The Educational Dilemma – Sam Sorbo
The Educational Dilemma – Sam Sorbo
From modeling, to acting … to caretaking. Sam Sorbo’s life was turned upside down when her fiancé’s health took an unexpected turn. Sorbo discusses her career, her love story, her faith and her mission as an education activist with host Charles Mizrahi.
- Experiences in Modeling (00:01:53)
- An Acting Career (00:07:33)
- A Love Story (00:10:40)
- Health Scare (00:13:36)
- Faith & Choices (00:22:22)
- From Atheism to Christianity (00:30:44)
- “Your Thoughts Are Your Life” (00:37:16)
- A Physical Battle (00:43:11)
- Marriage & Giving (00:52:12)
- Homeschooling (00:59:46)
- The Educational Dilemma (01:06:39)
- A More Dangerous Virus (01:24:17)
- Liberating Others (01:31:40)
- Final Thoughts (01:35:14)
Sam Sorbo was an established model and actress when she was faced with a difficult choice: advance in her career, or act as caretaker for the love of her life? Despite choosing the latter, her career is still thriving. Today, Sorbo acts, runs a website, SamSorbo.com, and hosts her own radio show, The Sam Sorbo Show. She is also an avid homeschool advocate and education activist.
Before You Leave:
Charles Mizrahi: Sam, welcome. Thanks so much for joining me today. I really, really appreciate it.
Sam Sorbo: Thanks for having me.
Charles Mizrahi: OK, so, first of all, how did you get the name “Sam”?
Sam Sorbo: I was the fourth of four girls and my mother named me Sandra, and then immediately decided that that sounded affected. And so, I went through a couple of iterations, but she almost immediately started calling me “Sam.” I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because they wanted a boy — I don’t know! But I went through a couple iterations, and when I started modeling, there was already a “Sandy” and already a “Sandra.” So, I said, “OK, I’ll go with my nickname.” It was either that or “Pumpkin Head.” And I think I chose well.
Charles Mizrahi: You chose wisely. Good move.
Charles Mizrahi: So, you grew up in Pittsburgh, right? You went to school in Pittsburgh. You go to high school, and then where do you go?
Sam Sorbo: Well, at the end of high school — for my senior year — I was a foreign exchange student, so I went to Sweden.
Charles Mizrahi: Nice.
Sam Sorbo: I came back and went to college, and then decided that I really liked learning languages. So, I took a year off from college, and went to Paris and modeled and learned French.
Charles Mizrahi: Modeling … I know — just from a friend of mine, my workout partner — was a male model. This guy was gorgeous. And my kids always said that I had a “man crush” on him, which maybe was true … Well, it was true. So, anyway, he was a really swell guy.
Sam Sorbo: It takes a big man to admit that!
Charles Mizrahi: No, I’m telling you … When he’d call, they knew I was on the phone with him. He’s a really good guy from Australia. I don’t want to mention his name, but he’s a pretty famous guy.
Charles Mizrahi: And he told me, first of all, for men, modeling is a cool business. It’s great. You get a lot of attention, and it’s really super. But for a woman … He says, “I would never let my daughter be a model.” Why is that? Why would he say something like that? What was your experience on that? Even close?
Sam Sorbo: It’s an extraordinary business. There are great upsides, and there are huge downsides. And so, I understand him saying that … I would choose to think that I would raise my daughter with the correct morals and just foundational tenets to be able to withstand the pressures. But there are great pressures within the industry. And I did see it happen. And I was very lucky, or blessed — however you want to look at it.
Sam Sorbo: I was on a film shoot in the Seychelle Islands, which are islands on the eastern off the eastern coast of Africa. Absolutely beautiful. And the editor who was running the shoot — she was the head honcho, she was in charge. She was an older woman, and she was having a five-day migraine or whatever. And she was very unpleasant.
Sam Sorbo: And so, at one point, the hairdresser said to me, “Don’t bring the punch.”
Sam Sorbo: I was like, “What?”
Sam Sorbo: He said, “Don’t drink the punch. We want to get the stylist high, so we spiked the punch with ecstasy. But I know you don’t do drugs, so don’t drink it.” And I just thought that was amazing. And I look back on that and I go, “Wow.” I either had a protecting angel, or I gave off a vibe that said, “Don’t mess with me, because I’m not doing that stuff.”
Sam Sorbo: So, if you have a young woman who is easily influenced … then, yeah, the business will be a minefield, and she will probably end up losing parts of herself. Luckily, that never happened to me. I was very strong-willed. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a lot of respect for the business when I started. I grew to respect it a little bit later. I didn’t realize what I had when I had it, you know? And so later on I went, “Oh, if you approach it as a business, there’s a lot you can do with that.”
Charles Mizrahi: So, you went to you went to Duke University, right?
Sam Sorbo: Yes.
Charles Mizrahi: You’re pretty smart. That’s cool. So, you went to Duke University for biomedical engineering … and then you end up being a model? How’d that work out?
Sam Sorbo: So, I quit modeling to go to university. And while I was at university, I realized that with modeling, I could have everything except biomedical engineering. But if I went to the university, I could have just biomedical engineering, basically. Because biomedical engineering is what? It’s a pathway to medical school, to residency, to specialization … It’s like a 12-year program where you basically have blinders on, and that’s all you do.
Sam Sorbo: And so, it was sort of this proposition of: “Do I want just that, or everything else — plus a very lucrative career?” And so, I then left university and went back to modeling at that point. And my dean used to write to me and say, “You know, a biomedical engineering degree is a really good thing to have just in case…” You know, that kind of thing. But, yeah, that was one of those decisions. It was really a binary choice.
Charles Mizrahi: After modeling, you went into acting? How did that transpire? You’re doing modeling, you’re going all around the world, you’re learning a whole bunch of languages, having a great time, making bucks … How do you slide into acting?
Sam Sorbo: Well, it’s fairly natural progression. When you’re modeling, you get sent on TV commercials. And eventually, the TV commercials are requiring you to put a little bit more effort into it. And so, I’ll be honest, I had always wanted to act. I wanted to act in high school, and I was tall … which didn’t get me the good parts, because the boys were short. And they were very discouraging.
Sam Sorbo: “Nobody succeeds as an actress. Nobody succeeds who just decides to go and act.” Which is kind of funny, because one of the girls who graduated a few years ahead of me at my high school is actually a very successful actress in Hollywood right now … But of course, I didn’t have that example to go on. And so, I was discouraged away from it.
Sam Sorbo: And, you know, you have to go to college and you have to get a degree and you have to get a career … and then you can consider the fun stuff, the family, marriage, kids, acting — the hobby stuff. And that’s sort of the environment that I grew up in. So, it wasn’t really a respected thing, which is why, when I started modeling, I didn’t really respect it. Which is silly. Because if you can make a lot of money doing something, as long as it’s ethical, that should be respected! We live in this kind of economy.
Charles Mizrahi: So, you went to acting. You liked it, you did well in it … One thing I saw was Chicago Hope.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Charles Mizrahi: What was your steady gig?
Sam Sorbo: That was my first real steady gig. I did 10 episodes of Chicago Hope — a half season, about. But at the time, I mean … My very first movie was with Morgan Freeman, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith … It was a huge movie! I had a tiny little role. I basically got cut out…
Charles Mizrahi: Which movie was it?
Sam Sorbo: The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Charles Mizrahi: Oh, wow. A couple A-listers and you, hobnobbing.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. And then when I moved to L.A., my first role was opposite Brad Pitt — who wasn’t Brad Pitt at the time … You know, he had yet to be “discovered.” But he taught me a great acting lesson. And so, when I started acting … It was slow-going at first, but I was still modeling. The modeling was paying me very well. Pretty soon, I had to turn down modeling jobs because of acting jobs. And that’s when you know you’ve made the transition.
Charles Mizrahi: You go whole hog into acting, you’re having a great career … And then what happens? How do you end up in New Zealand?
Sam Sorbo: Oh, well, I got cast on a show in New Zealand called Hercules. It was the No. 1 show in the world at the time — although I didn’t really know that. I just knew that it was a popular show and I got a role and it was a free trip to New Zealand … And what’s not to love? And, in fact, I went down there and immediately fell in love with the star of the show — Hercules.
Charles Mizrahi: Who became your husband, huh?
Sam Sorbo: He did. He couldn’t resist me, I like to say.
Charles Mizrahi: Wow, great!
Sam Sorbo: That’s a really great love story that you can read in … Actually, I think it’s in both books. It’s in his first book, True Strength. And then, our book together was True Faith. It came out earlier this year. And it’s a pretty cool story…
Sam Sorbo: I believe that certain things are meant to be and it was just like fireworks right away — it was just a beautiful thing. I’d been praying about it. And I wanted to get married. I wanted to find the man … And I wasn’t finding him in L.A. And I was struggling with that, because I knew what I wanted and I couldn’t figure it out. And I finally sent a prayer up to God and I said, “OK, God, I get it. I’m going to have to compromise. But tell me what the compromise is, because I can’t figure it out. Is he going to be short? Is he going to be insecure? Is he going to be stupid? Like what what’s the compromise, God? I’ll make it. I’ll do it … whatever it is.”
