We walked with the crowd of people toward an old, dilapidated building. Angry weeds forced their way through every visible crack and crevice. The building rested at the end of a long driveway, and volunteers in brightly colored vests lined either side. We walked in silence as an overwhelming sense of sadness settled around us like a thick blanket.
When we came to a stop, we stared at the building and watched as women filtered in and out of the door that creaked in protest each time it was forced open. We watched and we prayed.
My husband, two children, and I were standing outside of our city’s abortion facility.
Not your typical Saturday family outing.
The Most Dangerous Place
I’ve gotten more than a few strange looks and comments from people when they learn that we’ve taken our children to the abortion facility. And I can’t say I blame them—I’m sure it seems weird on several levels. For one, convincing a 4-year-old and almost 2-year-old to be quiet and cooperative while praying for women walking toward their abortion appointments is no easy task.
But what probably seems strangest is the fact that we’re exposing our children to such darkness. And if I’m honest, I used to wonder the same thing. I wondered if I was wasting my time and energy doing something my kids would never remember. And I wondered if I’d be giving them more than they could handle.
But I’ll never forget one of the first times we went there as a family. One of the leaders of our prayer walk stood before us and said, “Your children are welcome to come pray with us—in fact, we encourage you to bring them here. The most dangerous place for your children is not standing here outside this abortion facility. The most dangerous place is sitting at home, staring at the TV, completely unaware that there are hurting people out here walking toward death and destruction every day.”
This man wasn’t ranting against watching TV or enjoying lazy Saturday mornings. Rather, he was challenging us as parents to be honest with our children about the pain and evil in this world. Because if pain and evil do not exist, then the need for the gospel—for a Savior—doesn’t exist either.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Because if pain and evil do not exist, then the need for the gospel—for a Savior—doesn’t exist either.” quote=”Because if pain and evil do not exist, then the need for the gospel—for a Savior—doesn’t exist either.”]
Creating a Culture of Life
Does this mean we give our young children all the details about the terrible realities in our world? Of course not; at least, not until they’re ready. But we must tell the truth in age-appropriate ways about our world’s brokenness at every stage of their development.
The reality is this: our children will come face-to-face with these truths one way or another. I want my children to not only hear these things from me, but to also be equipped to respond to them with a biblical worldview.
So what does it look like to introduce the dark work of abortion to our children? For us, it means creating a culture of life in our family. Here are some ideas for what this can look like practically:
- We take our children to the abortion facility to pray.
- I bring them to the pregnancy center on a regular basis to volunteer in simple ways, bring a treat for staff and volunteers, or just to say, “Hi.”
- We pray as a family for the moms and dads who are scared and don’t know what to do.
- We give financially to support the pregnancy center.
- We participate in the Walk for Life each year and fill a baby bottle together.
- We talk regularly about how all lives have value, are made in God’s image, and deserve to be protected.
- We practice being gentle with babies and smaller children; we encourage our oldest to protect his younger sister, and affirm him when he demonstrates bravery by sticking up for her or showing gentleness toward her.
Creating these habits forces us to put our faith in action. It shows our children that we don’t just say we’re pro-life, but we live it, too. When we are intentional about celebrating life in even the smallest of ways, it will lead our children to the logical conclusion that abortion is something to be grieved.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”When we are intentional about celebrating life in even the smallest of ways, it will lead our children to the logical conclusion that abortion is something to be grieved.” quote=”When we are intentional about celebrating life in even the smallest of ways, it will lead our children to the logical conclusion that abortion is something to be grieved.”]
Answering Tough Questions
These habits will also lead to natural questions from our kids about abortion. These hard questions should be answered honestly, but in an age-appropriate way. Here are some ways that we have responded to our 4-year-old:
Question #1: What is abortion?
Answer: You know how babies start out in their mommies’ tummies? Well, abortion hurts the babies inside of mommies. Some moms and dads are nervous and scared about being parents, so they think abortion will help them not be afraid. But hurting babies is not God’s plan—God loves those babies and their moms and dads. That’s why we pray for these moms and dads, and that’s why Mommy works at the pregnancy center, so we can help them take care of their babies and be brave parents.
Question #2: Why are those mommies going into that abortion place?
Answer: Many of those women are afraid about being mommies. The abortion place tells them that abortion will solve their problem, but that is a lie. The abortion center does not protect mommies or babies—instead, they hurt mommies and babies. That’s why we are here, so we can pray for them. God loves those babies and their moms and dads, and made them special, just like he made you. The pregnancy center knows these women are scared, and that’s why they’re here, too—to offer help and support, without hurting babies or mommies.
Question #3: Is abortion bad?
Answer: Yes, abortion is evil. It is sin, and it makes God very sad. That’s why we pray for moms and dads who are thinking about abortion and try to give them the chance to make a better choice. The Bible says that everyone has sinned and needs forgiveness, including you and me. The great news is that when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, he paid the price for sin so that we could be with him if we believe in what he has done for us. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven; he offers that same forgiveness to anyone who has had an abortion.
Communicating the Truth
Our son is at an age where he doesn’t fully grasp the concept of death yet. So for now, we limit our descriptions of abortion to “hurting babies” rather than describing the actual violent deaths of unborn children. Death is still very abstract to him; intentionally inflicting pain, however, is something he can wrap his mind around.
Communicating abortion in this way, along with practicing the habits above, helps him understand 4 crucial truths:
- Abortion is wrong
- Abortion grieves God
- Jesus provides forgiveness, healing, and freedom for anyone, including those who have chosen abortion
- Abortion demands a response from us
Empowering our Children
We as parents have our children for only a short time. During that time, our role is to teach, guide, and equip them so that when they step out into the world on their own, they can do so standing on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.
If we can empower them to shine light into the dark and dangerous places of the world, then we need not fear that the world will overcome them. Instead, we can entrust them to Christ, who has already overcome the world.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If we can empower our children to shine light into the dark and dangerous places of the world, then we need not fear that the world will overcome them. Instead, we can entrust them to Christ, who has already overcome the world.” quote=”If we can empower our children to shine light into the dark and dangerous places of the world, then we need not fear that the world will overcome them. Instead, we can entrust them to Christ, who has already overcome the world.”]
The Empowered Advocate Podcast: Share your questions and insight
How do you talk to your children about abortion, especially as they get older? What are some practical ways that you cultivate a culture of valuing human life in your home? What questions have your children asked about this topic, and how did you respond?
We would love for you to share your experiences with us for an upcoming podcast episode on talking with children about abortion. If you’d like to send us your insight or questions, comment below, or email Mary Holloman at mholloman@Gsocarecenter.org.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. She loves to write, play basketball, and eat dark chocolate (sometimes all at once). You can find more of her work at maryholloman.com.