. Bethany, it is truly an honor. Welcome to the show.
Bethany Mandel: Thank you so much for having me.
Shaun Tabatt: Truly my pleasure. This is an important discussion and this book is an important contribution to the conversation that I think so many of us parents are a part of right now throughout the country. But before I get into the book, I'd love to give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to the audience. So give us a bit of the Bethany Mandel origin story. So for folks meeting you for the first time, give them a little bit of context. What should we know about you?
Bethany Mandel: I am a homeschooling mom of six. My oldest is nine, currently sitting on my couch reading a science book and my youngest is in my lap, so if you hear little baby sounds, they are my two-month-old. I'm a writer. I'm a political writer and I'm a conservative. And so I started my career at the Heritage Foundation and then moved on to Commentary Magazine for a few years. And when my daughter was born almost 10 years ago, I started freelancing and doing anything that people would pay me a little bit of money to do and started writing and that actually went well. So here I am. So I just wrote my first book with Daily Wire Books. I co-wrote it with one of my best girlfriends, Karol Markowicz, and it's called Stolen Youth. And it's about sort of how woke radicals are trying to capture childhood and capture kids' innocence while turning them into sort of foot soldiers for a woke political movement that they're hoping will reinvent American society. And so far they're having a disturbing amount of luck, which a lot of people are not cognizant of. So that's a lot of what Karol and I set out to do when we wrote Stolen Youth
Shaun Tabatt: And hats off you. Bold move to have a baby being born two months before a book launch. Wow! Let alone being a mom of six and homeschooling and everything that goes with that. As a dad and a husband, we've been on the homeschooling journey for 20 years or so at this point. You got a lot going on, let alone launching a new book.
Bethany Mandel: He was a pleasant surprise.
Shaun Tabatt: Yes, as I always like to say, one of those unplanned blessings that you're thankful for. As a publishing guy I'm always curious, you know this is the type of project, if you and Karol put together a book proposal and you went to a bunch of different houses, a lot of them would've been just scared off by this topic. It's like this, there's no place we could even sell this or we'll get canceled. So was Daily Wire the only place that this book was ever talked about? Did you shop it around? I'm curious how the book found a home.
Bethany Mandel: We did. We shopped it everywhere and everyone said, "Oh, this is going to be gangbusters. This would sell super duper well. We're too scared to take it." So we went to auction and we had, I believe it was three or four interested buyers and went to auction and the day of auction, every single publisher pulled out and the editors told our agent, it's because they're afraid that come time to publish, they won't have anywhere to sell it because Amazon won't carry it, Target won't carry it. We're afraid you'll get canceled. And so one of the publishers said, "I would be willing to do this if it was sort of a guide to raise happy and resilient children who are resistant to woke culture, but we don't want you to talk about fighting, we don't want you to talk about transgender stuff." And Karol and I kind of looked at each other and were like, I mean I guess that book could be written but not by us.
That's not our personalities, that's not who we are. And we wouldn't even really be interested in reading that book. So we kindly told that wonderful editor, thank you, but no thank you. We had this 20-page book proposal that we just shelved and we said, I guess this is not the moment, maybe the moment will come back. And a couple months went by and one of the publishers who was interested but couldn't really offer anything as far as an advance, she had moved on to the Daily Wire and they were looking to acquire new projects. And so she contacted me and said, "I loved your book proposal, did you ever sign it?" And I said, "No, we weren't really willing to change it that drastically." And she said, "Let me talk to your agent." And I think it was like a week later we had a book contract.
Shaun Tabatt: That's amazing. I love that Daily Wire Books came on the scene in the past couple years. Even as somebody who works in the Christian publishing space, I had so many friends in the past 18 months who had projects that were almost to the finish line, got canceled multiple times and they had to scramble and find new homes. And with the exception of Daily Wire and a few other select houses, a lot of people were just so afraid to publish anything that was edgy or really tried to contribute another perspective to the conversations that were happening. And so again, I'm just so grateful for houses that are willing to take the risk and put something out there and really let something land and hit people and let 'em wrestle with it and discuss it and maybe be a little bit more challenged than just what they see in the popular media story so to speak.
