I don’t know where my children picked it up. We homeschool. We keep an eye on what they watch, and we teach them to use their words to build others up. But, somehow, some way, this expression is still uttered in our home, “I’m going to kill you!”
What they mean is, “I can’t believe you did that!” or “I’m so angry that you said that!” The words they say come from the language of death that circles around them. It’s everywhere. From jokes about suicide and teens texting each other to, “Just kill yourself and make everyone happy,” to hours of virtual killing in video games combined with death-promoting music lyrics and Netflix shows—the culture of death is the one our children are attempting to navigate, daily.
It’s rare to find a TV or movie hero who doesn’t tolerate collateral damage in order to achieve the “greater good.” The recent film, Wonder Woman 1984 was noteworthy for the ways its heroine tried to keep everyone alive, even those actively trying to kill her. Sadly, heroes like her are few and far between in modern media.
The message all too often sent by our culture is that those who get in the way of our goals or agendas are expendable – a devastating message for unborn children who “get in the way” of parents’ goals or aspirations.
To raise Pro Abundant Life children, it’s important that we teach our kids to value life and to respect human dignity. As parents, grandparents, educators, and leaders, we must help the next generation fight for a culture that promotes life and sees every life as valuable. Even those who get in the way of our goals or ambitions. How can we do that?
Here are a few suggestions.
1) Teach Your Children that Every Life is Valuable.
In our home we zap language that degrades or devalues any other human being—no matter how “mean” their words or actions. We talk about God’s command for us to love others, no matter what and how we can only do this through the love of Jesus working in our hearts and lives. We teach our children to respect all people—even those who think or believe very differently than we do. Ultimately, our words flow out of the beliefs we have in our hearts. The best way for us to teach our children to see all people as valuable and all life is precious is to make sure that we believe it for ourselves and then our language will match our hearts.
2) Talk to Your Children about the Atrocities of Abortion
With many schools starting sex education as young as kindergarten, start talking to your children early about what abortion really is. Though they may learn abortion is “ending” a pregnancy, talk to them in an age appropriate way about how abortion ends a baby’s life. Ask your teens what they know about abortion and what they’ve been taught about it. Then, if necessary, take them through the science of how a fetus grows, develops, feels, and thinks . . . long before live birth.
3) Watch What Your Children Watch
Messages that glorify or promote death are lurking everywhere in our current culture. Know what your children are watching. Put parental controls, accountability software, and other safeguards in place to help you navigate the world of information and messages to which your children have access.
When our kids encounter violence in their media, have a conversation with them about it. Discuss the ethical and moral implications of a character’s actions. Talk with them about how we are supposed to treat others, even if they get in our way.
If we’re to protect our children and promote life inside a culture of death for the long haul, helping our children learn to value and respect human life is key.