Hoodwinked Study Guide: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off

Hoodwinked Study Guide: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off

by Karen Ehman, Ruth Schwenk


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According to Karen Ehman, popular author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Ruth Schwenk, it’s time to stop the "Mommy Wars."

Today's wives and mothers have been hoodwinked; convinced that serving their family is a subservient and antiquated role. Because of culture, family, friends, or lack of biblical teaching, many moms miss how valuable and powerful their calling really is. Some have bought into the pressure to be "Supermom." Others have believed the myth that they can "do it all" and do it perfectly.

This six-session video-based study (DVD/digital video sold separately) will encourage and inspire women to embrace their roles as mothers wholeheartedly yet realistically, whether they work outside the home, have a home business, or are stay-at-home moms. Mothers will find a fresh new vision for an age-old calling as they tackle the challenges and embrace the blessings of motherhood.

Sessions include:

  1. Build Bridges, Not Fences: When Others Mother Differently
  2. Mothering Matters: Seeing the Hard Years as the Heart Years
  3. At the Top of the Tightrope: When You Try to Do It All
  4. Pressing the Pause Button: Taking Your Schedule from Racing to Rest
  5. In Armor of Their Own: On Revealing the Picture God's Painting
  6. Raising Children on Your Knees: When Your Child Makes a Bad Choice

Designed for use with the Hoodwinked Video Study (sold separately).

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310831457
Publisher: HarperChristian Resources
Publication date: 11/03/2015
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 7.38(w) x 9.13(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, a New York Times bestselling author, and a writer for Encouragement for Today,an online devotional that reaches over 4 million people daily. She has written seventeen books including Keep It Shut, Pressing Pause, and Keep Showing Up. Her passion is to help women to live their priorities as they reflect the gospel to a watching world. Married to her college sweetheart, Todd, the mother of three, and mom-in-law of two, she enjoys antique hunting, cheering for the Detroit Tigers, and feeding the many people who gather around her mid-century dining table for a taste of Mama Karen's cooking. Connect with her at www.karenehman.com.

Ruth Schwenk is the founder of the popular blog The Better Mom.com and co-founder, with her husband Patrick, of Forthe Family.org and the podcast Rootlike Faith. She is also the trusted author of several books with Harper Collins Christian Publishing, including The Better Mom Book and Devotional, and co-author with Karen Ehman of Pressing Pause and Settle My Soul. Ruth is a Michigan football super-fan, lover of all things HGTV, and a self-proclaimed foodie. But her greatest joy is her family. She lives with her husband and their four kids in the dreamy college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Read an Excerpt

Hoodwinked Study Guide

By Karen Ehman


Copyright © 2015 Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-83145-7



Build Bridges, Not Fences:

When Others Mother Differently

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2 – 3

Video: Build Bridges, not Fences: when others Mother differently (25 minutes)

Play the video teaching segment for session one. As you watch, record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you in the outline that follows.


Piece by piece we have crafted in our imagination a stunning mosaic of just what a mom should be — one who does things right and whose kids turn out right. There is one slight problem — a mosaic is not real.

In a quest to be this fictitious woman we somehow begin to believe a lot of myths of motherhood that can leave us hoodwinked, hassled, and even heartbroken.

One myth we believe is this: The way I mother is the right and only way.

Sometimes when we think we are "right," we are actually just being self-righteous. And if you follow the ugly thread of self-righteousness all the way to its gnarly, knotted end, you will find it is rooted in immaturity.

First Corinthians 3:1 – 9 tells us this about divisions in the body of Christ:

* Divisions distract.

* They stunt our growth.

* The issue isn't who is doing what, but are you acting maturely when you interact with someone who does things differently?

John 13:35 says everyone will know we are Christ's disciples ifwe love one another.

We begin to choose sides. The Corinthians said, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos." Today we say, "I follow famous Dr. So-and-So," or "I follow popular Mommy Blogger So-and-So."

Be very careful with the use of the word never. We may be placing our order for a big ol' slice of humble pie when we do.

Seek unity, not uniformity.

Run to God, not to the experts. Use experts as resources, not as lifestyles.

Know your place, but grant others grace.

Build bridges, not fences.

Group discussion (10 minutes)

Take a few minutes to discuss what you just watched.

1. What part of the video teaching had the most impact on you?

2. As a group, name as many areas as you can where moms have strong opinions about the "right" way to raise kids. Ready? Go!

3. Can you think of an example when you thought you knew the right and only way to mother in a particular area — whether it was before you became a mother or since? Describe the situation.

Cluster Group Activity (10 minutes)

If your group has more than twelve members, consider completing this activity in smaller groups of three to six people each.

