Why Build a Culture of Life through Education?
By Mary Kizior
The pro-life movement has grown immensely over the past few years. The March for Life gets bigger every year, pregnancy resource centers actively save babies from abortion and give support to moms in need, and student pro-life groups are booming.
These are all necessary and powerful ways to give witness to the gospel of life, but there is one area of pro-life activism we sometimes don’t put enough focus on—educating the next generation. If we want to spread the message that every human being’s life is a precious gift from God, we need to start by teaching this message to our children in our homes and in our schools. Saint John Paul II recognized the importance of education in building a culture of life when he wrote in Evangelium Vitae: “Closely connected with the formation of conscience is the work of education, which helps individuals to be ever more human, leads them ever more fully to the truth, instills in them growing respect for life, and trains them in right interpersonal relationships.”
Changing our culture from a culture of death to a culture of life will not happen overnight. Even though each successive generation of college students is becoming more and more pro-life, children and young people still need an education founded in the gospel of life in order to stand up for their beliefs.
We must educate the next generation, not only on the facts of pro-life issues, but on how to live and act in a pro-life manner. Education is key to transforming hearts and minds because it is education which forms the moral consciences of our young people—the future of the pro-life movement.
The culture of life is a way of life that upholds and respects the dignity and sacredness of every human being from the first moment of creation until death. A culture of life celebrates the God-given gift of life in the preborn, in the elderly, the sick, and the disabled by treating each person with dignity and respect and thanking God for that gift of life.
Teachers play an integral role in building up and emphasizing this way of life because of the example they can show their students. Saint John Paul II further states in Evangelium Vitae that “to be truly a people at the service of life we must propose these truths constantly and courageously from the very first proclamation of the Gospel, and thereafter in catechesis, in the various forms of preaching, in personal dialogue and in all educational activity. Teachers, catechists and theologians have the task of emphasizing the anthropological reasons upon which respect for every human life is based.”
As teachers and homeschooling parents, you have the unique opportunity to impart the culture of life to your students. It takes courage to recognize and stand up against the threats to life, particularly as students prepare for college and beyond. It is never too early to start training your students in the culture of life. Parents and teachers need help to spread the gospel of life in every grade level and academic discipline.
Our young people have been bombarded with lies about the dignity of the human person through our school system. Isn’t it time we reclaim our youth by guiding them to the truth?
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. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to see how we can help you foster a culture of life at home and in school.