Sam Sorbo: And then I went down and met this guy who was like the man of my dreams. He was incredible — so good-looking and so smart and so talented and so successful … If you had a list — just check, check, check, check. So, I was just counting my lucky stars. And he loved me! Add that to the mix. And we dated, and we got engaged … And I was on cloud nine.
Sam Sorbo: And I was trying to figure out how to make my career work — because I was a career woman, raised to get a career — with the marriage. We set a date for our wedding and we were making plans, and I was still trying to figure out how to juggle that because he lived in New Zealand and I lived in L.A. So, for the future — the near future, anyway — I would have to be going back and forth. What would that look like? What if I had to call back? All of that stuff. And then, he had three strokes and ended up in intensive care.
Charles Mizrahi: You mean three strokes in one shot?
Sam Sorbo: Three strokes in one shot. He had an aneurysm in his shoulder…
Charles Mizrahi: One second … Everything was going great, and then how’d he have a stroke? He was just walking or talking — an average day — and then he just strokes?
Sam Sorbo: He had had pain down his left arm for some time. He’s an athlete, so it was sort of like … First, you shrug it off. Then you see some doctors, and the doctors tell you, “You have an ulna nerve that could be causing the problem.” And they didn’t think it was anything. I mean, if you see photos of him from that time, he looks like the picture of health. And they believed the look. And, mind you, he’s going 100 miles an hour because he’s promoting his new movie and the show’s a hit and he’s traveling and doing publicity and all that stuff…
Sam Sorbo: So, he had one doctor come to the hotel and say, “Well, I think it’s circulatory. Here’s some beta-blockers.” And we looked at that, and we weren’t into drugs. So, it was sort of like, “Really, you’re just going to give him some drugs but not really know what the issue is?” And the guy sounded like kind of a just a loser. Like, “What does he know? Everyone else is saying, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ And he says it’s something serious with your heart or whatever. Like, what’s that about?” And by the way, his name was Dr. Di.
Charles Mizrahi: D-Y-E, or D-I-E? How did you spell his name?
Sam Sorbo: I don’t remember, but it wasn’t “D-I-E.” Still, it was not inspiring confidence…
Sam Sorbo: Anyway, Kevin eventually went and saw a chiropractor because the arm was so painful. He would see this chiropractor every so often in L.A.
Charles Mizrahi: How old was Kevin at this point?
Sam Sorbo: Thirty-six.
Charles Mizrahi: So, 36-year-old guy, prime of his career, Hercules, well-built … Is there a picture of him? I know my kids used to watch the show, because I told them I was interviewing you, and they said they watched it and they go, “Oh, Sorbo? Related to Kevin?” I go, “I think that this is his wife.” So they said, “Dad, the show was great!” So, they used to watch it. I think it was in the 90s, right?
Sam Sorbo: Oh, it’s still airing. They can still catch it!
Charles Mizrahi: I don’t think they’re still watching it now.
Sam Sorbo: It was the late 90s, yep.
Charles Mizrahi: I know they were watching it then! So, he’s 36 years old, just got married…
Sam Sorbo: No, no…
Charles Mizrahi: You’re not married yet?
Sam Sorbo: Nope.
Charles Mizrahi: OK, so he goes to the chiropractor. What happens?
Sam Sorbo: We’re engaged, and he decides to go to see a chiropractor because it’s just really bugging him, that shoulder. And the pain has gradually gotten worse. And the chiropractor finds a lump, and he starts palpating the lump. It’s soft but it doesn’t move, and the chiropractor’s like, “I don’t know what’s going on here. And then, the chiropractor does the thing that — in eight years — he’s never done, because he knows Kevin doesn’t like it.
Sam Sorbo: And while Kevin’s on the table, Kevin hears a voice that says, “Don’t let him crack your neck.” And he starts arguing with the voice because the chiropractor’s never — in eight years — grabbed his neck, and the chiropractor cracks his neck. And the neck crack forced the clots that had been forming here to go upstream.
Sam Sorbo: Now, mind you, at the time we were diagnosing all of this and trying to figure it out, we did not we did not know that. And there was some hard science saying that that couldn’t possibly happen. But there were about half the doctors who did believe that that’s what happened. But in any case, when the clots went upstream, they got into the brain. And so, within 15 minutes, Kevin was in his car driving. At that point, he suffered his first stroke … or two.
Sam Sorbo: And he called me and he said, “I don’t know what just happened. The whole world went haywire. It’s like an electrical storm in my brain, and I can’t figure it out. And I feel like I’m in an aquarium and I’m not seeing straight. I mean, I see OK, but there’s something that’s seriously wrong and I can’t figure it out.” And I offered to come pick him up and he said, “No, no I’m getting better. It’s better.” Luckily, he’d been in traffic — you know, L.A. traffic is so slow-moving — so he could pull over to call me.
Sam Sorbo: And then he got back on the road and he drove to my apartment and he was supposed to go do an interview, and the publicist pressured him into going despite his migraine and feeling really bad. So, he actually did an interview after suffering his first strokes. And then the next day, he stroked right in front of me and slurred his speech. And I said, “We’re going to the hospital now.” And he thought that he was dying — which, he was to a certain degree. I mean, they saved his life.
Sam Sorbo: But back to the reason that I was telling this story, I was faced with a choice — another binary choice. My career, or my marriage?
Charles Mizrahi: Hang on a second … So, 36-year-old guy, third stroke … You get him to the hospital?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah.
Charles Mizrahi: You take him to the hospital. And you’re thinking, what, “Is something serious?”
Sam Sorbo: I’ve got to tell you, a 230-pound-guy leaning on me as we walk into the hospital … That was tough. And he’s thinking, “But God, I thought I was going to be able to have a family. This doesn’t seem fair.”
Charles Mizrahi: But you know this is something really serious at this point, right? You have an inkling.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah, yeah.
Charles Mizrahi: And he knows something really bad is happening.
Sam Sorbo: Oh, yeah.
Charles Mizrahi: You get to the hospital, they take him … and what happens then?
Sam Sorbo: Well, I had been a volunteer at that hospital for several years, and so when I brought him in, I knew everybody. And we also called his GP who told them that he was coming in.
Sam Sorbo: They brought him back to a room, and they started just a barrage of tests on him. And luckily, I was very much at home in that environment, even though it was the love of my life who was going through this. So, I managed to navigate that with him. They admitted him. They continued to do the tests the following day. They still didn’t know what was going on.
Sam Sorbo: I believe that they didn’t believe me when I told them that he was stroking, because by the time we got to the hospital, his speech had resolved. And so, he was speaking OK. But I told them that he wasn’t actually speaking to his ability prior to the stroke. So, he was still a little slurry. But the normal person couldn’t hear it in him.
Sam Sorbo: And it took until — I think it was — the following afternoon. They did a Doppler on his arm, which was testing the circulation patterns. And I remember, I was sitting there, and the gal said, “OK, well, that seems fine. You know what? They haven’t asked for it, but I’m going to do the other side just for kicks and giggles.”
Sam Sorbo: So, the body is actually constructed in a very binary way, and so if one system fails, there’s a backup system. And so, you have two main arteries. And the main artery seemed to be fine. But the secondary artery, the one that she went to next — which they hadn’t asked her to check — was completely occluded. There was no pulse whatsoever. And that was what was precipitating … So, he had cold hands, he had loss of circulation in his fingers — they were turning blue.
Sam Sorbo: And so that’s what finally keyed everybody in. It is circulatory. Dr. Di was right — although, not necessarily with the beta-blockers … But it was circulatory. And then you have the cascade of all of the conclusions that you can draw. And so, they immediately set him up and sent him to intensive care and started dealing with that.
Charles Mizrahi: You’re engaged, and this guy is really, really having a tough time here. And so, what’s going through your head?
Sam Sorbo: I had faith. I don’t know why I had faith.
Charles Mizrahi: Faith that what? That everything was going to be OK? Or it just the way it should be, and we’re going to get through this even though he’s lying on the hospital bed and it’s looking really terrible?
Sam Sorbo: I had one crisis of faith. When they brought him back from one surgery and he started to shake violently. And the nurse — male nurse — screamed, “We’ve got to get him back to the O.R. or we’re going to lose him!”
Sam Sorbo: That was my one crisis. And I ran to the bank of phones, called the doctor, his GP, who I trusted — who was magnificent through all of this, I have to say — and I told him, and he just reassured me and said, “Sam, he’s in the best care there. They know what they’re doing.” And then I realized that there was nothing that he could do, and that it really was in God’s hands more than anything else. And so, I just basically hit my knees and started praying.
Charles Mizrahi: In the hospital — right there and then?