Have women in the cluster groups take turns reading aloud Ephesians 4:1 – 6 in as many Bible translations as you can. (You may view several translations on a tablet or smartphone at biblegateway.com.) Have one person record the various words used that describe how we are to treat each other.

* What do you learn from recording these particular words and phrases about how we should behave when we encounter a mom who mothers differently than we do?

* Are there any guidelines you can draw out of this passage for how we can behave in the future when rubbing shoulders with someone — especially another believer — who has a very different way of raising kids than we do? Can you think of a specific example that pertains to a real-life, current situation?

Group discussion (25 minutes)

Gather back together as one large group and answer the following questions.

4. What is one insight you gained from the cluster group activity based on Ephesians 4:1 – 6?

5. In the video segment, Karen mentioned some observations found in 1 Corinthians 3:1 – 9 about how we sometimes behave toward others. Have someone read the passage aloud to the group. (Consider reading it in a couple different Bible translations.) Then, say it in a sentence. In other words, craft a sentence that makes an observation or gives a directive based on this passage, and also cite the verse where you found it. Example: When we argue and quarrel with each other, it proves we are letting our sinful nature control us rather than letting the Holy Spirit control us (verse 3).

6. Karen mentioned that we see from this passage that divisions distract. They can certainly distract us from our missions as moms. How have you seen divisions distract moms, keeping them from focusing on raising their kids as they debate with others about the right — or best — way to parent? Tell the group about it. (But be cautious not to name names!)

7. In the video we were encouraged to "be careful with using the word never" in our mothering. Truth time! Do any of you recall a situation — as when Karen declared she'd never, ever use baby formula but then did — when you uttered the phrase "I'll never," but then had to eat those words? What happened?

8. In the teaching segment, we were cautioned against using experts as lifestyle guides — adopting every single thing they say as truth and following all of their advice without even praying about it. How can we be careful to use experts as resources rather than authorities with the final word? If you can, offer an example of a question to ask ourselves before following a piece of advice.

9. "Know your place, but grant others grace." What do you think of that statement? What are some ways you can "know the place" God has for you in parenting a particular child at a particular time, but can also extend grace to other mothers who differ in their approach?

10. "Build bridges, not fences." When it comes to the mothers you know personally, which do you see more of: bridge building or fence erecting? Take a show of hands in the room for both.

Can you think of a specific way to build a beautiful bridge with another mother rather than erect an ugly fence? For example: a mom who homeschools could send a handwritten note to a public school mom telling her she will be praying for her kids and their teachers each week during the school year. Or, a public school mom could take her children to a homeschool science fair or sporting event to show support for a homeschool mom.

11. Have someone read aloud Luke 6:27 – 36. How does this passage apply to bridge building with those who may think differently than we do about raising children? Draw out a few principles from this portion of Scripture about how we are to treat others with whom we don't always see eye to eye.

Individual Activity: what is God Saying to Me? (3 minutes)

Complete this activity on your own.

Take a mental inventory of your life. Are there any aspects of mothering about which you tend to be even a tad dogmatic now or about which you were earlier in your mothering days? Checkmark any areas below:

[] Birth plan (drugs or earth birth, home or hospital, etc.)

[] Type of adoption (foreign or domestic, private agency or foster care system)

[] Nursing versus baby formula

[] Cloth versus disposable diapers

[] Infant sleeping arrangements

[] Feeding of children (store-bought baby food or homemade, organic foods only, specific diet — vegan, paleo, etc.)

[] Schooling options

[] Discipline methods

[] Type of church attended

[] Chores (and payment for chores) for kids, or whether teens should have jobs

[] Kids' clothing choices

[] Teens driving, having curfews, etc.

[] Music, media, and technology allowed for kids

[] Dating, courtship, or other plan for teens and young adults

[] Other: ________________________________________________________________

Now, go back and star the one or two areas where you most feel God may be prompting you to know your place but grant others grace.

Closing Prayer (2 minutes)

Have one person close in prayer. Then, get ready to learn more in your between-sessions personal study before meeting for session two!

Between-Sessions Personal Study

Scripture Memory verse of the week

Each week of our study will feature an optional Bible verse to ponder and even memorize if you desire. For your convenience, all verses are printed in the back of this study guide. You may photocopy that page on card stock or colored paper. Then, cut out the verses and place them in a prominent place — purse, dashboard, desk, kitchen sink — where you will see them regularly. (You may want to laminate them if posting them at your kitchen or bathroom sink or in the shower stall!) You can also keep them in a business card holder.

Consider pairing with another study group member to help you stay accountable to memorize the six verses. You could come a few minutes early to class — or stay a bit longer — to practice your verses with each other. You might even set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you each day to practice your memory verse.

