Recently there was a lot of negative press over kids holding crude and vulgar signs as pro-life and pro-choice sides clashed over legislation in Texas. Presumably, these kids didn’t compose and create these signs, but their parents placed them as weapons in their innocent hands.
How do you raise kids to be pro-life without exposing them to the dark side of the struggle over abortion, making them old before their time? When should they be challenged on a deeper level?
1. It’s okay, even advisable, to start training a child to be pro-life intentionally, while they are young, in age-appropriate ways. If you wait until your kids are teens to help them understand the pro-life viewpoint, you may end up competing with a multitude of other voices. Eventually your child will hear the other side, but make sure the pro-life position has already been clearly communicated.
2. Begin a child’s training by discussing the gift of life. Do it every time a baby is born into your family or to a friend. Go out of your way to make it celebratory.
3. The Bible points to “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:7-9 NIV). Conversely, consider anything outside of these parameters as idle talk that you should shield children from rather than initiate. In other words, don’t rush to inform a child about abortion; it’s not need-to-know information yet.
4. More important, as a parent, model love and care, especially for infants, the handicapped, and the elderly. Most kids have a natural affinity for these people; nurture it.
5. Teach Scripture that affirms life. Work with your child on committing these verses to memory together. Psalm 139:13-16 is a perfect place to start, but there are many passages which show the significance of the unborn.
6. Visit and volunteer at a pregnancy resource center such as Elizabeth’s New Life Center. There are kid-friendly age-appropriate jobs for volunteers of almost all ages.
7. Take your cues as your child grows to know when he or she is ready for a discussion about other difficult life issues, such as abortion or euthanasia.
8. Taking children to a safely orchestrated, orderly, and peaceful pro-life demonstration may be a strategic decision if your desire is to help them understand that some moral issues are worth extraordinary efforts to share one’s opinion and take a stand.
9. As your child grows into a teen, help him or her learn to articulate a pro-life stance based upon, in addition to passion, theology, science, logic and reason. Pro-life apologists John Ensor and Scott Klusendorf’s book Stand for Life: A Student’s Guide for Making the Case and Saving Lives is a good resource.
10. Because teens love company, consider helping other teens get training, too. Free pro-life training is available through the Life Training Institute for your local Christian school by calling Susan Lytle at (678) 401-6608 or emailing her (firstname.lastname@example.org). Connect her with the right school official and she will handle everything else: work with the school, explain the program, answer questions, handle the booking, etc.