Last week, I wrote about my sadness over the “boredom killing” of Christopher Lane in Oklahoma. Three young teens were bored and took his life because of it. I hope you read that post and perhaps talked with young people you know about how they handle boredom. If you did, I’d love to know how those conversations went.

I wrote we must care enough about our youth to do two things. In addition to helping them handle boredom well:

We must value life and teach our children to value life.

When you were young and bored, what did you do? I bet you didn’t think about finding someone to kill. And, I bet if you happened upon someone alone, you didn’t decide to kill him or her. Killing never entered your mind or mine. We valued life. We must help our kids do the same.

This means we value ourselves. Ideally our children see us treating ourselves with respect. They know we get enough sleep because we want to have the emotional energy to be kind tomorrow. They see us making wise food choices so we’ll be healthy and have the energy to accomplish what we need to. They see us appropriately stand up for ourselves and expect to be treated with respect. They see us forgive others and ask for forgiveness because it’s right and we don’t want our heart divided. They hear us talk optimistically about the future.

We must value our children and make sure they know it because we relate to them in certain ways. Our kids may frustrate us at times, but they still deserve to be treated with respect. They should know we want them by what we say, what we don’t say, what we do, and what we don’t do.

Ideally, we regularly want to spend time with our kids. We play with them, read to them, help them learn, affirm them as they practice the piano, and save our desire to have some alone time until they’re in bed. We help them dream positive dreams for their tomorrows.

We don’t just expect our kids to figure out they’re important to us because of the way we treat them. We also tell them. We use the word “because” to strengthen our message. “You’re important to me because __________ .” How would you finish this? Do your children know? “I’m glad you’re ours because __________ .”

When we value our children, we teach them truth. We guard their eyes and minds and make sure they’re exposed to truths and healthy ideas. We’re careful about what video games we let them play and movies we let them watch. We talk about fiction and made up events vs. reality.

When we truly value life, we value people from all cultures, races, and backgrounds. And, our kids know we do. We don’t need to understand them to value them. We don’t need to know them. It would be great if we did, but we don’t have to. We value people because it’s right.

We can disagree with people without being mean and without devaluing those we disagree with. We can agree to disagree. We can decide to inform without needing to persuade. We can even decide we don’t need to inform. We can be present and be quiet.

How much do you value life? What are your reasons? Share them with your kids. Don’t assume they know.

Life is a wonderful thing. Living is precious. Pass it on.