Here is our verse for this week:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2 – 3

Read and learn

Read chapters one through three of the Hoodwinked book. Use the space below to record any insights you discovered or questions you may want to bring to the next group session.

Study and Reflect

1. In chapter one of Hoodwinked, the art form of a mosaic is mentioned. In this inventive method, hundreds of seemingly broken pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials are purposefully put together on a flat surface, creating a collage of color. While each individual piece isn't anything spectacular on its own, when strategically arranged, they combine to make a simply stunning image.

We women craft mosaics of motherhood when we pick up pieces of information over the years from those we believe to be stellar moms. What qualities and actions have you deposited in your mind's memory bank of a picture-perfect mom? List a few of them in the chart below, along with the mom (or moms) who exhibited each quality.

Now, based on the chart, write a sentence that describes the perfect mosaic of a mom, based on all these women and their qualities and actions. How does seeing this description make you feel?

2. Also in chapter one, Karen writes about the woman described in Proverbs 31:10 – 31. Read these verses and jot down any qualities or activities that she is praised for doing that inspire you OR that intimidate you:

Inspire me:

Intimidate me:

Many biblical scholars assert that Proverbs 31:10 – 31 is written in the form of an acrostic poem. The word acrostic can be defined as a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a new word or words. In the case of the Proverbs 31 passage, each line starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Some researchers think that this was done in order to easily commit the poem to memory so that it might be recited aloud. In fact, the Jewish tradition is that men recited this acrostic as a way to praise the women in their lives — often a husband to his wife — usually on Friday nights before the weekly Shabbat dinner. How does this historical background information help you better understand the passage? How does it encourage you to know this Scripture might not actually be recounting all the activities this woman did in one day's time?

3. In chapter two of Hoodwinked (page 32), we encounter the meaning of the Hebrew word for wisdom, chokmah — it's skill. Read Proverbs 2:1 – 5 and then follow the instructions provided:

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding —

indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

provErbs 2:1 – 5

* Read the passage again.

* Circle any verbs (action words) that tell how we are to pursue wisdom/ acquire skill in our lives.

* What is the promise given if we do all of the actions you circled? Underline this promise.

* Finally, go back and place a star in front of the verb/action word you feel you most need to zero in on as you pursue the skill of wisdom. Then, write out a sentence prayer to God below about this action word and its relationship to skillful wisdom.

4. As we parent our children, we often encounter moms who go about their mothering differently than we do. As a result, we may find ourselves tempted to be defensive about the way we mother or hypercritical of other mothers' methods. Look up the following verses and then, in the space provided, record a few words about how we are to treat others as we interact with them, even if they think or act differently.

* Proverbs 15:1

* 1 Corinthians 4:12 – 13a

* Ephesians 4:15

* Ephesians 4:32

* Philippians 2:3

* Philippians 4:5

* Colossians 3:12

* Colossians 4:6

5. The book of Titus in the New Testament was written by the apostle Paul to one of his trusted assistants, Titus (go figure!), who was serving as a pastor on the island of Crete. It contains instructions for how members of the church are to live and to treat one another, and also how they are to behave in society.

Read Titus 3:1 – 8. In the space below, record any advice this Scripture contains about our behavior toward others. Also cite the verse where the advice is found.

From this same passage, list the various ways God treated us along with the verse where it's mentioned.

Finally, in the space below, summarize what this passage says about how we are to treat others and why. (Psst. To answer the "why," be sure to note the verses that talk about what God has done for us and how he has treated us.)

One more time for review. Here is our optional memory verse for this week:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2 – 3


Excerpted from Hoodwinked Study Guide by Karen Ehman. Copyright © 2015 Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


How to Use This Guide, 7,
SESSION 1 Build Bridges, Not Fences: When Others Mother Differently, 11,
SESSION 2 Mothering Matters: Seeing the Hard Years as the Heart Years, 29,
SESSION 3 At the Top of the Tightrope: When You Try to Do It All, 43,
SESSION 4 Pressing the Pause Button: Taking Your Schedule from Racing to Rest, 63,
SESSION 5 In Armor of Their Own: On Revealing the Picture God's Painting, 79,
SESSION 6 Raising Children on Your Knees: When Your Child Makes a Bad Choice, 95,
Bonus Session 7: No More Hoodwinked Moms, 115,
Ideas for Mom Bridge Building, 120,
Recipes: Muffins and Cupcakes and Breads, Oh My!, 122,
Minute-Long Mom Pep Talks from Hoodwinked, 130,
Scripture Memory Verses, 133,

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