By Susan Ciancio
Welcome to October! We have some positive reasons to celebrate throughout the entire month. Not only is October Respect Life Month, but it’s also Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the Month of the Rosary. There has never been a better time to help your children grow closer to God or to teach them that every single person—the preborn, the elderly, someone with a disability, or someone who is sick—has dignity and deserves respect.
Our country may be suffering from the turmoil of riots, the pandemic, racism, and bickering related to the elections, but that should only increase our resolve to help our children learn to make a positive impact on the world. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 awesome lessons that will not only teach them the truth about issues related to the sanctity of life, but will also help them understand that we are all uniquely created by God, that we all have value, and that we can—and should—all make a difference in this world.
With these lessons, you will help create in your children that foundation of love and respect for all human beings. Christ commands us to go out in the world and evangelize. Starting at home is the most important place.
1. Honoring the Blessed Mother: In this lesson, for 3rd grade and older, students learn the story of Mary’s fiat and the integral role she plays in our salvation history.
2. Movie Discussion Guide: Unplanned: This is the perfect companion to the movie Unplanned—Abby Johnson’s compelling true story of the time she spent at Planned Parenthood. Our 8-page guide includes a brief overview of the movie, a Life Theme, 14 discussion questions (and answers!), optional essay questions, and activities for further research. It is a wonderful resource for older teens and a great way to discuss abortion.
3. Dr. Jérôme Lejeune and Trisomy 21: In this lesson, your middle schoolers will learn about Dr. Lejeune—a brilliant scientist, a saintly man, and an outspoken advocate for the “least of these”—and how he was the first person to discover that Down syndrome occurs because of an extra chromosome. Using every opportunity to speak on behalf of preborn babies and people with disabilities, Dr. Lejeune was a pro-life hero who sacrificed his career and worldly honors in order to speak the truth about the horrors of abortion.
4. Caring for the Least of These: This downloadable picture-book lesson shows K-2 students that every person has a duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable people around us.
5. Defend Life: The Beauty of the Developing Human Being: This 4-class lesson for kids in middle school and older teaches the development of preborn babies.
6. Without Mercy: An Introduction to Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Other Threats to the Medically Vulnerable: This 4-class lesson for kids in middle school and older examines the complex topics of euthanasia and assisted suicide and teaches students the reality behind what the culture of death advocates regarding end-of-life issues. Using Church documents, the Catechism, and subject-matter experts, this lesson provides students with a basic understanding of the Catholic Church’s teachings on euthanasia and gives students the tools they need to defend those teachings against current cultural attitudes and pro-euthanasia arguments.
7. Pro-Life Prints: This is a wonderful and fun hands-on 4-day lesson for kids ages 3-7. It reinforces how each person is unique, how every preborn baby is delicate and needs our protection, and how we should pray for others—especially those who are weaker than we are.
8. Who Was the Real Margaret Sanger? This video lesson and unit study for high schoolers exposes the truth about the founder of the largest abortion provider in the United States.
9. Life Is Precious: This 4-week picture book unit study for kids in K-2 grade helps students understand that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, that we are all special and unique, and that it’s important to care for others.
10. All Shapes and Sizes: Learning about the Beauty and Dignity of People with Disabilities and Other Challenges: This 4-week unit study for students in middle school and older examines Down syndrome, autism, the beauty of the elderly, and the fact that it’s okay to be different.
All of these lessons teach our children the importance of caring for others and of taking responsibility for protecting the vulnerable. If we are to return our society to one that values life, we must work every day to create that culture of life in our own homes first. Armed with these tools, our children can then go out into the world and make a difference.