By Laura Kizior
A culture of life requires respect for the dignity of the human person in everyday life. At school or in the home, there are a myriad of ways to build a culture of life to rejuvenate your own community. Here is a list of things that you can do at the start of the school year to help your family and students embrace a culture of life.
Pray for the defenseless
Start every day with a prayer for life. Pray specifically for the protection of preborn babies and their mothers. One way to pray for preborn babies who are in danger of abortion is to spiritually adopt a baby and pray for him for nine months. You don’t have to actually know of a child who is in danger of an abortion. God knows. In 1973, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen developed a short prayer in response to the legalization of abortion in the United States. The prayer only takes 10 seconds to say, but it can be a powerful witness for life:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn child that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion. Amen.
At the end of the day, remember to pray for the weak, those who are sick, those in danger of death, and those suffering persecution in the Church. Ask God to give all people the strength to rejoice in suffering and to embrace the gift of life that He has given to each one of us. Forming a solid prayer schedule will help keep your family grounded in the values and attitudes that matter most in a culture of life.
Build a culture of life in your neighborhood
Celebrating a culture of life doesn’t always have to involve large projects. You can build a culture of life just by showing other people that they deserve respect and have dignity as human persons. Fall is a great time to offer help to neighbors in need. Offer to rake leaves, pick apples, or do other outside chores that might be difficult for older or disabled neighbors. Younger students can spread joy by visiting or taking gifts to those in the neighborhood who live alone or who have no family members nearby. Whatever you do to spread Christ’s love in your community, always treat other people with respect and let them know how much you care about them as sons and daughters of God.
Take time to build the culture of life as a family
One way to show the members of your family that you care about them is to limit time spent on the Internet or time watching television and spend time doing fun activities together. Turn a nature science project into a family hiking event or go to museums and other outings as a family. Take opportunities to work together, pray together, and have fun together during the school year. Family reading time is another great opportunity to highlight the culture of life with books that contain pro-life principles. With younger children, use picture books like Horton Hears a Who! and more to discuss key pro-life values. As children get older and start pursuing books on their own, use our reading discussion guides to help them see the culture of life working in the books that they love. In or out of the classroom, your students should spend time learning about God’s creation, His plan for our lives, and how to show other people the respect they deserve.
Join the pro-life effort in your area
With the start of the new school year comes the development of new school clubs or community organizations that are active in the defense of life. Joining a group of like-minded people who are passionate about building a culture of life and ending abortion will help your children understand the importance of community in the culture of life. We can’t change the culture on our own, but we can join our efforts with a team of people to end abortion and other threats to life. Working together, we will build a culture of life. If there isn’t a pro-life group at your school or church, try starting one yourself. The benefit to children is that involvement in a pro-life community in their formative years will positively impact the rest of their lives.
Prepare for Pro-Life Month
October is Pro-Life Month and is usually filled with prayer vigils, 40 Days for Life events, and other activities that bring awareness in society about the dangers of abortion. Participating in pro-life events during October is a great way to be a witness in defense of life. But before you can take your students to a pro-life rally, they need to have a solid educational foundation about why we should stand up in defense of others, particularly the preborn. Start using Life Is Precious before October to show your young children the beauty of a preborn baby’s life firsthand. Teach your high school students about the contraceptive mentality with our Margaret Sanger video series or about end-of-life issues with our Euthanasia: An Introduction.
We all know that simply being pro-life is not enough to change the culture. You must go out and evangelize. Education in pro-life beliefs gives your children the boost they need to articulate their deeply-held beliefs and help them change hearts.
There are many things that you can do to build a culture of life in your family. Dedicating your day to the defense of life allows you to pursue opportunities to respect and honor the human person.
Laura Kizior is a content developer for American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program, which stresses the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.