Lisa Whelchel 11-17
By Holly McClure (Movie Reviewer)

From Facts of Life to Home Schooling Mom:
TV's Blair Writes Christian Parenting Book

Crosswalk.com Entertainment Channel - Posted Nov. 17, 2000

Lisa Whelchel, best known for playing the vain Blair on TVs The Facts of Life, now is a pastors wife who home schools her three children. She also has added author to her resume, writing a book for parents called Creative Correction, published by Focus on the Family. Here are excerpts of a recent interview with Crosswalk.com's Holly McClure.

I understand there may be a Facts of Life reunion.

Right, they're going to tape a reunion show, probably in the spring.

Everybody seems to be wanting these reunion shows.

Just personally as a viewer, I'm just interested in the shows that I grew up watching, just seeing what the (characters) look like now and what they're doing. I love those 'Where are they now?' shows.

Are you filming that now?

They're writing the script right now, so if all goes well and the script is OK, then I guess well start filming before the proposed actors strike next summer.

Now Blair who you were as a character and Blair who you want her to be now, is there going to be controversy in that? Are they going to consult you about who you want Blair to be?

You know, they did. They met with the writer, and we had a little bit of a difference of a opinion, believe it or not, but she was great about it. She came to me and said, You know, I think she should have grown up and matured and found God, and I was going, No way, that's not funny. She should be as vain and shallow as she ever was, she should be stuck in high school, totally.

Oh, this is going to be fun to watch! Have you had time to do any other acting, being a full-time mom?

The show went off the air in 88 and by 89, I was pregnant, then I was pregnant for about three or four years there. There's not a lot of job opportunities if you're stuck in the ob/gyn office.

Then when you have little ones its kind of hard to take off, isn't it?

That's right. Actually, by the time I could have gone back to work, I had these three adorable toddlers and it just was too hard. I just wanted to stay home and be a momma. That was much more enticing to me than being on TV.

Lets talk about how you met your husband.

It all happened very fast. I was friends with my husband for two years. We were in a prayer group together, and actually my prayer every month was that the Lord would help me find a husband, and my husband, Steve, was very diligent and faithful to pray for me. Then, gosh it was about December of 87, things just turned around and I thought, You know what, this is a great guy. This is the kind of guy Id like to marry. He had just been a friend up until that point. Well, we were engaged in February of 88 and then we got married in July of 88 and then I found out I was pregnant with my son ten months later, then we had three kids in three years, so we moved quickly.

So where is he a pastor?

He's an associate pastor at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif. He's kind of a background guy, he's over the information technology at the church.

So he was there with you as a friend first, which is the way it should be, and then as a husband, and you guys had children quickly. How was it dealing with three little ones in that quick of time?

You know, my personality is really just such that I will just pour myself a hundred and ten percent into whatever I'm doing at that time, and so that's the way I liked it. So I left showbiz and closed that door and just jumped into marriage and pouring myself into my children. While they were toddlers, that was obviously a full-time job and by the time it got to where that could be a little easier, I decided to make it harder and home school them. Then I home schooled them for the next five years and so now I'm putting myself just a hundred percent into raising them and molding their character and discipling them, so that's what my book Creative Correction is about, its just some of the things I've learned pouring myself creatively into being a mom.

Lets talk about the book. Did you just start thinking about these ideas and writing them down through the years? What prompted you to write a book about this?

Well, actually my friends have been telling me through the years, 'You've got to write some of these ideas down, I never would have thought of handling that that way.' I just kind of had it in the back of my mind. I didn't realize it until my friends started telling me that I really do think outside of the box. That's probably why I went into show business. I'm just creative by nature, so it was an easy thing for me to try to be creative in my discipline techniques. I also had the luxury as you said of being home full time with them. I know a lot of moms really don't have the luxury and when they get home, there's just so much to do and everybody's so tired that I had the extra time to come up with some new and clever ideas, so I thought, 'I'm going to put all these ideas down in a book for that mom that wants to do something different beyond time out or spanking, but just doesn't think about it or doesn't have time.' She can just pick up my book and go to the back of the book the topical index, look up whatever she's dealing with, whether its lying or sibling conflict, or laziness or schoolwork or whatever, and it'll direct her to about four or five different ways, and she can pick what she thinks will work for her child.

