Teaching Our Children The Sanctity of Life
By Angie Ketcham
By Angie Ketcham
Just a few weeks back there was a tragic event in our community when two young teenagers took their lives on the same weekend. As my heart grieved for what the families must have been going through, I reflected on what could bring such young, tender hearts to a place of desperation. Although I didn’t know these girls or their families personally, I wondered what might have been done differently to help these girls understand the value of their lives? I want to make sure that I’ve done everything I can to provide my children with answers to “Who am I?” before the tough stuff sweeps them off their feet. We must help them develop a biblical perspective of who they are and the sacredness of all human life.
In Genesis 1:27, we see that we are created in the image of God. We are able to experience the world around us and be a part of the world around us because of this. Sadly, in Genesis 3, when sin entered the world, we became less than we were created to be. Some would even devalue human life to the same level as a tree or a frog. This is not true, as God set us apart from God’s creation. Psalm 8: 4-5 reminds us that we were created just below the angels and were crowned with glory and honor! We should live our lives with dignity that is inherited rather than earned. We must begin early to teach our children to treat everyone- regardless of their age, color, beliefs, personality, wealth, intelligence, or beauty-with respect and dignity. Here are some age appropriate ways to teach your children to value themselves and those around them:
Using bubble solution, blow bubbles into the air while encouraging your children to clap them, pinch them or catch them in their hands. Ask how the bubbles feel against their skin. Ask what is inside the bubbles. Air? No, breath. Let them take a turn blowing the bubbles. Now share this truth: Just as we can fill a bubble with our breath, that’s how God filled man with His breath when He created us. Since it is easy for a bubble to pop or burst, it must be treated with care. In the same way, human life is fragile and must be protected because it is so valuable. Of all He created, God only shared His breath with humans, which makes us His most special creation. Finally, blow more bubbles together and talk about the differences in their sizes. Think about the people in your family and discuss each person’s uniqueness. Explain that though we are all different, we are similar in this: We have been made in God’s image. (D’Arcy Maher in Thriving Family magazine, 2010)
School Age Activity
Using a mirror, talk with your child about what they see. Point out what characteristics are most like mom or dad, sibling, or unique to that child. Use this opportunity to pour compliments into your child about how much you adore their uniqueness. Remind them that we are all made in the image of God even though we all look different. Have your child breath on the glass. Ask them what they see? It is the breath of Life that God has given us. Even though other animals may have a breath too, we are the only ones that were created with the breath of God. He loved us so much that He breathed his breath in us! Say a special prayer with your child, thanking God for creating us in His image. Also, look up these scriptures and work to memorize them as a family:
Psalm 139: 13-16
Romans 12:10, 13-16
Tween Aged Kids
Here are some ideas for conversations during mealtime. Discuss these concepts with your children:
How do you know if something is alive?
Where does life come from?
What is the difference between human and animal life?
(God made us in His likeness. We’re set apart to be like Him.)
If human life comes from God and belongs to God, how should you treat your siblings? Your grandparents? A classmate with special needs? Your teachers? Someone who teases you? A homeless person?
Remind your child that human life is a precious gift from God and our lives belong to Him. God is holy and created us in His image. Therefore, life is sacred.
(ideas by Susan Martins Miller, Thriving Family magazine, 2010)
Talking with Teens
Do not let culture be the one to shape your teens concept of “Who am I?” Make sure your teen knows that their human dignity is inherent, not earned. This may one day mean the difference between life and death.
1. What does sacred mean?
2. What gives your life value?
3. If all human life is sacred and worthy of respect, how does that influence the way you treat kids who may not be “cool”?
4. Why is everyone entitled to respect? (Read Psalm 139:1-18 together.)
How is God’s design the primary factor in determining each person’s worthiness?
How does respect affect family relationships?
What part should it play when we disagree?
5. How can I better model respect in our relationship? What do I do that affirms your value?
Tell your teens they have inherent dignity and worth both to God and to you.
Pray with your teen that God would guide their decisions and friendships.
(by Pam Woody, Thriving Family magazine, 2010)