Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teaching Our Children

If you've just joined us, we're 14 days into the most recent 40 Days For Life campaign. I've been there once alone and once with my family so far this session. Today I've been thinking about the vigil and trying to see it from the other side.

The three times I will attend the vigil with my family will be as part of a larger group. All three groups are Catholic. If you are Catholic, you should know the teaching on the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. In our household, that means teaching our little people, from the very beginning, that babies are God's creation and should be treated as such. I know it probably seems like we have to get nitty-gritty about abortion to make this clear. Not so much. We're pretty general actually. Some mommies are scared or worried or "fill in the reason" and they feel like the baby is better off not to be born so a doctor takes it out of the mommy and the baby's soul returns to God. I think the miscarriage has made the older ones grasp this a little bit better. There was a baby here in my belly and now there is not. Sometimes that's God's plan and some times people choose to make that happen. We should never, ever want the latter to happen because that's not God's plan for His own creation. God loves life!

Anyway, you probably already know what we believe and teach if you read this blog at all. My struggle lately is that each and every one of these Catholic groups has maybe one (if they are lucky) person or family willing to stand for each hour of a four-hour shift and witness to life. That sort of boggles my mind. Here is one of the fundamental teachings of the Church (two actually, I seem to remember something about "Thou Shalt Not Kill") and yet the sign-up sheets remain empty.

I have to surmise that people don't want to go into the abortion talk or the baby talk or whatever else keeps them from bringing their family (or even themselves) down to take part. So, here is my alternative. Perhaps, if you find yourself among those who can't witness in person at an abortion clinic, you can still teach your children what a miracle God creates when He deems each and every person to begin life.

Here is an excellent way to do that:
Skiff and AJ's Fantastic Voyage

This "Altar Gang" video takes kids through a voyage inside the mom's belly to interact with the unborn baby. During that time, they see the "breath of God moment" and learn all about what it means when we say that life begins at conception. The music is catchy and moving. I'm fairly certain my kids would watch it once a day if they were permitted. I know they (even the 3-year-old) have most of it memorized.

Yes it's kind of pricey but, if you're looking for a way to introduce these fundamental truths at a kid-friendly level, this is a great way to go. No, I'm not being paid for this endorsement...I just really love this video.

Ultimately, if it's not your style to stand in front of an abortion clinic, that's OK. Still, we have to teach our children, from the very earliest moments, the value of life. Here was the post-viewing commentary tonight:

Kid #1 - I know that each baby is a miracle and that God creates each of us.
Kid #2 - I feel badly for people that don't realize that each baby is a gift from God.

Can you imagine if an entire generation believed that? Perhaps 40 Days for Life would finally go out of business. Since I never look forward to my shift, I, for one, would welcome that day.


  1. In college, I went to pray regularly with a group (partially from Pitt and partially from Franciscan U.) outside an abortion clinic on Saturday mornings. FUS had put together these excellent booklets of prayers, hymns, etc. that we all used together. I felt like my presence and my prayers were helping in some small way.

    Since having kids, I've gone to pray with a little one - or two - in tow at 40 Days For Life...I think each year. Maybe it's just that my kids are too young still, but it's something I really don't look forward to. I expect that if we make it again this year, I'll spend most of the time making sure Sly doesn't run away or be crazy, trying to calm down Stella who will be fussing the whole time, and dispensing sippy cups and snacks. Any prayers I get in will be in very short little snatches.

    It doesn't *feel* like dragging the kids down there really accomplishes much. But who knows...maybe they serve as a witness to some passer-by? And perhaps it's one little way to start teaching them the value of life, and establishing the importance of offering our prayers for this fallen world.

    1. I completely agree with paragraph #3 ;0)

      I feel frustrated some of the time and some of the time it works out for the hour but it's never something "fun" that we do. We just choose to do it, like the way we try to live our lives, as a witness to others. I have been told it's a strong statement to bring our children there. I will never know if it actually works in this life. I can only pray that taking time out of our day, going somewhere less-than-pleasant, choosing to do something for someone else, will teach our kids the right way to look at the world and maybe make a difference in their generation.

      I look at the dealing with a fussy baby, running toddler, apathetic 6-year-old, etc. as sanctification for me. It also helps me appreciate them more when (and after) we are standing where so many kids lose their lives.