Sam Sorbo: Oh, yeah. And by the time I walked back to the intensive care room, he had stabilized. They told me that they gave him Benadryl. I don’t know if that’s true, but what I but what I realized much later was that he had a panic and anxiety attack — the debilitating kind where you just start shaking violently. Your adrenaline gets pumped through you. And I will say that nobody told us that that’s what was happening, and that that would continue to happen for years. Because he had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and that’s a typical response of the brain — to not be able to regulate the adrenaline like it used to. It took us months to figure that out.
Charles Mizrahi: How old were you for all that?
Sam Sorbo: I was very young.
Charles Mizrahi: Very young.
Sam Sorbo: I’m not telling.
Charles Mizrahi: Let’s say you’re younger than him…
Sam Sorbo: Substantially younger than him.
Charles Mizrahi: Substantially younger. And in your whole life, everything is going great. You kept falling forward. And life’s just absolutely phenomenal. You were modeling, and then you were acting. You’re marrying the leading man. And here you are in a hospital room on your knees. And it looks like it’s almost over. What pulled you through? When you say faith, what pulled you through? You just knew that it was going to be good and everything was going to work out?
Sam Sorbo: So, I don’t have a good explanation for that. I had found the man of my dreams, and there was no way that I was going to lose him now. That’s silly. Don’t be ridiculous. This is what I prayed about. This is what I envision for myself. He’s perfect. I’m going to get that, and it’s all going to work. I can’t explain it, but I will say this…
Sam Sorbo: When he was in intensive care, I landed the best acting job ever. And the reason I say that is because it was so easy — not to get it, but it would have been such an easy thing to do. It was a national network television commercial.
Sam Sorbo: So, it’s a short shoot — three days — for ice cream. My favorite thing ever. If I had to pick what kind of commercial I would want to do, it would be ice cream.
Charles Mizrahi: It doesn’t get better than that.
Sam Sorbo: No, seriously. And they’d fly me to New York — first class, all expenses paid. And then the money for that is outrageous because it’s a national network spot, and it’ll just continue to air. And I mean, it was just the be-all and end-all. And I walked into intensive care and I asked Kevin if he wanted me to not go, and he said, “Yes, I want you not to go.” Because I was literally all he had.
Charles Mizrahi: He had no family — nobody?
Sam Sorbo: No. Part of that’s my fault. His parents offered to come out, and I said, “Please don’t.” Because I didn’t think that I could handle it all. That was a mistake. I should have had them come out and just figured it out.
Charles Mizrahi: What do you mean? You said to them, “Don’t come.” Why?
Sam Sorbo: I didn’t think that I could handle them and everything at the hospital at the same time.
Charles Mizrahi: What was the problem?
Sam Sorbo: Well, first of all, I thought it was all going to work out. He’s the strongest man in the world.
Charles Mizrahi: Hercules.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. This will resolve itself.
Sam Sorbo: And he was talking … Yeah, he was stuck in intensive care and he wasn’t allowed to move because he was going to bleed out because they were filling him with blood thinners out the wazoo. But they weren’t terribly savvy. And so, if they had come to L.A., I would have been caretaking them, in a sense, and I just didn’t want anything else on my plate. I was very focused on getting this guy through this crisis. So, he talked to them, but they didn’t visit. And his support team just didn’t show up. His agent, his manager … They just came for one visit and then they were like, “Well, we’ll see you on the flip side or whatever.”
Charles Mizrahi: I don’t know how old you are here, but this is all on a young lady’s shoulders — a model and an actress whose life was pretty good. Life is really good for you … and here you are dealing with this crisis. You’re telling your parents to stay out. You’re dealing with your fiancé who doesn’t look well here, and you’re making all these big decisions. And you said it’s your faith that pulled you through.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah, they were pretty big decisions. And I didn’t realize how big the decisions were until months later when I was hearing Kevin tell the story and he’s getting it wrong, and I’m like, “Wow, he seriously didn’t understand what was going on.” I thought we were making decisions together — like I was assisting him in making decisions. And there were some big decisions to make.
Sam Sorbo: But back to going into the intensive care room and asking him if he didn’t want me to take the job … When he said he didn’t, I said, “Oh, that’s the compromise. I just give up my career.” And it was like that. And it fit. It was perfect. It was a binary choice. And so, part of what I talk about to young parents and families is that you need to boil things down to a binary choice.
Sam Sorbo: The lie that young women are sold is that they can have it all. You can’t, because you’re going to sacrifice something along the way. So, I want people to understand: Things can be boiled down to binary choices, where you do one thing and you don’t do the other thing. Or you figure out how to put one thing forward, and then do the other thing maybe on the side. But don’t think that you’re going to do both things at the same time. Because multitasking is not a reality.
Charles Mizrahi: Right.
Charles Mizrahi: You were raised in a faith-based family, or this is something you found on your own?
Sam Sorbo: I was not raised in a faith-based family. I was raised as an atheist-Jew who only celebrated Christmas and Easter … Figure that out!
Charles Mizrahi: No, I’m not going to try. But. OK, so your family had very little in the way of religion — especially the Jewish religion. There was nothing there, right?
Sam Sorbo: Not especially the Jewish religion — actually, of any religion. We had a little bit of Judaism because I went to Saturday school up until about 12 years old. But I will say, in the reformed synagogues, I think that they’ve adopted the cultural attitude about the Bible — that the Bible is a series of fairy tales.
Charles Mizrahi: Well, I’m not going to fight you on that. So, where do you start to believe more and become more faith-based?
Sam Sorbo: When I succeeded in my career. So, I was traveling all around the world, I was making a ton of money … I had arrived. But for all intents and purposes, I had achieved what had been set out for me to achieve, which was career and money. I was self-sustaining — I could support myself. And I went. So, this is it? Like that was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.
Sam Sorbo: I mean, when I was in school, I was working on an ulcer. Because, basically, I was raised by a single mom who had never graduated college. And so, that’s why we had such a focus on getting your education, so that you could support yourself. So, once I was supporting myself and doing it very, very well, I was like, “OK, so, now what?”
Sam Sorbo: And so, I went on a search for the meaning of life, and I discovered that there’s order in the universe. And if there’s order, then there’s an order maker. Because everything that we know is that things naturally devolve into chaos — entropy. And therefore, if there is order, there is an order provider.
Sam Sorbo: And that turns out to be God, strangely. You might want to call Him something else — like “spirit” — but it’s God.
Charles Mizrahi: And how old are you when this happens?
Sam Sorbo: Early 20s.
Charles Mizrahi: And what did you do? You went on a search on religions, or you read a book?
Sam Sorbo: Well, I read a ton of books, and then I started attending religious services. And I finally ended up at church.
Charles Mizrahi: Where were you attending religious services? You were going around shopping religions?
Sam Sorbo: Well, I started with Judaism. I went to synagogue several times. The rabbi was brilliant and I really enjoyed it. There was a little bit of a barrier for entry in the synagogues. You had to be a member, or you had to be accompanied by a member — that kind of thing. And so, it didn’t quite resonate with me. So, I’m looking for a house of worship so that I can worship God. And so, the synagogues that I went to with my friends were nice, and there was a barrier to entry, basically.
Sam Sorbo: So, I reached out to another friend who I knew was Christian. I said, “Do you go to church?” And she looked at me kind of cross-eyed because people don’t ask that question — but they should. And she said, “Yes, I do.” Because she had just found a new church that she liked. And I said, “Would you be willing to let me accompany you one day?” And she’s like, “Well, sure, if you want.”.
Sam Sorbo: And so, I went to church, and I really liked it. I liked the service. I liked the pastor.
Charles Mizrahi: What resonated with you? What called to your soul?
Sam Sorbo: Well, two things. The music was phenomenal. Very uplifting, very fulfilling … You felt like you were among friends. There was a joy in the atmosphere. People really enjoyed worship. And then, the pastor spoke like a regular human being about things that were happening in the culture, and about how the Bible tells us we should be behaving about those kinds of things. And so it was relevant and biblical at the same time, and I found that to be very encouraging. And I always left service feeling like I could be a better person now that I knew the things that the pastor had shared. So, it was very inspirational for me.
Sam Sorbo: I still didn’t believe in Jesus because I was raised as a Jew, and Jesus was just “some nice guy.” But in church, I discovered God. Or I suppose God found me there. Not that I was lost to him — I found God there, whatever. And so, I started attending that church religiously, even if my girlfriend wasn’t going.
Sam Sorbo: And the funny thing is … The story that she told at my wedding was that when I asked her to take me to church, she had left her church because she felt that the church was telling her that she had to go evangelize people, and she wasn’t comfortable going and saying, “Hey, you need God!” or “You need Jesus!” or whatever. So, she had stopped going to church, and only recently had decided to go back and had found this really wonderful church. And so, when I asked her if she would take me to church, she was sort of like, “Well, God, if that’s what you meant … I mean, I can do that.”
Charles Mizrahi: That was a layup for her! That was pretty simple.
Charles Mizrahi: So, take me back now. Kevin is, at this point, stable? Getting better? What’s happening by that point?