I'd love to have you share, and this is how you guys open the book. There seems like there is a typical scenario or a timeline for a lot of parents who are fumbling and stumbling into all of a sudden their kid comes home and you know, oh, I'm identifying as this, I have a different name or whatever it might be. And when they try to track down where did this all start, they try to talk to teachers, administrators, everybody involved. They find that they've all of a sudden been just kind of pulled out of the equation almost like they're irrelevant. Is that as normal as the story you open the book with makes it sound?
Bethany Mandel: Yeah, it is. So I would say the prototype sort of radicalization of children happens in the following way. Kids get a smartphone and they join TikTok and they start having sort of content fed to them on TikTok that is age-appropriate but not age appropriate. So they have certain kinds of content that they're fishing out to 13, 14-year-olds. It's not appropriate, but it's what they've deemed sort of relevant for their age and a lot of it is hyper-focused on gender, hyper-focused on sexuality and often race and often violence and often drugs as well. And it contributes to sort of a mental health crisis or issues for that child. Simultaneously they're going to school and they're learning in a health class or they're learning in different classes that if you are uncomfortable or unhappy in your prepubescent body, there might be an answer that you are just born into the wrong body and there are ways to fix that.
And so they're hearing that in class and then they're in their school library. They're also sort of literally sometimes being handed or they're on display, books that sort of idolatrize that lifestyle and that experience and then they turn on even Nickelodeon content that is again, age-appropriate for them but it's not appropriate and they're being fed the same message. And so it's kind of an all fronts attack and it's death by a thousand cuts and in all of these myriad ways, this idea is first of all normalized that they could be a different gender but then also promoted. And the first step that I've heard from a lot of parents is that the kid will declare themselves bisexual, then they declare that identity publicly and they are met with love bombing, which is something that happens a lot in cults. And so they are so warmly embraced both in person in school and also online and the more that they sort of delve into their victimhood and their sexual identity, they're getting the dopamine hit of the love bombing of the comments and the likes and the support from people outside of their family and then they decide to take it a step further. I'm non-binary.
Same love bombing. And then you know what, I am just straight out transgender and all of this sort of path. I was talking to a mother who is based out in California and she helps parents sort of counsel them with having this experience of a child have this self-identity crisis when it comes to gender. And this was sort of the pathway that she laid out for me, what she hears from parents and I heard it also from parents separate from her. And so I think that that's a pretty standard path forward that a lot of people sort of experience. And what's frustrating about this mother who's sort of counseling all these parents is that she's not trained, she's not a mental health professional, she's just a mom. But the problem is when all of these parents think my child is having a mental health crisis, I need to bring them to a professional. The professional is doing the same thing and often they're doing the same thing because they're legally required to or ethically required to by their professional organization that they're a member of the American Academy of Psychiatry, you name it, all of these sort of acronym places that people who have mental health credentials belong to in order to practice mental health counseling.
They're required to go along with this and to further these children's gender self-identity crises then sort of critically say maybe do you think that there's something else going on? Have you ever had gender self-identity questions before now, do you think that there might be something else at play? They're not really allowed to do that.
Shaun Tabatt: When you think of news and culture and media, people are being taught that their family of origin is terrible, their country is terrible, Christianity is bad. All these things that gave people moorings and boundaries and a story that they could write themselves into, which I feel like is a part of living a successful life. That's all been stripped away. And so you have so many people who are just desperate to fit into some story finding some level of belonging somewhere, and it's just this perfect convergence of issues where the rise of this is kind of inevitable just with the systems that we're operating in right now. I want to take kind of a left turn and we'll come back to this topic in a minute, but just I was fascinated in the early part of the book, you guys talk about how Karol's grandfather was in the gulag and just the idea from that part of the book talking about how the line kept moving, what was fine last week, all of a sudden you were getting arrested and imprisoned for and I feel like that's exactly where we are.
