Monica and Bill Dodds
It's startling to realize a second generation is growing up under Roe v. Wade. That's why now, more than ever, it's so important to help young people establish a solid pro-life foundation to support a strong pro-life attitude.
There are countless ways each day parents can show and teach respect - or disrespect - for human life by how they treat and talk about others. Showing respect - Christian concern - for others gives children the broadest and most accurate definition of "pro-life." Anything less than that is incomplete.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Remember society's most vulnerable in family prayers: the unborn child, the elderly, the person who is severely disabled, prisoners on death row and so on. In a word, all those whom society deems expendable, whose lives - far from being seen as sacred - are viewed as an economic drain, a needless burden on society. Specifically mentioning different categories, even without mentioning names and situations, can help personalize the pro-life movement. It can remind both children and parents how many lives are at risk every day. Prayer also can lead to talking about the issues.
- Be an informed voter. This one is a double-header. First, to be informed on the issues and candidates means doing some homework. Ten-second television sound bites and catchy campaign poster slogan are not enough. And second, it means voting. If mom or dad isn't getting to the polls on Election Day or filling out and mailing back an absentee ballot on time, children may conclude that there are a lot of good excuses for not voting. And there really are. There are many legitimate, defensible excuses. But if parents are trying to raise another generation of pro-lifers, none of those excuses - if used again and again - is good enough, legitimate or defensible.
- Use school assignments. Often an older child has to choose a topic for a book report or other research project. Consider one with a pro-life angle. The Internet can be a great resource. There are many fine pro-life sites, many of which can be accessed from the Knights' (of Columbus) Web site: (http://www.kofc.org/about/activities/culture.links.cfm). [Also, this website, the Yuba-Sutter Right to Life-ed.]
- Attend a march, rally or prayer vigil, such as this month's March for Life in Washington, D.C., or similar event in your state or provincial capital. [e.g., Rally for Life held each year on January 22 in Sacramento-ed.] Yes, it takes extra work and additional logistics to get a young child to a rally, march or public recitation of the rosary but what an impact on the young one. What an impact on those who watch. Here is a child marching for a peer, for a potential friend and possible schoolmate.
Courtesy Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, New Haven, CT. Monica and Bill Dodds are the editors of My Daily Visitor magazine and their Web site is www.BillDodds.com. Bills latest book is The Seeker's Guide to the Holy Spirit (Loyola Press). Reprinted from Columbia magazine (January 2004) with permission.