Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of parenting is finding ways to pass along our values to our children. How can we best convey our pro-life beliefs? To help, we have arranged several ideas below, based on the age range of the child you are teaching.
Age 0 to 18 Months
Pro-life parents can help their children understand the value of human life from a very young age. Teaching a child that they have inestimable value is a good beginning. No child is too young to understand that they are loved. Hugs, kisses, words that affirm and encourage are all wonderful ways of saying to a child, “You have value! You are a special child who is dearly loved.”
18 Months to Three Years
By 18 months to three years parents can illustrate the value of human beings by pointing out how many kinds of people there are and explaining that each one is special: red and yellow, black and white, short and tall, big and small, some who walk and some who use wheelchairs. Find opportunities to convey the baseline pro-life value that each person is a special creation.
Preschool to Third Grade
If you aren’t reading to your preschooler every night before bed, you are missing a wonderful teaching opportunity – on several levels.
The Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who tells the story of Horton, the kindhearted elephant who rescues the citizens of Whoville. Horton’s philosophy (“a person’s a person no matter how small”) is a gentle lead-in to the humanity and dignity of the unborn.
The delightful book by Jennifer Davis, Before You Were Born is short and easy-to-understand for children of preschool age to about third grade. It includes a simple approach to the unborn baby’s development with interactive pages that children can peek under and look at.
Both these books are available at most libraries and bookstores, or they can be borrowed from Wisconsin Right to Life. Book lending information is available by writing the Wisconsin Right to Life Education Department.
Another fun way to help youngsters appreciate the unborn is to take them to see the newborns at the hospital. Point out the wonderful variety in each of the babies and remind children that they were once that tiny too – but no less special.
Discussions about babies (and “where they come from”) should take place early and often. A child’s natural curiosity about the anatomical differences between girls and boys will lead them to ask questions. Answer them honestly using language they can grasp but don’t offer more information than they are requesting. Little by little, you can fill in the blanks as they inquire.
Fourth Grade through Adolescence
When you feel it is appropriate, have your children participate with you in your chapter’s pro-life activities. Help them to understand that the people of our country disagree about whether or not it is right to kill babies before they are born.
You can say, “Mom and dad believe that every baby is a special person and no one should have the right to kill them.”
Teaching pro-life lessons during your child’s adolescence is particularly important.
An important step is setting a family standard for what is and is not acceptable TV and movie viewing. Be aware though, kids are walking “hypocrisy detectors.” The only way for parents to avoid undermining their own teaching on this subject is to abide by the same standards themselves.
Great Pro-Life Websites for Teens
TeenBreaks.com — Teen abortion experiences, facts, stats, complications, survivors. Straight talk from teens who have been there and done that.
Wisconsin Teens for Life — The home page for Wisconsin Teens for Life. Find info about Summer Leadership Camps, a newsletter and cool stuff for Wisconsin Teens.