We're not quite there here in the states, but we're desperately it seems trying to move in that direction where what a few years ago if I said something that was kind of mean or off-color, you'd be like, "Wow! Shaun is just a real big jerk and it's unkind that he would say that," but now if I'd said some of those same things that were fine a few years ago, it would be hate speech. I could be arrested for some of these things depending on the context of what was happening. Just talk to us a little bit about the danger of that line constantly shifting and often people don't even know it has shifted until all of a sudden somebody's knocking at their door and they're in trouble.
Bethany Mandel: Yeah. And that was something that was really powerful that Karol wrote about. She wrote about her great-grandfather who died in a gulag and a lot of the experiences that her family had in the Soviet Union, she has, and I've been friends with Karol probably 15 years at this point, and so we have a long history and whenever anyone in the past has asked Karol, well, would you compare this to the Soviet Union? She has said that is hyperbolic and really frankly very insulting to the memory of my great-grandfather who perished in a gulag. Karol has changed her tune when it comes to this sort of woke revolution and she says a lot of the forced conformity that was the way to survive in the Soviet Union is happening here. And we had that experience when we were doing research for this book especially, I wrote the medical chapter, sort of the medical institution's chapter, and without exception, no one would talk to me on the record.
There was one doctor who was brilliant and provided incredible insights and she wouldn't even talk to me in any way even to schedule a conversation in writing. She said, I want everything verbal, and she had a lot of questions about what I would do with the recording because I record every interview that I do. She was really scared and so this level of fear is something that reminds Karol a lot of the stories that she heard from her family who lived in the Soviet Union. Karol is an immigrant and so we were joking the other night that she can never be president.
Shaun Tabatt: If I think back on my journey when I was coming up going to junior high and high school in the nineties, it was all about being politically correct and I think of my sister-in-law and others who maybe one generation forward from me it was more about being socially aware was the phrasing then and now we're in this full-scale leftism, wokeism. Any thoughts on just the progression in culture. I can see the seeds of things being planted when I was coming up, but it was very gentle and it was very subtle and I think of the things that I'm willing to question and wrestle with versus people who are 10 years younger than me where it's almost like they're programmed. If you talk about this thing, well you couldn't possibly question us. There's definitely a different level that I guess the water slowly turned up as the generations have proceeded through the system, if you will.
Bethany Mandel: It used to be that it was cool and hip to question authority and to go against the grain and to be unique. And now the thing that scares us about this woke moment is that that's no longer the in thing to do. Now there's a conformity and there is only one way to think about anything. In Stolen Youth we have a chapter about Covid, which seems kind of out of place. Why is there a Covid chapter in a book about wokeism? But for us, we sort of saw Covid as the woke revolution hitting the gas very hard. The frog was being slowly boiled to death one degree at a time for a long time. In Covid they just sort of decided to crank it up to an 11 and that period of time was a testing ground and they discovered that they could push things through that hurt children and no one would really speak up and they learned that they could by force sort of require us as Americans to do things that didn't make sense.
No one's asking why the emperor has no clothes on. So they put cloth masks on two-year-olds for eight hours a day in daycare and no one ever said, "Are they at risk? Is that effective? Does this seem like a good idea? Would this do more harm than good?" No one asked those questions and no one is asking those questions now. And so Covid was the moment where we learned that we could do anything and we could do anything to children especially, and Americans wouldn't really stand up and question authority and question why we're doing this.
Shaun Tabatt: I want to bounce now over to kind of, and you said earlier death by a thousand cuts. We saw the attempt the last few years to erase parts of history. We saw statues being taken down. We saw schools being renamed. We saw pivotal figures in the history of North America and our nation be it Columbus, Washington, even Abraham Lincoln attempting to cancel all these different things. Even The 1619 Project also came on the scene to try to rewrite history as well. It's not just some of the sexual orientation-related things that we've kind of referenced that are happening in schools and children's literature. There's also this wholesale trying to rewrite the history of the nation. How is that another part of this same movement trying to rewrite the history and really telling, again, I think it's that identity piece. You don't belong to anything, therefore we can just make it whatever we want to.
