When we teach our children to be pro-life, we teach them to be pro-all life.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14
The Psalmist, David, fully understood that “fearfully made” translates into absolute and utter awe of the genius and design of all creation. As parents, the Lord has entrusted us with the precious life of another human being, one who was formed and fashioned into the image of their Creator.
How does one go about teaching that precious little one to value the uniqueness of all life? Does instilling pro-life values into our children solely rest in advocation for the preborn, or does it expand the gamut of all human life the Lord has created?
Pro-All Life: Teaching Human Value
Fingerprints are unique, snowflakes are unique, and human beings are unique. The uniqueness that lies within each of us reflects the incredible majesty and imagination of the Creator. And that uniqueness is reflected in the image we bear – His.
“In the image of God, he created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1: 27
Teaching our children how to be pro-life is most impactful when modeled through consistent and intentional actions. Choosing action and intentionality with our children can produce monumental lifelong impacts. Some of the building blocks to teaching our children to be pro-life are instilling within them that God has a purpose and plan for each life he creates. And teaching your child to be genuinely pro-life will require sacrifice from you.
Teaching by Example
Pro-life is not merely stating you believe all life is valuable. Neither is it only voting for those political candidates who say they are pro-life. Demonstrating you are pro-life, and deeply imparting this value to our children, is best accomplished by backing up your words with intentional actions, even when it feels inconvenient.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” – James 2:14-17
Often, what inhibits us from teaching our children to be pro-life is our desire for comfort. Far too many of us, and please hear me as I speak to the choir, want a museum-style, organized, clean, and well-decorated home; however, that is not necessarily the life the Lord is calling us to live.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.” – I John 3: 17-18
Interestingly, I have discovered, right when I think I have it all together, the Lord has a way of reminding me that He alone is in control. With that said, in 2011, my husband lost his job due to company-wide lay-offs. As he was the sole breadwinner, our family found ourselves in a desperate situation. Shortly after the layoffs, he discovered a ministry called Safe Families for Children. Suddenly, we found ourselves moving to California. It was there we lived in a ministry home where we cared for children whose families were in crisis.
Being Pro-Life with Sixteen Children
Throughout the course of twelve months, sixteen children ranging in ages from 10 months to 14 years old, lived with us. They all had two things in common – each was thrust into the midst of an incredibly difficult family situation, and all of them were created in God’s image.
Suddenly, my acute desire for order fell to the wayside as I realized the more important matter was caring for these deeply hurting children. Daily, we would care for the practical needs of these children by providing food, shelter, and clothing. We also lavished them with the love and acceptance they desperately needed.
Living Pro-Life Together
We talked with them, and shared meals together. Regularly, we experienced fun activities together like bike riding, swimming, playing games all the while creating a safe place and safe space for these children. Most importantly, we talked about the Lord.
We read daily bible stories at night and took them to church. In addition, we shared our faith and our lives with them. As a result, simultaneously, we taught our children the importance of being pro-life because being pro-life means being pro-all life. On a deeper level our children were able to grasp the understanding that everyone’s life experience is not exactly the same. Likewise, they learned that the hardships others experience, or differences we have, does not delineate the depth, meaning and value firmly placed within the life of each cherished individual.
Limited resources? That’s okay!
While I realize not every person’s story is the same, one could presume most of us have something to offer to someone who is in desperate need. Whether it be time, talent, love, kindness, service and a proverbial plethora of assorted other giftings bestowed upon each of us, we all have something to give to one another. Keeping this in mind, practically and intentionally instilling pro-life values into our children might encompass all types of commitment, both large and small. The great news is that teaching this value to our child is not a ‘one size fits all’. Each of us comes to the table with different abilities.
Because it is not my responsibility to change the world, I am all about practicality. However, while here on Earth, it is my charge to positively impact my sphere of influence. While not every person can fully and completely commit to adoption, all of us have some time or talent we can offer to serve others. Through this effort, we can instill the values being pro-life, and pro-all life, in our children.
What can you do?
With that said, here is a small list of ways to practically teach, through intentionality and action, the values of pro-life to our children:
- Read scripture verses with your children about the value God places on life.
- If you know someone who is facing an unexpected pregnancy, invite them into your home and offer your time, attention, wisdom, kindness, acceptance, and love.
- Adopt a child.
- As a family, spend time with families who have adopted children and get to know those precious children.
- Babysit for families who have adopted children to give the parents a date night.
- Make meals for families who have adopted – make and deliver meals with your children.
- Become a foster parent.
- Babysit for foster parents to give them a date night.
- Make meals for families who foster other children.
- Babysit for a family who has a child with disabilities.
- As a family, go on a Buddy Walk in support of your friend’s child.
- Become a host home for Safe Families for Children.
- Provide a safe place or safe space to your child’s friends who might have a difficult and challenging home life. And if appropriate, offer to have that child live with you (think of the movie Blindside).
- Open your home to your children’s friends or teammates. Be involved in the lives of your children and get to know their friends.
As parents, our protective nature would want our children to only interact with other Christian children or those who are ‘like’ us; however, Christ spent time with those who were not like us. Where does the more significant impact of one’s faith engrave itself – in the comfort of being with fellow believers, or while interacting with others whose lives are not a carbon copy our own?
Jesus: A Pro-Life Teacher
Teaching our children to be genuinely pro-life requires intentional and often-times, inconvenient actions. As with all things, it is imperative to look at the example Jesus gave us while here on Earth. Talk about someone who was pro-life. Christ served others relentlessly, and ultimately, he willingly surrendered his life so we could have eternal life. He gave up Heaven’s comforts to sacrifice everything for us – those formed in his image.