Sunday, September 07, 2008

Talking to Children About Abortion

It was the fall of 1984 and there was an election going on. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were running for re-election against Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro. In my 5th grade class, we were holding a mock debate. I was George Bush! To prepare for the debate, we had to investigate our person's positions on a number of issues. One of them was abortion. Even though abortion had been legal for my entire life, I had never heard of it. I had to ask my parents what it was. They told me, but they weren't happy about it. Perhaps they felt I was too young to learn about such things. Perhaps they were trying to protect me, but I still remember that day when I learned that some babies are killed when they are still in their mother's wombs.

It can be difficult to talk to children about abortion. After all, it is only natural to want to protect our children from the cruelties in our world. However, this past summer, I had that conversation with my two boys, ages 7 and 5. I don't remember how the topic came up, but I know that it was in reference to our current election season. I was explaining the different positions our current presidential candidates hold regarding abortion, and why we are supporting a particular candidate. They found it hard to get their minds around the idea at first. “Why would a mother want to kill her baby?” they asked. I told them that some mothers are very scared and don't think that they can be a good mother. I told them that they don't realize that God will help them. I told them that it is a very sad thing. They understood. The conversation has had a lasting impact. They still bring it up from time to time, usually when they see something on television about the upcoming election.

There are two wonderful children's books that can help children understand the importance of valuing life in the womb. The first is Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman which shows a baby growing in utero with his guardian angel right beside him. It is a great introduction to how a baby develops over the course of the nine months as well as how special that time is. You can read the story at www.angelinthewaters.com.

The second book is Justice Loves Babies written by twins Darlene and Danielle Wibeto. A video of the story can be found on “YouTube” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFjiCn7pd_A). Justice is a little boy whose mother is having a baby girl named Destiny. His father is an obstetrician. Justice is so excited about the upcoming birth of his sister. One night, however, he has a bad dream in which a doctor, dressed like his daddy, is trying to steal the baby from his mother's belly. He wakes up and begs his mother not to let anything happen to his sister. She tells him that she would never let anything bad happen to Destiny, but that not all babies are so lucky. Not all babies have the chance to live. She encourages Justice to pray for the babies, that all may have the opportunity to live. The Wibetos are hoping that more and more children will pray for babies.

There is no question that abortion is a difficult topic to discuss with children, but “Angel in the Waters” and “Justice Loves Babies” can help open the door to having that conversation on an age-appropriate level. It may even encourage them to pray for the babies, and hopefully bring an end to abortion that much sooner.


"Justice Loves Babies" video:


1 comment:

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

I've already had to deal with this one, too -- and Sarah and Chris are only 6 and 8. At school they are talking about the upcoming election, and many of their schoolmates are SO EXCITED about the possibility of the first Black president.

So I said to them, "The color of our President's skin doesn't matter. What matters is whether he or she believes that all children have a right to live. Everything else doesn't matter nearly as much." I then explained that Senator Obama voted for laws that sent children back to heaven before they were even born.

It's not ideal, to have to broach the subject so young. However, when there is such a MONSTROUS difference between the two parties, the two candidates, we need to teach our kids very early that there are some issues that are too important to resort to euphamisms.