What would you say is the highlight of the book? What are parents going to gleam from it?

I think definitely I wrote it more as a practical book. Yes, I tell lots of stories about my own family and about myself, and its funny just because of some of the things my kids have done that I share, but its just really practical. As you said, there are hundreds of practical and creative ways to discpline your children in general situations and specific situations, reward and incentive ideas. So I think mostly what I wanted to share was look, I've read a million child parenting books and I think a lot of mothers have, but this one is practical. This one says, OK, you probably know what you are supposed be doing, here are some ideas to follow through on those things you want to do in the first place.

That's what I like about this. The chapters are easy to read and you can go specifically to areas you're dealing with. I think this is helpful for both parents.

And also I think children are unique, so were going to want to deal with them each uniquely. The situations are unique, our parenting styles are different, so for instance, if you find yourself in the middle of catching your child in a lie, there's lots of different ways to handle it. You can look at lying and perhaps it'll send you to a creative correction idea to address the negative behavior. One idea is kind of give them a little spanking on the tongue. That sounds terrible, but all it is is a drop of Tabasco sauce. It stings for a little bit, but it goes away, but hopefully the memory will stay with them for long enough that they go, 'You know what, lying, this is not worth it.' Or perhaps instead of something addressing the negative behavior, you see that this is becoming an issue and it really is something that needs to have a reward or an incentive for telling the truth. You can set up some kind of incentive program, maybe put their dollars worth of allowance into dimes in a jar and every time they tell the truth, the dime goes into the allowance jar and every time you catch them in a lie, the dime goes back into the other jar. And at the end of the week they get to keep whatever is left. Perhaps its a story such Peter and the Wolf that helps them to understand why they shouldn't be lying. The other topical index will give them the Bible verses so you're not just saying, Well, I'm the mom and I don't want you lying to me. You can say, Look, this is what the Bible says about lying. God created the world and he says this is what makes life work, and if you lie, life doesn't work. There's a lot of different ways to address the same issue, depending on your child and your situation.

What I liked was the scriptures you give. You have a whole chapter called 'toolbox' where people can look up something on anger or arguing or cheating, and you have scriptures listed under the topics.

I think we forgot that God wrote the Bible for his children. There is a lot of really specific things he has to say about what his children may encounter. For those of us who haven't memorized the Bible and don't have the time to just go to the concordance and look it up, I wanted this to be easy. These are just normal things that we are going to encounter every day with our children. Like you said, cheating, complaining, whining, lying, diligence, sibling conflict. All those things, those issues, all the work has already been done for those parents. All they have to do is just look at it, then they can just say, This is what God says, and I believe him, and I want what's best for you and this is what He says is best for you.

You also have a chapter that deals with prayer. You list prayers specifically dealing with certain issues.

That toolbox is at the end of the grace and failure chapter. And I talk about when our children fail and we fail, we need to look at that as not such as terrible thing. That is an opportunity to teach them about Gods grace, that's an opportunity to teach them how to go to the Lord because this is obviously an issue that they cant do in their own strength. And they need to reach out to the Lord in his strength. And the prayers are written from the child's perspective so the child can say, Lord, I'm sorry that I was disrespectful to my mom or my dad, please help me to respect them. I know that you have given them to me to protect me and I want to submit to them. Its just written in the child's words so that he can learn how to pray and go to the Lord with his weaknesses.

Were you raised as a Christian? And where you raised by a mom who was creative?

My mom is very creative. I tell you, my mom is such a great, wonderful grandmother, too. So this comes naturally. You know I became a Christian when I was ten and came out to California when I was twelve. So I knew at ten that my life was about not only serving the Lord as his child, but also I knew my life was going to be about using whatever platform I had to draw others to the Lord.

So you knew you wanted to have a Christian lifestyle.

Absolutely. And I think that's why, you know a lot of people say, Well, how did you turn out so good when other child stars didn't? And that's the main difference. I knew what my life was about before I ever become a child star and I think that a lot of young people that suddenly have the money, the fame and the freedom to choose anything they want and look down any path they want ... they walk down some dangerous paths, and its hard to turn around and come back.





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