Bethany Mandel: I have to read you an email that I got from the Kennedy Center on Monday. I believe it was March 8th, so Wednesday. Wednesday was Wednesday. Happy International Women's Day. For a limited time save on tickets to the show that presents America's beginning through a multicultural cast of female, transgender, and non-binary actors portraying the fiery founders of this country. That show, it's called 1776 and it's at the Kennedy Center. That is as close to state-sponsored theater as you can get in America, here in Washington DC. That is how they're trying to rewrite history. The left has always done this. When I was in college 20 years ago, right? 20, yeah. Oh my God. Wow. Yeah. 20 years ago this happened in a class of mine. We were talking about sort of the history of Africa and one of my professors sort of had this whole lesson and paper that we had to write and I asked, "Where are you getting this information from?
How could you possibly know?" The professor posited that the women were the hunters and the men were the hunter-gatherers in this particular civilization in Africa, and it was really just like a women's empowerment, yada yada, and everyone ate it up with a spoon. They were like, "This is great. Those women were going against the grain and there's this ancient, ancient, ancient history of women not just being the nurturers and the gatherers." And I raised my hand. I was like, "You've said a lot of things. Where are you getting this from?" And she failed me and I had to go to a department head to argue with it. She ended up on that paper giving me a C because my paper that was supposed to be about this was just basically like my professor is making things up because it's a really compelling narrative and it's a really compelling story, but it's nowhere in any archeological record.
There's nothing there. This is what the left does. And I think that 15, 20 years ago when I was in college, that was something that was slowly happening and I talk about this in Stolen Youth. A lot of these radical ideas start on the college level and they sound really crazy and wonky and it's just academic people who have never left their dorm in their entire life imagining, well, what if there's like a wrong brain and you could choose to be a man if you want to be a man, if you're a woman? And those crazy ideas that go unchecked then dissipate with all of their students and this is sort of the progression of insanity and this is how it starts and it's on college campuses, but Stolen Youth is the first book that sort of says the woke craziness isn't just happening to college students. They're also now trying to target young children.
Shaun Tabatt: I feel like as I've wandered around in Barnes and Noble and other mainstream bookstores, I work in the publishing industry, so anytime I travel, I wander in bookstores to kill time and get coffee. The amount of children's books that have popped up in the past really three to five years promoting people who would've otherwise been obscure and you wouldn't have had a children's book about them or trying to indoctrinate even toddlers and preschoolers with some of these ideas. I don't think we've ever seen that on full display until now. Is it worse than I think it is?
Bethany Mandel: Do you want to read all of your listeners the title of this book that is on my shelf because I use it for this exact purpose?
Shaun Tabatt: You must use that for homeschooling the ABCs of AOC.
Bethany Mandel: Yeah, my husband got this. My husband's the editor of a conservative magazine. They obviously are not sending their galley copies to the right places. This is the stuff that's out there right now. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from A to Z, and it's written for children. In addition to writing Stolen Youth, I am an editor of a children's book series called Heroes of Liberty, and so this is one of our titles, Amy Connie Barrett, we have others on Ronald Reagan and John Wayne and Margaret Thatcher, Elon Musk, John Paul II, Thomas Sowell. But the difference for us, and this was something that I try very hard to make sure that we do this as a company at Heroes of Liberty, we don't push it down their throats. We sort of take a very neutral stance of this person's history and this person's role within wider history in the wider world, in our wider society.
It's not indoctrination and it's not activism. In the Thomas Sowell biography that we have, we're not selling his sort of economic theories to children. We're just saying this was an inspiring person and here's their life story. There's a big difference between what we're doing and The ABCs of AOC. And there's also an incomparable difference in what we're doing at Heroes of Liberty with a lot of the content that's being published now by sort of woke publishers. It's graphic and it's pornographic and it's highly sexualized and really disturbing. I would say 99% of the content that's really disturbing, what they do is, so I'm use an example of there's this book, a graphic novel called Gender Queer. Graphic, graphic visual and written descriptions of an encounter between two young teenage boys, and I'm trying to keep it as clean as possible for your audience. And they are able to insert this graphic content because they do it between two boys and if you object then you're a homophobe.