Sam Sorbo: Well, they discharged from the hospital and sent him back to work. So, he went back to work to shoot a movie in Atlanta, and he collapsed on the set because he had had three strokes. And at Cedars-Sinai, they did not do the necessary research to prevent his collapse. Because if they had done a follow-up MRI — and I want people to know … The initial MRI was done within hours of the events. And MRIs don’t show the events until about three days after the events. So, his initial MRI came back clean, so they didn’t believe that he had had strokes.
Sam Sorbo: They sent him back to work and he collapsed on set.
Charles Mizrahi: They discharge him. He goes back to work. How long after does he collapse?
Sam Sorbo: About a week — maybe less.
Charles Mizrahi: A week later. What happens then?
Sam Sorbo: He collapsed because he had another panic and anxiety attack — which, we didn’t know what that was. So, he’s shaking on the ground — uncontrollably — feeling like he’s dying again. And they put him in an ambulance to take him to the hospital in Atlanta. And they call me and say, “We just took your fiancé to the hospital in Atlanta.” And I get on a plane within hours.
Charles Mizrahi: What are you thinking at this point? Do you think it’s going to be the end?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. Now, I’m severely concerned. But I’m going to go fix things. I need to go over there and fix things.
Charles Mizrahi: So, hang on … Your fiancé is taken to the hospital. A week after everything, he’s taken again. You hop on a plane. What are you thinking? This is back in the day when there wasn’t any Wi-Fi. So, you’re on the plane for four or five hours. You have no idea what’s happening.
Sam Sorbo: Right.
Charles Mizrahi: Are you thinking your worst fears at this point?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. I was panicked … and I was prayerful.
Charles Mizrahi: What does that mean? Tell me how that works.
Sam Sorbo: I was just asking for a miracle.
Sam Sorbo: Here’s the thing. I believe that our thoughts — I wrote this the other day … Life is not what you think. Your thoughts are your life.
Charles Mizrahi: What does that mean to me?
Sam Sorbo: I make an effort to control my thoughts. So, I don’t catastrophize and I don’t think of all the negative things that can possibly happen unless it’s for a reason. Unless it’s like, “I need to prepare because this might happen, so let me think about the worst-case scenario and what I will do then.” But it’s sort of a controlled environment. So, if I can help it, I don’t just allow — which it’s difficult to do — my thoughts to run rampant and put me into a tailspin.
Sam Sorbo: So, I was thinking positive thoughts. I was saying, “OK, I’m going to get there and we’ll take care of this and I’ll talk to the doctors and I’ll figure this out.” But I mean, to be perfectly honest, I was I was panicked. I don’t really remember.
Sam Sorbo: I remember calling my girlfriend and saying, “Can you water my plants?” You know what I mean? Like, I do remember being in panic mode getting packed, and the nervous anxiety for getting on the plane and everything.
Charles Mizrahi: You’re on autopilot. You’re just going through the motions — you’re not thinking.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah, really.
Charles Mizrahi: So, you get on a plane, rush to the hospital … And then what?
Sam Sorbo: Well, by the time I got there, I guess they had the MRI results back — or they were getting them back. I was there when the doctor came in and he said, “So, your MRI shows that you’ve had three strokes.”
Sam Sorbo: And Kevin’s like, “Yeah.”
Sam Sorbo: And the doctor said, “You’ve had three strokes. You should not be working. You need to rest.” And that’s when it was sort of like, “Well, that makes perfect sense.” But Cedars had never done the follow-up MRI.
Charles Mizrahi: That’s what scares me. That’s what scares me.
Sam Sorbo: Well, yeah.
Charles Mizrahi: I’m in New York. We have the greatest hospitals in the world. Cedars-Sinai, L.A. — phenomenal. All the celebrities … They have any everyone who’s anyone there. Such a great hospital. And you know what you’re doing, right? They have a caretaker who is pretty intelligent managing this care … and they screw up. And it always it freaks me out.
Charles Mizrahi: My wife’s a pharmacist, and she’s the medical person in the house. So, she knows all this stuff. When my father was in the hospital, she was the point person. I’m terrible at that. Doctors tell us something. Whatever they say, I don’t even think twice. And she asks a million questions. We found that so many conflicting stories — this doctor didn’t know that — and all sorts of problems could happen, which, thank God, she averted.
Charles Mizrahi: And here you are at Cedars-Sinai managing his care. Great hospital … And still they screwed up.
Sam Sorbo: Well, like I said, because I had volunteered there…
Charles Mizrahi: Oh, and you volunteered there! And you’re comfortable, and you know the people … With all of that, they still screwed up.
Sam Sorbo: Well, that’s because I didn’t know that the MRI wouldn’t show. So, I thought, “Yes, he’s had three strokes, but there’s no damage.”
Charles Mizrahi: But it’s not for you to make that call!
Sam Sorbo: Of course not. So, you want the follow-up story? So, Kevin quit the movie, sadly. That was very hard for him to sort of admit defeat — or temporary defeat. And he walked away from that. And we went back to L.A., and started to reorganize so that he could get the proper care and make a recovery. And we went back to see the head neurologist at Cedars. And Kevin said to him, point-blank, “Why did you send me back to work?” And the neurologist said, “Well, I mean, you’re Hercules!”
Charles Mizrahi: Get out of here.
Sam Sorbo: And, I swear to God, Kevin goes, “You know that’s a TV show, right?”
Charles Mizrahi: He couldn’t have meant that.
Sam Sorbo: No, he did! He was like, “Well, I just assumed that you would be able to beat this thing.”
Charles Mizrahi: “Beat this thing?”
Sam Sorbo: But seriously, they hadn’t done the necessary testing. And I honestly don’t know what he was smoking the day that he said, “Yeah, just release him! It’ll be fine.” The fact was, they couldn’t do anything more for him except maybe say, “You shouldn’t go back to work, you should take some time off.”
Sam Sorbo: We went to USC Medical, and the doctor there said, “You need to take some time off.” And so, we did. And I basically stopped working — because that was the decision that I had made — and started taking care of him.
Sam Sorbo: And I said to him, you have three areas that you have to address. You have to address the physical, which you’ve done, but you’re going to go to physical therapy. That was crazy because they’ve never seen a 36-year-old needing stroke care, you know what I mean? They were used to octogenarians. So, they’d give them an exercise and tell him to do 20 and he’d do 180.
Charles Mizrahi: Were there any physical difficulties that he was having?
Sam Sorbo: Absolutely. He couldn’t walk straight.
Charles Mizrahi: So, he can’t walk straight, but he goes back to work?
Sam Sorbo: Yes.
Charles Mizrahi: I never went to medical school, but it just doesn’t sound right.
Sam Sorbo: No, he was dizzy all the time. He was constantly having a feeling of falling backward. He had lightning strikes in his field of vision that were incessant. So, it made it hard for him to go to sleep. He reacted very strongly to any loud noises or lights or any stimulus whatsoever. He really needed to be, in a sense, locked in a dark room. And instead, because he’s a type-A — he’s driven and he wanted to work — and the doctor said, “Sure, go to work,” he went back to work. And he never should have.
Sam Sorbo: And so, after that, we took about four months … When we first started, we would go for a long walk in the morning, and then he would spend the rest of the day drooling on the couch — like literally, completely incapacitated.
Sam Sorbo: And then I took him to physical therapy and they gave him some exercises — some hand-eye coordination exercises. “Throw the ball up in the air.” And because he was so driven, he would do 180, but that exercise alone would just lay him flat, because his brain would go: “No more. We’re done.”
Sam Sorbo: And then he developed the panic and anxiety attacks that would hit for no reason, and we had to figure those out. And he developed an allergy to MSG. So, unbeknownst to me, I was poisoning him when I fed him. It took us a year to figure that out because his symptoms were headache … They were all the same symptoms. So, once we figured that out, we cut the symptoms almost in half — maybe even more by then. So, yeah, he was severely debilitated.
Let’s put it this way. After four months, we decided that he should go back to work on Hercules. And frankly, the name of the show is Hercules. They couldn’t really do the show without him. They’d been very patient, and they didn’t want to lose the show. And so, when they brought him back…
Sam Sorbo: He had been working 16-hour days — maybe more — between being on set from start to finish every day, going to the gym for two hours, working on scripts every day, talking to the writers back in L.A. about the scripts and choreographing the fight scenes and preparing … So, he worked really nonstop. The first year of the show, it was six days a week.
Sam Sorbo: And so, when he went back to work, they got him for one hour a day. One hour on set a day. He couldn’t drive for at least two years. He lost 15% of his vision in both eyes. And that has not come back, but it’s an amazing thing — the brain’s capacity to heal. And so, the brain has figured out workarounds. But I’m sure that that contributed to his dizziness and nausea and the whole thing.
Sam Sorbo: I mean, I married a cripple, you know?
Charles Mizrahi: The greatest day of Kevin’s life was the day he met you.
Sam Sorbo: I think so.
Charles Mizrahi: Well, the facts … I don’t know what your relationship is like, but boy, oh boy — where would he be without you?
