I watched as more than 100 white-suit wearing women in Congress stayed seated in disgust as Donald Trump boldly spoke these words during his State of the Union address:
Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life, and let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children—born and unborn—are made in the holy image of God.
Sure, I understand that our increasingly secularized society doesn’t want to acknowledge God. But this kind of vehement opposition to life and complete failure to acknowledge its inherent value terrifies me. This is the world in which I must raise my children?
But instead of worrying and complaining, I recognize that as a parent there is something I can do. I can take seriously the role of instructing my children in the truth. I must teach them to honor and value life. And, I must show them how to stand for what’s right.
How do we raise pro abundant life children in an anti-life culture? Here are my first three suggestions—each centers around being clear about what we value.
- Value Children.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone complain about his or her child, I’d be able to hire a live-in housekeeper. I understand that some days are hard. Toddlers can be exasperating, teens infuriating, and every year in between can have significant challenges. But moms and dads, children are a blessing! We must never let our thoughts, attitudes, actions or words reflect anything different.
If we want to raise children who value life, we must let them know that they are valued. Teach your children that they have tremendous worth because they are made in the image of God. Encourage them to use their words to honor other people who are also God’s image bearers. Model this for them. Speak words that dignify them. There’s never an appropriate reason to refer to your children as a “bother,” “pain,” or “inconvenience.” Don’t act disappointed that you can’t stay out late “because of the kids” or say things like, “these kids are cramping my style.” Honor your children with words that affirm their value to you and to God.
- Value Motherhood.
God gives us grace for what he’s called us to. If you wear the title of “mom” then, take courage, he’s given you grace to endure through every stage and age. Though your work may seem to never end, don’t bemoan your responsibilities as unimportant. When you believe that your job as a mom is vital—not just to your children but to society at large—you model a healthy appreciation for the role of motherhood.
Dads, make sure your children see you affirm the beauty and strength of motherhood. If you’re married, speaks words of gratitude towards your spouse that demonstrate how important her role is. Saying these things in front of your children will help reinforce the truth that raising children is the most important job moms will ever have.
- Value Fatherhood.
Culture often values mothers but forgets the importance of fathers. If you’re a dad, know that you are not superfluous to the well being of your child. In fact, a lot of data shows that without you, your children will not fare as well in life.
Dads, be there for your kids and model for them what a good father and husband looks like. When you see messages that minimize the value of fathers—like the stereotypical dumb and disengaged dad from the sitcoms—point out to your children the error. Talk to them about the difference a good dad makes. No dad or mom will ever be perfect, but intentionally teach your children to value both parents as equally important to the health and welfare of a child. This can help them make good choices in the future about sex, relationships, and marriage.
If you’re married to a dad, thank him for what he does and tell your children how blessed and thankful you are that they have a good dad.
Read part two of 9 Ways to Raise Pro Abundant Life Children in an Anti-Life Culture later this week.