Monday, July 27, 2009

Teaching the pro-life view to 2nd graders

Scott Klusendorf explains how he made a case for the pro-life position to his daughter's 2nd grade public school class.
Here's how I began: I held up a parchment copy of The Declaration of Independence (which the class had studied a bit) and read the following: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men."

I then asked, "What makes us equal? It can't be our body size, because some are larger than others. It can't be our intelligence, because some have good report cards while others have bad. It can't be our bellybuttons because some point out rather than in. So what makes us equal?"

From all over the room, tiny voices shot back "We're all human!" Exactly. The only thing we all share equally is our humaness.

I then held up my book The Case for Life. The cover shows a picture of two tiny feet. "What's this?" Without a moment’s delay, kids all over that room shouted, "a baby in the mommy's tummy."

"Right. And what kind of baby is this?" Again, there was no delay. "It's a human baby."

Right again. "But how is this human in the picture different than us?" Hands shot up everywhere. "It's smaller." "It looks different." "It can't talk yet." "You can't see his eyes yet."

"True. Do you think that any of those differences mean the baby in the picture is less human than any of us?"

A resounding chorus of voices shot back, "No!"

Notice the kids didn't need a doctorate degree to grasp the obvious truth about our common human nature. I made a case for human equality (and thus, a case for the pro-life view) without mentioning the word abortion. More importantly, they understood perfectly what I was driving at.

Admittedly, I was having a blast with these kids. At the same time, they were teaching me an important lesson. The pro-life movement must find ways to reach kids earlier, before the surrounding culture talks them out of what they already know to be true. In many ways, these youngsters had better moral reasoning skills than many college students I meet!