Sam Sorbo: I became his cheerleader. And he gets negative — he gets down — during this time, and I’m there saying to him, “Yeah, you’re right. It’s crap. But what are you going to do about it now? And we’ll push forward.”
Charles Mizrahi: What pushes you through? You’re supporting him, but what’s pushing you? You must wake up some mornings and feel terrible.
Sam Sorbo: No! I got what I wanted. I got the man of my dreams. And I said to him — and this is in his book, too, actually… We were in bed one night. And he was making a recovery. The first year was brutal because he didn’t believe that he was going to recover. But I always did.
Charles Mizrahi: Were you guys married at this point?
Sam Sorbo: We got married four months into his recovery. So, he had strokes the day that Princess Di died in September, and we got married the following January. And God bless him, the neurologist is the one who said to us, “I never put life on hold for an illness.”
Sam Sorbo: And I thought, “Yeah, that’s right. We’re going to start this life together.” So, we did.
Charles Mizrahi: So, your first couple of years of marriage, you were basically his aide.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah, I was his cheerleader.
Charles Mizrahi: That’s very heavy. It’s very heavy for one person to shoulder.
Sam Sorbo: You know what? Love gets you through it.
Charles Mizrahi: I want to tell you something … I was just speaking to Governor Huckabee a couple of weeks ago. He and his wife were 18 years old — got married. A year and a half into the marriage, she has back problems. She was a dental hygienist. They didn’t know what it was, maybe because she leans over … Cancer of the spine. He nurses her back to health the next couple of years — at the same time going to school, holding a job and driving her, every day — two hours each way — back and forth to the hospital. He was 19-and-a-half years old.
Sam Sorbo: I didn’t know that, and I’ll tell you this. Everybody has a story, you know? We’ve entered into a cultural moment now where we’re so quick to judge based on one thing … And I’ll tell you, everybody has a story. So, we ought to be considering that before we speak too harshly about people.
Charles Mizrahi: So, your book, True Faith — you both wrote this book — is about this whole episode in your lives?
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. It’s about that and having children…
Sam Sorbo: You know, you said that I had the perfect life … I really didn’t. I had a lot of great things going on, and I had a lot of tragedy and trauma. And I balanced it. Because that’s what we do as October babies. But you must give thanks for the good times and the good things even when you’re going through the bad things. Because that’s what gives you hope.
Sam Sorbo: I think it’s Dennis Prager who brought this up — that the key ingredient for happiness is gratefulness.
Charles Mizrahi: That’s why we pray. That’s amazing.
Charles Mizrahi: So, you write this book … What’s the take away? If I want to have a better marriage, what am I learning from this book? What words of advice can you give anyone on how to have a better marriage after reading your book?
Sam Sorbo: Well, marriage is a dance. So, the idea is: There’s a give and a take. And if you dance together, it’s going to go better. So, you have to figure out who’s leading and who’s following and all of that. So, I guess the real main point is that marriage takes work. You have to be — what’s the word I’m looking for?
Charles Mizrahi: I don’t know if this is the word, but selfless. At times, you need to be selfless. It’s not about you.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah. I was going to say you have to be consequential. You have to be purposeful. It’s not just like you fall in love and then you’re married and everything’s fine. No, you have to be purposeful. So, if something’s bugging you, you need to be purposeful.
Sam Sorbo: And by the way, same thing with parenting. If there’s something with your kid that you’re not happy about or whatever, you need to take a moment and say, “Hey, come here. I need to speak with you.” Same thing with your spouse. “I need to speak with you. I want to work this out. And I need your help to work out because I think this is wrong, and I need to figure out how to fix it. And if you disagree that it’s wrong, please explain to me so that I can be OK with it too.” That kind of a thing. And it takes that commitment.
Sam Sorbo: I think that maybe that’s why a lot of marriages fail. They lose the love because they stop working on it, and then they go, “It’s not worth it. I’m better off alone.”
Charles Mizrahi: You know, it always gets me … So, I was part of a great team of people in our community. We formed an organization to help people with addiction. It’s one of the things I’m proudest of and happiest about. And we’ve helped thousands of people over the past 18 years.
Charles Mizrahi: Take the case of man, for example, who does drugs or is addicted to gambling or alcohol … When I see their houses and I look at their pictures, there’s usually a wedding picture out. And you look at the hope and the excitement and the love of life in both their eyes. And then you look at this guy sitting there destroying his life and his family’s life. His wife didn’t sign up for that. I always look and I say to myself, “How are you still here? How are you still with this guy?”
Sam Sorbo: She signed up for that. That is what she signed up for.
Charles Mizrahi: She’s like, “I’m not leaving.” Sometimes it happens to be that they just can’t stay together. They just drift so far apart, and for whatever reason … But it’s like I look at these people as superhuman. I really hope I’m never challenged that way, but it’s an amazing power that certain people have that look at their partner and say, “You know what? I’ll quit my job. I’m all you now.”
Sam Sorbo: Charles, I think that the key is to understand that we get from giving. And so, when we have the opportunity to give, we should be grateful for the opportunity to give.
Sam Sorbo: So, Kevin was well into his recovery. He wasn’t fully back, but we could see he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I said, “You know, there’s a reason to be grateful for this having happened. And part of that is: I don’t think we would have lasted if you hadn’t had the strokes.” Because he was going so fast, I couldn’t keep up. And, in fact, it nearly killed him. But I was smart enough to go, “This guy is going so fast and I’ve got to figure this out.” And that’s what was going on in my head: How am I going to balance the marriage and my career?
Sam Sorbo: I didn’t recognize it then, but it was really: How am I going to balance keeping up with this guy and staying sane? You know what I mean? And so, when it nearly killed him and I realized the thoughts that I was having about balancing him and career … You have to give stuff up. You have to be ready to make a sacrifice — even for yourself. You just have to recognize that sacrificing for somebody else is actually for yourself.
Sam Sorbo: If I can reference a Friends episode … Phoebe tries to give selflessly. And the problem is that she feels so good about doing the giving that they point out, “See, that wasn’t selfless!”
Charles Mizrahi: Because you gained something.
Sam Sorbo: Because you gained! And so, that’s what we ought to be teaching our children — how to give. Because there is extreme joy in the giving.
Sam Sorbo: Mike Huckabee never asked to be of service to his bride in that way. And I’m sure he would never wish that she were ill … But given the opportunity, look what a legacy he has now.
Sam Sorbo: The same with me! I mean, Kevin knows that I gave up my career. And the weird thing is that my career has come back tenfold … and I did nothing to deserve that. You know what I mean? But the whole thing’s been redeemed in the long run.
Charles Mizrahi: You were never resentful during any of that time? I’m giving up my career, I’ve got so many great things going on … You were never resentful during that time period when you were nursing Kevin back?
Sam Sorbo: No, not even close. No. When I was faced with that choice in the hospital, I recognized what I was choosing. And what I was choosing was so much better than a career that had left me wondering, “What is this all about? Why am I even bothering?”
And that’s the problem with our youth today. They’re taught nihilism, really. They’re taught that there is no God, they’re taught that there’s really no purpose because they’re just accidents of nature — Darwinism and all of that … survival of the fittest, which is the most brutal law to subscribe to. And that’s what we’re seeing playing out on our streets today, by the way, with the rioting and the looting. “I’m just going to take what’s mine.”
Sam Sorbo: Which is, by the way, the worst way to get something, right? Because then you’re resentful to the person who you stole from, and you’re resentful of yourself for having stolen it because you know you didn’t deserve it. And so, we’re basically fomenting this kind of nihilism in our culture today that is self-defeating.
Sam Sorbo: And so, you have these young people growing up and going, “Well, I don’t know why.” Now, with the lockdown, we’ve seen a 30% jump in suicides. Whose lives are we saving here?
Charles Mizrahi: OK, so you brought up a great point.
Sam Sorbo: I went off on a complete tangent!
Charles Mizrahi: No, I’m with you!
Charles Mizrahi: So, now you’re telling me, basically … Well, look, we have a society that’s basically a godless society — nihilism, survival of the fittest. That’s where we’re going. How do we change that? How do we change that whole society? I don’t know if it’s practical, but how do you just move it to the right?
Sam Sorbo: I love that you ask that. And for me, the solution is home education. The solution is for parents to understand you are sacrificing more than you can bear when you send your children into an institution to be educated. You’re sacrificing more than you will ever know. You will never know what sacrifice you’re making.
Sam Sorbo: The other day, I met another mom. I had my kids with me, and we were doing something. And she reached out to me a week later and she said, “By the way, I would love your thoughts on my kid.” Because her kids are basically the same ages as my kids. And one of them goes to boarding school, and the other two are at home doing distance learning on their laptops or whatever. And she’s struggling because she doesn’t know if they’re getting distracted or anything. And so, she said, “I would love your insights because I know you homeschool your kids. And I have to say, I was singularly impressed by your kids.”
Sam Sorbo: Because my relationship with my kids is like … golden!
