What does it look like practically to create a culture of life within a family, especially if there are young children? How can caregivers uphold the value of life in age-appropriate ways?
The sanctity of every human life is one of the most important truths we can teach the children in our care. Kids are being raised in a society that devalues life at every turn, from messages on billboards to ads on streaming services. Too often, any individual who requires our personal sacrifice is viewed as a burden and a threat to our autonomy. And the abortion industry thrives off of this way of thinking.
If we want our children to be both hearers and doers of the Word, we must demonstrate a pro-life ethic not only in our words, though that is essential, but also in our actions.
Here are 10 ways you can create a culture of life within your family and develop ongoing trust between you and your children.
- Connect with your local pregnancy resource center (PRC). Find out where your closest PRC is, and reach out. All PRCs need support in some way. Ask for a tour, and bring the whole family. Let your children see the facility, hear the stories, and develop empathy for women who may feel scared and alone.
- Donate baby items for expecting mothers. You could do this through your local pregnancy center, church, or another local organization that supports pregnant women. Take a family shopping trip to purchase diapers, wipes, bottles, blankets, toys, and more. Talk about how exciting it is to welcome a new life into the world and to support moms by meeting physical needs.
- Fill a baby bottle. Many pregnancy centers hold what is known as “Baby Bottle Campaigns”—but even if yours doesn’t, this is still a wonderful way to uphold the value of life. Keep an empty baby bottle in your home where it will be seen every day. Set a goal for your family to fill it up with loose change. Once filled, donate the contents to your PRC or other organization that supports moms. Pray together over that money, that it would bless both parents and new life.
- Memorize Scripture that points to the sanctity of life. Psalm 139 is a great place to start. Read this passage together and work toward reciting it by heart.
- Read picture books that are pro-life. Picture books have the unique power of uniting both words and images to communicate powerful truths. Add life-affirming books to your library and make a point to read them together. A few places to start: Pro-Life Kids; God’s Very Good Idea; Wherever You Go, I Want You To Know.
- Talk about your relationship with your children before they were born. Share stories of your excitement about meeting your children. Share about the kicks, how they heard and knew your voice, and how they developed eyes, fingers, and toes while they were in the womb. Normalize talking about the humanity of children from the moment of conception.
- Host a baby shower. If you have a family member or friend who is expecting, offer to host a baby shower or even invite your children to attend one with you. Create the expectation of celebrating new life.
- Practice gentleness with babies and respect for the elderly. Whether your children are preschool-aged, teenagers, or somewhere in between, there is value in creating an expectation of gentleness and respect toward all life. Cast a vision for your family members as protectors of the weak. This can be demonstrated with babies by using gentle touches, soft voices, and kind speech. This can be practiced with the elderly by holding doors, assisting with physical needs, and listening attentively to stories and wisdom.
- Learn with your family about adoption and foster care. Pray about whether or not God is leading your family to pursue one or both of these options. Invite other families who have fostered or adopted to come share about their experiences. Pray together for those families. Add these words to your family vocabulary, and make sure your children see positive examples of both.
- Tell the truth about abortion using age-appropriate language. Our world has sterilized the word “abortion” with phrases like “pro-choice,” “abortion care,” and “removal of pregnancy tissue.” If your children are older, they are hearing this language. Do they know what abortion really is? You can tell the truth about the humanity of the unborn and the sadness of abortion without going into extreme detail. For younger children, it may sound something like this:
“Sometimes when a mom gets pregnant with a baby, she might feel afraid or scared about being a mom. Some people might tell her that abortion will help her not be afraid. Abortion is when a baby’s life is ended on purpose inside the womb. Abortion doesn’t protect babies or mommies.”
With age and maturity, your children can learn more. But the important thing is making sure you are the source of their information. Hearing the truth from you will build trust and increase the likelihood that they’ll come back to you with questions.
Giving feet to your faith
If your children hear you say you’re pro-life, but see no evidence of compassion, empathy, and love toward all life—whether it be a preborn child, a lonely man in a retirement home, or a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy—then they will be less inclined to believe you when they’re grown.
Additionally, making the extra effort to uphold a culture of life within your family, especially regarding our tiniest of neighbors, will give feet to your faith and bolster the faith of your children. In his book The Storm-Tossed Family, Russell Moore says, “The self-interest that sears over the joy of birth will also sear over the joy of new birth.” New life here on earth is God’s megaphone for proclaiming the gospel to the world. That’s why abortion is inherently a gospel issue.
May it never be said that we let the world inform our children’s beliefs about the immeasurable value of life—or about the One who authors it.