The Challenges of Articulating Human Dignity to Teens
Q: In light of the most recent legislations concerning the unborn, what resources would you recommend for use in forming teens?
A: The formation of our youth is an urgent need, especially with regard to care for the unborn. Parents, teachers, and other formators need as much support as possible in this effort. As a teacher myself, I see a great need to help teens not only learn their faith, but also how to articulate it lovingly and to learn how to support and provide friendship and counsel to those who are affected by abortion. The lack of concern for the unborn and all marginalized persons is such a widespread problem and is often taken for granted in our culture, that we have to remember that in forming teens (and adults) we are forming them to articulate the truth in love and friendship. There is a great resource from the US Bishops (USCCB) called, “How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion.”
I would say probably the most interesting book out right now that parents can use as a helpful resource for forming teens is Leila Miller and Trent Horn’s new book Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face Today’s Moral Questions. The book not only addresses Abortion, but also Reproductive Technologies, Contraception, Modesty, Pornography, Transgender Identity and other hot button issues that will help to prepare parents to intelligently discuss these issues with their children. Each chapter has two sections: “Advice for Big Kids” and “Advice for Little Kids.”
Online resources I recommend are Live Action (take a look at the list of videos), Chastity Project (lots of resources on life issues), and Emily Wilson Ministries. She’s got videos on life issues, chastity, and other related topics.
Films are another powerful way to form teens. I suggest watching together and discussing:
- HUSH (A documentary by a pro-choice woman on the dangers of abortion)
- Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer
- Unplanned (The memoir of Abby Johnson a former Planned Parenthood director)
- Who Was the Real Margaret Sanger? (designed for teenagers on the racist origins of Planned Parenthood)
- Unprotected: A Pope, The Pill, and the Perils of Sexual Chaos
The best way to form teens is to continue to invest in a good relationship and rapport with you. From here, introduce them to your local supportive pro-life community where they can stay educated, befriend like-minded peers, and be an activist. I would suggest Students for Life-High School, Youth For Life, or Justice For All. If this is too big a time commitment, consider inviting them to pray a rosary in front of an abortion clinic, volunteering with Save the Storks, or at a local crisis pregnancy center or pro-life non-profits such as Maggie’s Place.
Tackling Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body might be the most effective long-term solution to forming teens about abortion because it puts the problem of abortion and other matters of human dignity in light of understanding the totality of the human person. For this I highly recommend Theology of the Body in One Hour by Jason Evert and also Theology of the Body for Teens.
Nota bene: If you or anyone you know is in a crisis pregnancy, has had an abortion (or has taken the abortion pill) or is an abortion worker and needs help, support, or healing, please do not hesitate to reach out by utilizing these resources. Know that I am personally praying for you.
Simone Rizkallah teaches high school seniors moral theology and Church history. She earned her graduate degree in theological studies with an emphasis in systematic theology from Christendom College. She blogs at www.culturalgypsy.com.
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