Charles Mizrahi: But not everyone could do that … Not every parent. I’m not arguing, but…
Sam Sorbo: Not every parent can run a mile. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try running a mile.
Charles Mizrahi: OK, hang on a second…
Charles Mizrahi: A parent who has barely finished high school. Now she has three kids at home. She can’t homeschool, let’s say, because she’s a single parent. What does she do? Tell me how this is practical for her.
Sam Sorbo: Why are you giving me the anomaly?
Charles Mizrahi: OK, just address that. I’ll give you the other one. Because I don’t know what you’re going to tell me, but tell me how do you address that. How do you address that? Your mother was a single parent raising four girls?
Sam Sorbo: Yes.
Charles Mizrahi: OK, did she work?
Sam Sorbo: She worked, and then she got married … And then she worked again, and then she got married again.
Charles Mizrahi: She worked.
Sam Sorbo: But she didn’t homeschool us, which is not a good example for what we’re talking about.
Charles Mizrahi: No, wait. Hang on. I’m not making the case for home schooling. I’m just asking you…
Charles Mizrahi: The mother has to work — single parent. Just tell me how to solve that problem. You solve a lot of the other problems with homeschooling. Assume that. Tell me how you solve that problem.
Sam Sorbo: Either a co-op, or working from home. You know, school takes eight hours a day. Education only takes a couple. For younger kids, it’s two to three hours a day.
Charles Mizrahi: This lady’s a nurse. She works at a hospital. She works during the day…
Charles Mizrahi: I know you’ve got it and I’m with you … Just for those who are listening.
Charles Mizrahi: Because I want to tell you, I have five kids. My youngest now is 19. So, I’m past the school age of paying tuition. Thank God. And then again, what I got out of some of those private schools, I wish I had my money back.
Charles Mizrahi: But anyway, if I told my wife, “We’re going to homeschool these kids” and she says, “I don’t have the time of day” and I’m working full time … What is someone supposed to do who means well, but just can’t do it?
Sam Sorbo: You have a choice to make. You had the child. So, it’s up to you.
Sam Sorbo: So now, you’ve presented a second problem. And I can’t solve everybody’s problems for them. What I’m saying is that you have to prioritize, and your children ought to be the priority. So, you just say, “Well, I have to work.” Two-income households … I’m sorry, do you really have to work? “Well, we can’t afford a second car. We can’t afford this. We can’t afford that.” We’ve become so selfish. Devote yourself to your children and figure out how to get it done.
Yeah, OK. Single mom, and she’s a nurse. Maybe she does home care for people so that she has flexible hours.
Sam Sorbo: I talked to a guy who was a driver. He drove a limo. And his son was failing. And he said, “Wwell, I homeschooled for a year.” I said, “Oh, tell me more.” He changed his job to night shifts because his wife refused to do it. And so he worked nights, came home and schooled his young boy from seventh grade to ninth grade. The boy was going to have to repeat seventh. They did seventh and eighth in one year, and then he sent his kid back to school for ninth grade. I said, “Well, how is your relationship with your child?” And he said, “Well, it was rough going at the beginning, but we’ve got a really good relationship now.”
Sam Sorbo: Now, here’s the problem that we face. We all went to public school, so we think that education looks a certain way. And we’re wrong. Because we’ve been educated by the “educators” who are not educators — they’re school masters. It’s a completely different thing.
Sam Sorbo: And it’s so hard to have a conversation about it, because we’re speaking a different language in a sense. So, you’re giving me a one-off scenario. And I know there’s lots of single moms out there. There shouldn’t be. That’s wrong.
Charles Mizrahi: And look, if I had a magic wand…
Sam Sorbo: But if I had a magic wand, I’d give you the solution right away. I’m not saying that everybody can do this — I’m saying that everybody should do this, and figure out the best way to get this done. And part of it is: Stop relying on the schools because they’re not getting the job done. So, don’t tell me that a good alternative is to send the child to school. It’s not! Because the schools aren’t getting the job done. And you spent I don’t know how many thousands of dollars on schools, and you just said, “I wish I could get my money back.”
Charles Mizrahi: On some of my kids. Others did well.
Sam Sorbo: I’m just saying you don’t know what you signed up for! You think you signed up for one thing, and you get something else maybe.
Charles Mizrahi: Hang on a second. I’m with you, Sam. I’m not disagreeing with a lot of what you’re saying.
Charles Mizrahi: So, I sent my kids to a private school — a private Jewish school, Yeshiva. Dual curriculum. Same one I went to as a kid (and then I transferred to another one). The same with Dennis Prager went to, in fact.
Sam Sorbo: Cool.
Charles Mizrahi: Yeah, we went to the same school
— a lot of years apart. Dual curriculum. We had to learn Hebrew. Had secular in the afternoon, and Hebrew studies … It was tough. It was absolutely tough.
Charles Mizrahi: When I got older, I joined the board of the school I sent my kids to. I was the treasurer for many years. We said, “Hey, we’re a school. We have to have a team here. We don’t raise your kid. You raise your kid. You have to raise your kid. And school’s for teaching.” Now, we were on the same wavelength. We weren’t teaching the kids X while they were learning Y at home. That wasn’t the case.
Charles Mizrahi: There are parents who basically look at the school system as nothing more than a nanny. And they think the school is raising their kids. If the school’s raising your kids, you have a serious problem at home. It’s a partnership. Now, I hear what you’re saying, and I’m troubled by the fact that I don’t think it’s practical for every parent to consider homeschooling.
Sam Sorbo: I’m not saying I’m offering them the practical solution except if you consider the outcomes. So, you’re saying “practical” because you still subscribe to the idea that the school educates. It doesn’t. It schools. And that’s why there are so many parents who think that they can’t.
Sam Sorbo: Let me ask you this. You went to high school, right? You graduated high school?
Charles Mizrahi: Yep.
And you felt like you couldn’t teach your kids because you didn’t get taught how to teach your kids, right? That’s not education.
Charles Mizrahi: Hang on. You’re asking specifically me, or just in general?
Sam Sorbo: I’m just asking in general.
I have parents say to me, “I could never homeschool my kids. I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
Sam Sorbo: I go, “That’s really sad. Because you graduated high school, and yet you feel incapable of teaching a third-grader. But you’re willing to send the third-grader into the same system that turned out the likes of you — somebody incompetent to teaching a third-grader.” That’s pathetic.
Charles Mizrahi: Shouldn’t we be working on the system as well? It’s a system that’s needed. Agreed? Is it needed or not?
Sam Sorbo: When you drop your child off … You say it’s a “partnership.” It is not a partnership. It’s actually a war. And the schools have a have a self-interest in winning your child away from you as parents. So, you drop your child off at school and you say, “Now go ahead, because I can’t. The school can. And they know better than I do.” That’s what you’re telling your child. Regardless of what you verbally say to them, the action of sending the child to school automatically undermines your authority.
Sam Sorbo: Then the child comes home with a paper and says, “Daddy, you have to sign this. It’s a permission slip. You have to sign it.”
Sam Sorbo: “OK, give it to me. I will sign it.” Now, your authority has been sufficiently undermined so that when the school says to the child, “Have all the sex you want, nothing bad can happen” — which they do — your authority’s out the window. So, when you say to the kid, “You really shouldn’t have sex before marriage. That’s not a good plan because it results in single parenthood.” The child goes, “What does my dad know? His authority has been completely undermined. The school has the authority, just like he told me it does.”
Charles Mizrahi: Isn’t it really society that’s doing this and the school is just acting? Because that wasn’t the case in the 1950s. My parents were at the school.
Sam Sorbo: Yeah, but the schools hadn’t been infiltrated by Marxism. They are now.
Charles Mizrahi: No. So, basically, you’re telling me that the system has been taken over by Marxists.
Sam Sorbo: Well, by and large, yes. Look, the results are in. In the last election, more youth voted for Bernie Sanders — who is an avowed socialist — than for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined. OK, so we are turning out socialists. Whether you want to believe we have socialism in our schools or not, we’re turning out socialists.
Sam Sorbo: And if you get my book — which is right here — I’ve written it up. If you look at Common Core. Common Core teachers … This new math. I don’t have it marked. It teaches this new math that … Did we need new math? No. The old math was working just fine. Our bridges and our tunnels are well done.
Sam Sorbo: This is the new math. It’s replacing our standard algorithm — which, by the way, is the logic part of math. They want to do away with logic. So, they’ve replaced the standard algorithm with the lattice method, which is insanity itself. It makes math magic.
Sam Sorbo: But, more importantly, daddy can’t do it. So, when the fourth-grader goes home and says, “Daddy, I need help with my math homework,” the dad says, “Well, I don’t know how to do that. Let’s do the standard algorithm the way that I learned.” Then the child says, “No, daddy, the teacher said I have to learn it this way.” And then the child says, “Gosh, my daddy’s dumb. He doesn’t even know fourth-grade math.”
Charles Mizrahi: So, you believe that this is a conspiracy in order to get the kids away from their parents?
Sam Sorbo: That’s a word that you’re putting in my mouth…
Charles Mizrahi: No, I’m asking.