And the reality is I think most parents don't want highly sexualized graphic content in their children's graphic novels, whether they be gay or straight, but they're afraid to say something because they know what's coming. If they do, they will then be labeled a homophobe. So this is how a lot of the publishing industry is also inserting a lot of deeply inappropriate content because they know that people are afraid of getting canceled basically, or feeling the pressure of going up to the school librarian and saying, I don't think that this is appropriate for the bookshelves here.
Shaun Tabatt: To a large degree, it's just propaganda. You know it's I'm going to put somebody in front of you with a smiling face and make stuff for people of all ages and almost an attempt to make somebody iconic before they've really ever accomplished a lot. We're not judging people by the quality of their character and the things that they did and the things that they've accomplished that were significant. We're just saying, "Hey, this is our person. We're going to put them on display for you and just be really, really excited about them." And I won't name names, but there have been a number of prominent figures in the past 10 years where they just came on the scene out of obscurity and moved into very high political offices. And you're like, "There's no reason this person should have even gotten elected except for clearly there's a movement behind them pushing them to the top of the pile, so to speak." In a way that was, to me, it felt like anything beyond what I'd seen at least in my lifetime. I want to keep talking about books a little bit. Talk to us a little bit about canceling Dr. Seuss and now we're seeing a bunch of attempts to rewrite Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and other kinds of classic books that we all grew up with, but all of a sudden they're objectionable because they're no longer towing the line, if you will.
Bethany Mandel: It's also happening with R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series as well. There are just so many examples that I get into as many as I can in Stolen Youth, but basically they're rewriting. I think that Roald Dahl is probably the perfect example. He is a really deeply sort of funny and irreverent writer. There's very few writers like him in the English language and he has a way of describing things that you can picture it in your mind's eye, which is so powerful for young children when they're first learning how to read and when they're being read too. We started those books when my children were like four and five years old, and I did them as read-alouds for nine months and my kids loved it, they loved every minute of it, and what they're doing is replacing words like plump with friendly. That's one of the things, and it's so absurd and they're afraid of offending any possible sensibility, and so it's not enough that they're producing literature now that is so watered down so as to not to offend that no one wants to read it, but now they're going into the time machine and ruining classic literature that everyone has always loved and it's not because it's inoffensive.
I mean, I am a plump human being myself. I don't mind Roald Dahl describing people as plump because it's a visual way of describing someone and it's not a value judgment, it's just that's what that person looked like. Plump.
Shaun Tabatt: Let's jump now to the latter half of the book. You've got a section titled Kids as Guinea Pigs. So on the one hand, when did our children all of a sudden become part of this massive social experiment, whether it's transgender stuff, sexualization of everything for children, when did these things really start to pivot like subtly and is there a real endgame in mind here because it just seems like it's everywhere and in everything now.
Bethany Mandel: I think the endgame is the total revamping of American society in which there is no up, there is no down, and they've turned our children into activists, but I don't even think that they know what their end point is, the goalpost to keep on shifting pretty rapidly. And so it's a scary time because I think that we have crazy people at the helm in a lot of different really prominent positions and something that we don't get into in the book, but that a lot of folks cover very closely. Bari Weiss on her substack, The Free Press is one of them talking about the crazyization, a very technical term of the top private schools in the country. I have a source who sends me the crazy stuff that's happening in schools in one of these very large coastal cities. This is where the next generation of the elites come from, and those elites then go on to run the banks and different entertainment companies like these are the schools that are the feeding grounds for the top universities and those top universities, then you go to the top of all of these different corporations. They are the craziest place on the planet. They are the most woke places on the planet and the rapidity, the rapidness of... I haven't slept in several days. The rapidness of this transformation is really troubling and it's really troubling to a lot of people within these schools and a lot of parents within these schools, but they're afraid to say anything because they don't want to be labeled the troublemaker or the bigot.
Shaun Tabatt: I can relate after 10 babies, we had many seasons where we didn't sleep a whole lot.
Bethany Mandel: It's not him. It's this book, man. It's a crazy book that all your listeners have to go by to make up. That's right. For the fact that I haven't slept in three days.
Shaun Tabatt: Yes, make up for Bethany's lack of sleep, please buy one copy and five for your family and friends. They need to read this.
