In two days, on June 1st, the Life Hike will be happening again in Steinbach. The hike is simply a short, peaceful and positive march in support of life.
One of the most critical issues currently facing Christian families is abortion. We need to talk to our kids about it; not just because our children need to know how to engage in a constructive and loving conversation with people who disagree with us, but also because the Bible gives us God’s heart on the issue; that all life is considered sacred (i.e. children are a gift from God).
When and How to Talk Pro-Life
The big question then, is how, right? How do we talk about such a morbid and violent issue with our kids? At what age should we start?
To answer the second question first, I recommend intentionally discussing abortion when kids enter grade 5 (middle school age), or if they ask about it before that. If your child is in grade three and hears the word abortion or sees something on TV or a billboard and asks you about it, you need to have an age-appropriate answer for them.
Three Ways to Talk To Our Kids About Abortion
Teach them life is precious. Every life. Always.
What I’ve done to help students understand this is to show them a picture of a group of people. I ask them to make up a story about the people in the picture, to really imagine what they do, what they are like, and what makes them valuable to society.
Then I simply expose the rest of the picture which reveals they are in wheelchairs.
Is someone with a disability any less valuable than someone who has the use of their legs? Of course not! Your kids will be shocked that you went there.
But then ask about what if someone is very old and can’t remember their grandkids anymore, does that mean they have used up all of their value? Of course not. (Make this as personal as possible… ask about their grandma or grandpa or special old person!)
Then, talk about people with intellectual disabilities. Can they imagine that any life would have value? Of course! There are loads of examples of people who have brain differences who have changed the world, and exponentially more that God has used to change the people around them.
So, we agree, life is very, very precious.
Matthew 6:26 (NLT2) Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
Teach them that not everyone believes life starts at the same time
This is where things get tricky. I would be very careful about oversharing details, but if I were talking with a 9-year-old, I would cover the following points:
- Where babies come from. Here are two blogs to get you started.
- Teaching Little Kids About Sex
- Speaking With Your Middle School Student About Sex
- While we’re at it… Here’s a whole workshop about purity and kids!
- Why some people might not want a baby.
- Maybe they got pregnant before they were married, and their parents will be sad or angry. Maybe the mother is in danger of dying because she is pregnant. (If your kids are young teenagers I would also include discussing rape at this point.)
- What happens when something goes wrong and a
baby won’t be born “normal” (I hate the word, but we’re talking to a
- Sometimes we can tell before a baby is born that they will have certain challenges. Maybe something will be wrong with their body (they might have an underdeveloped heart and will die shortly after they are born, or perhaps one of their legs didn’t grow, or maybe they will have Down syndrome, an intellectual disability.)
- What the word abortion means.
- It means to end a pregnancy by killing the baby before it is born.
- Why we believe that abortion is wrong.
- Simply because all life is precious.
Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT2) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Teach them that avoiding conflict isn’t a good enough reason to stay quiet.
Our children need to know to speak up for what is right and speak against what is wrong. Now, I’m a firm believer that we need to have these conversations with grace, gentleness, and respect, but as a Christian and a dad, I’m tired of people using dumb arguments to justify what is inherently evil. Our kids need to be empowered to fear God and not people.
This is the clear teaching of scripture. Practically the whole book of James tells us that faith is active; that it prays and that it speaks. But here are two other verses that I feel deeply as well.
Exodus 22:22-23 (HCSB) “You must not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, they will no doubt cry to Me, and I will certainly hear their cry.
Proverbs 31:8-9 (HCSB) Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.
I know that this may be hard to envision so I decided to write a story describing what this conversation might look like between a dad and his son. You can read that here.
(And in case you think this is a totally “made up” conversation, I promise you there are direct quotes in there… You CAN be this honest with your children.)
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Associate Pastor – Southland Church
Thom has worked with children and youth for 17 years. He and his wife, Tara, have 6 kids; 4 boys, and a daughter and a SON-IN-LAW(!). The kids are spread across 20 years too, so that gives him plenty of experimental material to write about! They have also welcomed 30 foster children into their home over the past number of years.