Sam Sorbo: I’m saying that, by and large, our universities have now been taken over by Marxist doctrine and leftism, and that that has trickled down into the schools. Now, on a per-teacher basis, no! Teachers are wonderful, lovely people. But they have directives that they have to follow. And if you look at the material that’s going out into the classrooms, you’ll see that. It’s easy to see, in a sense, the nefarious elements that are behind those materials.
Sam Sorbo: And, by the way, just look at the culture today!
Charles Mizrahi: I’m with you.
Sam Sorbo: Look at the rioting and the looting in the streets. Is that the way regular people behave?
Charles Mizrahi: No.
Sam Sorbo: Absolutely not. But they’ve been taught that in our schools.
Sam Sorbo: Look, we took the Bible out of the schools, but we didn’t take religion out of school. So, we have secular humanism in our schools, which teaches survival of the fittest. By the same token, it teaches that the Bible is a series of fairytales. And the churches are doing very little to shore that up and say, “No, the Bible is the word of God, and it’s the truth.” And I’m speaking, of course, of the Torah as well, right?
Charles Mizrahi: By the way, Sam, let me just interject.
Charles Mizrahi: That’s why my parents … My father as a warehouse manager and our family went on financial scholarship. I remember those days. It was sad. It was difficult. But they did not want us to go to public school. We went to a private Yeshiva Day school, which had the same morals, which had the same love of teaching of the Bible and of everything dealing with Judaism and like-minded parents … Because they wanted to put us in that environment.
Sam Sorbo: Right.
Charles Mizrahi: So they sacrificed tremendously. Tremendously. We couldn’t go on vacations, we had a 13-year-old car, my mother couldn’t get new dresses, my father had to work bingo … because we were going through scholarship. It was tough.
Sam Sorbo: Isn’t that an old fashioned idea? Who sacrifices today?
Charles Mizrahi: That was it. So, here’s my point…
Charles Mizrahi: I’m with you. I love what you’re saying. And everything you say, I’m with you.
Sam Sorbo: You don’t have to be with me, but I like it.
Charles Mizrahi: But I am.
Charles Mizrahi: So, my only point is this. I would say … Look, homeschooling sounds hard. I don’t have the temperament. I have the patience of a housefly. I’m not going to sit and go over…
Charles Mizrahi: I remember my father — wow, this memory just came back — used to have a pen. He used to take his pen out of his pocket. And we used to learn Hebrew. We had to read it. And the vowels are underneath. And I used to get so mixed up with the vowels. And as we’re learning it, when I said, “The dot’s on top.” He rapped my knuckles — I can still feel it. And it lasted maybe five minutes, and I’d be crying. That was education at home.
Charles Mizrahi: So, all I’m saying is this: Doesn’t it make sense, in addition to what you’re saying, to rework the system — to get conservatives, to get God back in the system in addition to the homeschooling? Do you have any problem with that?
Sam Sorbo: I don’t think it’s possible.
Charles Mizrahi: I didn’t ask you that.
Sam Sorbo: How are you going to get God back into the system?
Charles Mizrahi: Let’s assume we had a magic wand and we could fix the schools back to the way they were in the 1950s and 1940s — where kids used to dress, and there was decorum, and there was respect for people who are older than you, and there was morality — more Bible-like than it is today.
Charles Mizrahi: Shouldn’t we try to do that and really leverage this? Instead of just home by home by home, which seems, to me, insurmountable?
Sam Sorbo: So, I do a series of videos on my YouTube channel and on my website. And I did a series of videos called “Parenting is hard. Homeschooling isn’t.” So, the conundrum that you have is that parents are abdicating their parental responsibility — their parental rights — by sending their children to school.
Sam Sorbo: You talk about it as if it’s a partnership. It’s not. So, I don’t know how you can get around that.
Charles Mizrahi: You’re saying that schools were never a partnership? You’re telling me that they should have been home schooling all the way back?
Sam Sorbo: The one-room schoolhouse was a partnership. But the other thing is you have to understand that we no longer teach civics in our schools. What are civics? American civics are that Americans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that the power resides within the people because our government is of the people, by the people and for the people.
Sam Sorbo: The government has no interest in convincing the citizens that the power resides with them. And so, we have a tremendous conflict of interest between the government and the people, and having the government in charge of education. We’re seeing the results of that. And so, we’re going towards socialism, which is that the government retains the power. And that is the exact opposite of the American system the way that it was contrived.
Sam Sorbo: So, I don’t see an easy way of repairing “the system.” Because the system was the one that was corrupted. So, how can you repair it such that it won’t be corrupted? How do you resolve that problem?
Charles Mizrahi: So, just throw our hands in the air and say, “Walk away from education the way we know it”?
Sam Sorbo: What I’m saying is I’m empowering parents to be the parent provider and educator of their children — which is actually what the Bible calls for. The Bible never says, “Make sure your children go to government schools for their education.” In fact, the Bible never says, “Make sure your children go to a church for an education.”
Sam Sorbo: I think that we ought to be empowering parents because they ought to be the backbone of the society. The family structure is the building block of our society, and anything that goes to undermine that … I find objectionable.
Charles Mizrahi: So, in Judaism — it actually is in Deuteronomy — it’s the father’s responsibility to teach your children. The question is, if a father is not capable of teaching his own child…
Sam Sorbo: Do you believe children are a gift from God?
Charles Mizrahi: So is life. Yeah, absolutely.
Sam Sorbo: Then the father is capable of teaching his child.
Charles Mizrahi: OK, so rabbinic Judaism, especially Maimonides — greatest Jewish philosopher ever who lived around the 11th or 12th century. He basically said that if a father can’t provide for his child’s education, he should hire a tutor.
Sam Sorbo: Right, but he is hiring a tutor, not a teacher. A tutor. And he is supervising the education of said child. He wants his values imparted to the child.
Charles Mizrahi: Well, the assumption is that the tutor has the same values.
Sam Sorbo: And that’s Maimonides — that’s not God the father. That’s Maimonides talking. He’s a good guy, but you know…
Charles Mizrahi: But if a father can’t teach his child — he’s incapable or ignorant of the Jewish law of the Bible … How are you going to teach your kids? You hire someone to do that. You hire schoolhouses and you hire … So, I do hear what you’re saying.
Sam Sorbo: You’re saying hire the schoolhouse or hire the government?
Charles Mizrahi: No, the government was never an issue. Government never came into play because the government was never involved in education.
Sam Sorbo: Right. Because we had self-government, which is which is the standard by which the United States was formed. We are self-governing, supposedly, and yet we are ceding our self-governance power to our government.
Charles Mizrahi: Well, we’re paying the consequences now, aren’t we? University kids are going out thinking socialism is an alternative economic system and they have no idea what socialism is. They’ll live in a socialist company.
Sam Sorbo: Right. And here’s the thing. I know that I sound fairly extreme when I talk about education, but I’m just telling you like it is. It just is. I can’t do anything about the way that it is and what the best solution is.
Charles Mizrahi: But when you when you say parents say, “Well, they don’t have the patience to teach their kids,” I’m saying that your children are a gift from God. Maybe God gave you your children to teach you some patience. Because the opposite of patience is anger. And so I question that you have an anger problem. Maybe you should resolve that, right? And, by the way, patience is a virtue. Wouldn’t it be great to learn some patience? And isn’t that a great way to do it — with the love that you have for your child, so that you put up with stuff?
Sam Sorbo: Because you know, your kid comes to you with a drawing when they’re three or five and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, that’s the most beautiful drawing I’ve ever seen!” You liar. But of course you do that! Because it’s your child. And you love that child. Do you think a teacher does that with 30 kids in the class?
Charles Mizrahi: Well, it depends on the teacher. Some teachers do. You know, my daughter’s a teacher…
Sam Sorbo: My point is, the teacher has 30 kids in the class. Not that the teacher’s a bad teacher or not a loving teacher, but with 30 kids in the class, some kids are going to get lost in the shuffle. So, do you want that child to be your child?
Sam Sorbo: You know, we put our kids in school with this idea that our kid will be the one who is best served. And I put my kid through first grade and second grade in our local, really good public school … until I realized he was not being served. Because he was the good kid, so he sat quietly. And so, he wasn’t the kid that got the attention. He wasn’t the kid that got the special credit stuff or the special instruction or what have you. He was the kid who was going to just be a good student.
Charles Mizrahi: So, I had the exact opposite scenario. I was never the smart kid in the class — I was the dumb kid in the class. So, it was the honor kids that got all the attention … and everyone else didn’t. But when I became involved in education, I realized that every parent thinks their kid’s the honor class kid who’s getting that attention, and they’re really not.
Sam Sorbo: You sign up thinking this is all going to work out. In our minds, the fantasy is real. We’re just creating this fantasy for the kids. And I started to realize — and I tell that story in my book, They’re Your Kids … Sort of what happened to us — and it wasn’t like cataclysmic — was just this idea that he wasn’t being served. They weren’t really paying attention to him. And they weren’t telling me what I was supposed to do in order to pay attention and make sure that it all went well.