One thing I wrote down in my notes from the book was wokeness equals trauma inflation regime. That really stuck with me because again, people have been told, if you're white, you're privileged and you're just a terrible person, so therefore people are just trying to find any way that they can somehow be a victim. They've got some disadvantage, some disability, something so they can have a status symbol too, and all of a sudden be accepted. To some degree in this and people might not like me describing it this way, it's this odd race down to the bottom almost like who can be the most disadvantaged problematic person because that's my badge of honor or my status symbol. Again, not judging people by their accomplishments or their character, just trying to find some way to have a label again so I can be accepted or kind of get that love bomb that I get as you described earlier, because I've willingly put this scarlet letter on myself maybe, if you will, it just feels so weird and backwards from how it was when a lot of us were coming up 20, 30 years ago.
Big picture, what do you feel like this has done for, whether it's our kids in junior high, high school or people who are in college and getting out to the world, how has this stunted them? Is this holding them back?
Bethany Mandel: So there's this idea in cognitive behavioral therapy that I will like dumb down to the lowest possible denominator. Fake it until you make it. Whatever you keep on telling yourself, that seeps into some sometimes significant degree. And so the idea is like don't constantly tell yourself that you're anxious. Don't constantly tell yourself that you're a failure. Try to stop that loop that's happening in your brain and the cessation of that loop, that negative feedback, self-feedback is sort of step one to changing your mental health and what we're doing in young people is we are encouraging and incentivizing them, continuing that loop and starting new loops that are all negative and that are all based in victimhood. I watched this so many times with so many different people where they would post, I'm feeling really depressed today and the love bombing that they got, the dopamine hit that they got. That's so wonderful that you are honest with yourself and that you are taking this serious.
And so then they just kept on posting this kind of content and they kept on getting positive affirmations from everyone around them. And so this is leading to a mental health crisis and the disincentivization, I'm making words up left and right on your show, the disincentivization of resiliency. And so you're right. When we were kids, when you fell, your mom would say, get up, you're fine. And when you felt sick, your mom would say, eh, it's only like 102. You're fine. You're going to go to school. Mama has to go to work today. And now, I mean that was what my mom did. I don't know, maybe y'all had nicer moms, but that made me more resilient. Did I hate my mom at the moment? Of course I did. Do my children hate me at those moments? Of course they do, but my goal is to raise resilient adults who are independent and who don't have that negative feedback loop. And that is not the case for young people now. They are incentivized to marinate in their own victimhood.
Shaun Tabatt: Back in the day, I managed a small team for one of the publishers I worked at in Minnesota. And living in Minnesota, it snows all the time and we have blizzards and back when I started out in the workforce, you were expected to be to work on time. You would get up two or three hours early to get to work, to be there at your start time. And it got to the point with some of my millennial staff where they would tell me, bribing in the snow really traumatizes me and I don't know what. And I was just like, this is such a generational difference because I was told, suck it up buttercup. We want you to be here on time. And then this generation that came up after me having to do something hard was just, it was very difficult. And again, if any of those ladies listen to this interview, I love you guys.
You're still some of my best friends and you're like family to me. But that was a real struggle to be like, this is a real generational difference where even driving in bad weather somehow, like you're going to get PTSD from that. It was just such a foreign concept to me and I think it really just illustrated for me how different our upbringings were, even though we came up within 10 years of each other, so to speak.
Let's find a place to land the conversation. Where do we go from here? What's the response? I love that you and Karol like go at the whole schooling part from different angles. Now, full disclosure for people if this is the first time you're meeting me. I'm a Christian, I work in the Christian publishing industry. My wife and I have homeschooled for 20 years, so I am very biased towards pulling my kids out of school and having them at home. And although technically I have two kids in a private Christian school right now, there's a reason for that. You all know that if you've been following my story, but I'm biased in one direction, I'd love to hear just a little bit about perspective of what's a parent to do because I know not everybody can make that choice to homeschool or it's just completely impractical. Do we bring the kids home? Do we fight the man within the system? What's the way forward?
