How are children supposed to learn about respect for human life if no one teaches them by role modeling and giving instruction? Oftentimes, I hear parents say, “I don’t want little junior to know about abortion or euthanasia. The thought of killing sweet babies and the elderly would disturb them too much!”
Of course, we want to respect the age of innocence, but there comes a time when parents have a moral responsibility to encourage their children to promote life. To make this possible, parents need to “walk the walk,” and kids need to be taught that we live in a culture of death. The goal is to give them the truth sprinkled with hope and mercy. Eventually, as the young ones grow up, they can expand on the knowledge that Mommy and Daddy gave them, and use these tools in order to teach others.
But to do this, they need to know about some yucky things that are plaguing our world today.
What’s a good age for kids to learn about the atrocities out there?
Well, given the stuff they see by means of the media, I think that children can handle information about the evils of abortion and euthanasia–and heck, we’d better throw pornography and genocide into the mix as well–by the time they enter junior high. Kids’ bodies are changing around that time and they are curious about everything. They appreciate and deserve the truth, and they crave adults being level with them. They want to be guided along the right path, and they start to develop leadership skills. And boy, we need this next generation to be our leaders for the marginalized! If right and wrong is not ingrained in their heads by the time they hit puberty, they are more apt to be led astray by peer pressure as they get older, and not carry the torch for life.
My husband and I started discussing respect for human life with our nine children when they were in the stroller (See my blog called, My Prolife Running Stroller). They’d be strapped into the contraption when I took their big brothers and sisters outside Planned Parenthood to pray. As they got more mature this practice fueled many good questions:
“Why are people going in that naughty building?”
“Why are the police letting them go in there?”
“How can we help?”
The other aspects of life were taught as the subjects arose. When they read a book about Anne Frank or see a presentation on The Lost Boys of Sudan we discuss genocide. I tell them to look the other way as we stroll past Victoria’s Secret, and I tell them why pictures with women falling out of their tops are bad. And appreciation of the elderly was learned by spending time with older family friends and grandparents.
It’s not that hard, and it must be done.
Pope to parents: Teach your children to respect, defend life
The Catholic News Service wrote this article (Printed in The Catholic Spirit’s August 15, 2013 issue):
Respect for human life from conception until natural death is something children must be taught, not mainly with words, but by the example of their parents, Pope Francis said.
“Parents are called to pass on to their children the awareness that life must always be defended,” Pope Francis wrote in a message to people joining in the Brazilian Catholic Church’s celebration of Family Week, which began Aug. 11.
The pope returned to his condemnation of the “throwaway culture,” something he spoke against several times during his July 22-28 visit to Brazil. He had said that modern cultures tend to treat even human lives as disposable, pointing to the way people, societies and even governments tend to treat both the young and the old.
In his message for Family Week, he said parents have a responsibility to fight that disposable culture by teaching their children that human life, “from the womb,” is a gift from God. New life ensures the future of humanity, he said, while older people — especially grandparents — “are the living memory of a people, and transmit the wisdom of life.”
The pope also charged married Catholic couples and their children with the task of recognizing they must be “the most convincing heralds” of the beauty and grace of Christian marriage.
I think Pope Francis is spot on! Don’t you?