Sam Sorbo: And I finally went, “Oh my gosh! If I fail, I’ll be doing better than they will! Because at least I’ll have my kid.”
Sam Sorbo: So, it’s the best solution. Is it perfectly easy for everybody to do? No. Sometimes doing the hard thing is the right thing to do. Sometimes doing the hard thing is the best thing to do.
Charles Mizrahi: Let me ask you this last question on this … And I love the passion. I’m with you. My daughter’s a teacher. I love education. If I didn’t do what I did, I would have been a history teacher because I love teaching. But here’s my last thing for you…
Charles Mizrahi: What percent of parents — do you think — can do this? It has to be less than 100%. Based on all the factors — single income, those who just don’t have the right temperament … What percent of parents do you think you can do the homeschooling?
Sam Sorbo: I’ll say 85%.
Charles Mizrahi: And for those 85%, what message do you want to give them?
Sam Sorbo: Well, no, I want to give the message to everybody.
Charles Mizrahi: OK. But especially those 85% — let’s assume that they’re going to be the most willing to do it. What would you tell them?
Sam Sorbo: Oh, I don’t think they’re going to be willing to do it, sadly. But can? Because especially now, with COVID, you know … It used to be that the objection was: “What about socialization?” Well, what about socialization? There are so many reasons, now, to homeschool. And I’m hearing that it’s exploding, which is exciting. Because it’s about so much more than education.
Sam Sorbo: It’s not about education, because the schools are not educating. They’re not in the business of educating. They’re in the business of schooling, which is completely different. It’s indoctrination. It’s dangerous.
Sam Sorbo: We talk about COVID being this dangerous virus. There’s a virus that’s much more dangerous. And that is the virus of leftism, socialism, Marxism, communism … It’s all the same virus. The virus is a virus of greed — the virus of saying, “I may not be capable, but I still want that thing and I’m going to take it.” The virus of virtue signaling like, “I’m going to criticize somebody because — even though I do the same thing that they do — by criticizing them, I elevate myself.” That virus. That’s what’s infecting our schools.
Sam Sorbo: So, do I think that — and I’m speaking very broadly, of course, and there are exceptions to all of these rules — children shouldn’t be in school yet? Pretty much. Because that virus has now fully infected our school system.
Sam Sorbo: Now, there are pockets of resistance. There are pockets of schools that are predominantly Judeo-Christian adherents who are running the school. And so, they’re running a bit of a blocking system against some of the virus that’s coming through in some of the literature. But they’re running the right way on a train that’s headed the wrong way.
Charles Mizrahi: A train that’s headed the wrong way…
Charles Mizrahi: Wow, you’ve got to give me one positive thing to end this conversation with, Sam. I need something, because I feel terrible now that I sent my kids to school! Give me something to make me happy.
Sam Sorbo: Well, by the way, when you sent your kids to school, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it is now.
Charles Mizrahi: It wasn’t even close.
Sam Sorbo: And your school was a very was a private, special school.
Charles Mizrahi: It was a private, special school. Right. Everyone was on the same war plane. It was a Jewish school based on certain values.
Sam Sorbo: Education should be a couple of things…
Sam Sorbo: It should be learning to discern truth. We’re not teaching that. We’re teaching that there is no truth. I’m going to get emotional now, because of the lies that we’re teaching our children … We’re teaching our children that they are accidents of nature, OK? We’re teaching them they have no value in our schools.
Sam Sorbo: How dare they teach a young child that his value is tied only to the color of his skin, his socioeconomic status, his height, his weight … That’s what they’re teaching in our schools today. It’s child abuse what they’re doing to our children. And I’m speaking predominantly, of course, about government schools. Not the private community. But the private community, sadly, has modeled itself on government schools.
Sam Sorbo: And I’ll tell you this, I had a young friend who was in college at a Christian university, and she would have lunch with this one professor who she really liked. And she eventually became convinced that the professor was atheist. And so, she asked her at lunch one day, “I don’t understand. You’re teaching at a Christian university, but you’re clearly an atheist. So, I need to understand why.”
Sam Sorbo: And the atheist said, “This is my mission field.”
Sam Sorbo: OK, so parents, if you want your children to have your values — which is education. Education is the discernment of truth — the understanding of morality. That’s what education is. It’s not: two plus two equals four, which is actually a representation of God’s law, which is logic. So, everything really reverts back to God…
Sam Sorbo: But if you want your children to have your value system … (And I would hope that you do! Because if you don’t, then why do you have that value system in the first place?) Then you cannot send them to somebody who…
Sam Sorbo: By the way, most parents — you probably are among this group and I certainly was — trust the school to pick the teacher. Schools don’t know what they’re doing, picking teachers! They’re just hiring people who have good credentials.
Sam Sorbo: But that’s how that guy — and I’m blanking on his name — in Seattle got hired. He had countless kindergarten classes, and he maneuvered himself into getting the one kindergarten class that had a private bathroom so he could put cameras up inside the bathroom and photograph the young children and sell their photographs online as pornography. And he had tons of child porn on his computer when they finally arrested him. And he was a kindergarten teacher! And no parent understood that when they were sending their child to him or they never would have sent him.
Sam Sorbo: I walked my kid down to the school, and I was told that he was given the best teacher in the school. “Oh, she’s fantastic!” Do you know why she was fantastic? Why everybody thought she was so great? She kept a bowl of candy in the classroom! Now, God bless her. She was a lovely lady, and she probably did a good job teaching … But I know why everybody thought she was a good teacher — because all the kids loved her. Why did they love her? Because she had candy!
Sam Sorbo: That’s not education, OK? And stop thinking that education has to be like eight hours a day, because it doesn’t. And stop thinking that it has to be inside a classroom — or inside a box — because it doesn’t.
Sam Sorbo: Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford and told the not-graduates to run away from school, because school puts a ceiling over your head. We’re not raising entrepreneurs anymore. We’re raising worker bees. And that’s on purpose. That’s why the school system was…
Charles Mizrahi: Invented. That’s why we have the September to June period, so they could go out and work in the fields, and to teach them how to be factory workers.
Sam Sorbo: Well, that’s a remnant from the one-room schoolhouse. But when the Frankfurt school came in, and the Marxists and Horace Mann and the rest of them came and redesigned our public schools and really said, “OK, we need a concerted effort here…” First of all, they borrowed from the Prussian school, which was to create what? Not intelligent people. They were creating an army of people. They were creating young men who would follow orders.
Charles Mizrahi: Conformity.
Sam Sorbo: And they need conformity.
Sam Sorbo: And that’s why you see everybody walking around with masks on. There’s no scientific evidence about the masks — none that’s reliable anyway. The CDC evidence says that masks are virtually indistinguishable from not wearing masks. The CDC just came out with the report that 85% of COVID patients today are avid mask-wearers because they’re constantly touching their faces.
Sam Sorbo: And yet, you have an entire populace that is now conforming to the mask mandate because they just think, “Well, that’s what my superiors told me to do! And why are we sending our kids to school? Because that’s what we were told to do. And we just follow directions now because that’s the way we were raised. And at the sound of the bell, we change our classrooms.” And I’m trying to liberate people from that slavery. I’m trying to liberate them from that. Because it’s slavery of thought.
Charles Mizrahi: How are you doing in this battle? How would you grade yourself in liberating people from this kind of mind thing?
Sam Sorbo: Judging from comments that I’m getting on my website and stuff, I’m doing OK. But it’s a very difficult lesson to learn. Because I’m telling you that you thought you put on a blue shirt today, but your shirt’s actually gray. And you’re going, “No, I specifically chose the blue shirt.”
Charles Mizrahi: We’re fish in an aquarium, and I’m trying to tell you what it’s like on dry land. And you’re still in the aquarium because you still have these ideas about education — we all do. Even when they put a picture of homeschooling up, they show kids seated at a table with mom leaning over them. That’s not education! Education is discerning truth and education. The mark of a good education should be the ability to teach it. That’s the mark of a good education: competence. But we’ve removed competence from our hierarchy.
Sam Sorbo: So now, we are applauding people not for competence. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because he was the first black president — not for competence. Not because he did anything. It’s crazy.
Charles Mizrahi: Sam, I could speak for the next five hours here. You’re going to come back again? I really want to know how you feel.
Sam Sorbo: It’s in my book. If you think you can’t, it’s because you were taught that you can’t! Why would you want your child to be taught that? You want your child to think that he can. So, learn how to do it yourself. Because you can. And that’s my message.
Charles Mizrahi: I love it. Sam, thanks so much. This has been really, really great. I could spend another five hours talking with you … Because I really want to know how you really feel. I’m not getting it!
Sam Sorbo: I don’t have a strong opinion about this.
Charles Mizrahi: Sam, thanks so much for being with me today. God bless you. And keep the fight going. It’s great. Really great.
Sam Sorbo: God bless you, too. L’chaim.
Charles Mizrahi: L’chaim.
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