By Mary Kizior
The sanctity of marriage is under attack in our society. Your children have grown up in a culture in which marriage and family are portrayed as unimportant. Many students today will already know the pain of divorce—either in their own family or in the family of a friend. As Saint John Paul II said in 1986, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
Sadly, because of the confusion created by pop culture, many students cannot fully grasp the difference between a legal union of two men or two women and a marriage between one man and one woman. Given this reality, we must change the way we teach our children when it comes to what marriage and family truly mean. In the process, we will help them see that choosing God’s plan for marriage and family is the only way to attain true happiness.
That’s why we created Defend Life: Marriage and Family, a four-class lesson that teaches about the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage. We want to help you equip junior high school students with the tools to address the threats against marriage. In four sessions, Defend Life: Marriage and Family instructs students about how to recognize what the Church teaches about marriage and how to develop ways to practice the virtues necessary for a future vocation.
We understand that not every child has the opportunity to grow up in a loving home with both of their biological parents. But we also understand that God intended marriage to last until one or both spouses dies and to be between one man and one woman. It’s becoming increasingly important to show students the need for strong, healthy marriages and to help them understand why marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman. Additionally, we must train students how to respond to threats against marriage, like divorce, and how to speak this truth with compassion. This means helping them see that unions between people of the same sex are not only against God’s plan for marriage, but betray the meaning of true marital love.
To create this weeklong unit study, we worked with experts like renowned chastity educator Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast; pro-life advocate and pastor, Fr. William Kuchinsky; and Catholic author Philip Lawler—folks who have defended marriage for decades. With their expertise, Defend Life: Marriage and Family is an essential lesson on the sacrament of matrimony and on the different, but equally important roles men and women play in raising and caring for children.
Building a culture of life starts with education. We want students to know that heroic sanctity exists in the married vocation, and they need to know how to respond when marriage comes under attack. We will change society for the better. To do this, we must train students to not only defend marriage and the family, but to cherish them as well.
Mary 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.