Bethany Mandel: Karol and I take different perspectives, so I homeschool. I have six children, but only three of them are school-aged thus far. And she sends one of her children to private and two of them to public. And we surprisingly don't have that different of an opinion even though we've taken these very different paths. And I think that it also should be said that not everyone wants to homeschool. I think that that is very valid too. It is a lifestyle choice that a lot of people don't want to make and are not interested in making. And I get it. As someone who's making that choice, I can understand why people are not interested. In the book. We sort of give different paths of like this is how you can raise your children resilient and resistant to all of these forces while still holding true to your values and your ideals.
And one of the most powerful conversations that I had with a parent when I was writing Stolen Youth was a mother who had children in their early twenties and she said they were lost. They were lost to her. They were basically estranged. And she said if she could go back in time and tell herself one thing, what would she do different? And she said, we did not have enough conversations about what we believe. We did not affirmatively and vocally out loud say these are our values. We did not bring them to church. I'm a Jew, so I'm speaking as this woman. We did not bring them to church. We did not instill in them religion. And even though I had my issues with our faith, I let that totally strip my children of all faith because I had some qualms with our church. And so Karol and I will tell you, if she were sitting right next to me, she would say That is something that every parent has to and can do.
They have to affirmatively share, this is what we believe as a family. You can't just say, we don't like this, we don't like this, we don't like this. There has to be some sort of positive affirmation. In the book I talk about this is how you homeschool, this is where you start. And I think that that's valuable for parents who are interested in homeschooling and I think that there has been a huge ballooning of interest in homeschooling recently, and Karol talks about sort of how she functions with making sure that her kids are learning the appropriate things. One of the things that Karol did very famously during the pandemic was she moved from her home of practically her entire life. I mean since she immigrated here from the Soviet Union, she moved from Brooklyn to Florida and she said, this is not a place that puts my children first.
This is a place that is actively harming my children and I will not leave them in this place any longer in Brooklyn and in these schools. To me, Karol is actually more extreme than me because I won't leave my blue state. I like my house, I like where I live. My husband's job is not as easy to transport as hers was, but her husband's job wasn't easy to transport either. They had to move somewhere near airports so that he could travel for work. Bottom line is it's not going to be easy no matter what you do, but the last word in our book is fight, and that's what we want parents to do is fight.
Shaun Tabatt: I think we just need to be realistic that things are different than when a lot of us grew up, and so some of the choices we're going to make might look different from our parents. Whether we choose to homeschool, I can vouch for that, is a challenging road and I don't mean that, that it's bad. It takes a lot of time and effort and resources and it consumes a good part of your life. If you're going to choose to have your kids in school, be a part of the school board meetings, go there with your kids, see their library, be aware of what's happening as much as you can, even related to church, youth group, Sunday school, all the things, just don't be all passive and outsource it so to speak, and think that other people are going to teach your kids the things they want to know.
I like what you said earlier in terms of our kids need to know why we stand for this or stand against that and there's reasoning behind it. And if we never share those things, they're not going to ever grasp. It's like, yeah, mom and dad just always says that was a bad thing or whatever, but if we can give 'em the context and the reason behind it, that's very fruitful and very valuable.
Big picture reader's journey with the book. Somebody spends the time they get to that back flap. You cover so much ground call to action take away is this simply that message of fight. What is the one thing everybody needs to see?
Bethany Mandel: Fight. That's it. You got to fight. This is why you read the book, so I'm not giving away the ending. You still have to buy the book. Y'all have to know what you're fighting and you have to know how to fight. But the answer is you have to fight.
Shaun Tabatt: Finding out more about the book. Best Places for us to discover you on the web.
Bethany Mandel: Both Karol and I are very active on Twitter and Instagram. Her Twitter is @Karol with a K, so K-A-R-O-L. My Instagram and my Twitter are bethanyshondark, S-H-O-N-D-A-R-K, and her Instagram is karolinpublic, because she has a private Instagram as well. As do I.
Shaun Tabatt: It's time to bring this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show to a close. Many thanks for being a part of my conversation with Bethany Mandel. Once again, our book today was Stolen Youth: How Radicals are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation. And Bethany, I want to say thank you so much for sharing with us today. It's been an honor and a pleasure to have you on the show.
Bethany Mandel: Thank you.