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Captains wife

Talking to Young Children About Heaven

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Posted (edited)

I wanted to know what others thought about talking to kids about Heaven as I'm struggling a bit (without starting a religious debate please). I'm not terribly religious although I want to revisit my faith at some point (I grew up Quaker). But I felt after my son's father passed away and he was old enough to talk to about it that I told him his Dad was in heaven (and in a way was watching over us and his spirit was "with" us). I didn't go into details but wanted to provide some comfort for my son by telling him this and I also followed what the self-help books mentioned when telling young kids about heaven - e.g. you need to be clear its not a place that Dad can come back from (like a trip). I told him that since Ive never been there I don't know what its like but I imagine its a wonderful place and somewhere where his Dad was very happy and able to enjoy what he loves (although he misses us). Last night, he (who is under 10 years of age) mentioned that he wasn't worried about going to heaven since it was a place where he could do what he wants (e.g. no homework) and he misses his Dad and wants to see him in Heaven.....(He has really been missing his Dad recently). My heart sank. I tried to explain your whole body isn't in Heaven but its more like your spirit and when you die, your body really stops working and everyone on Earth really misses you and once you leave Earth you are gone forever so I explained none of his friends and family want his to go to Heaven any time soon as its so permanent and I would be heart broken. I explained to him that although every one of us will die at some point that we want to be on this wonderful Earth for as long as we can and try and be as happy as we can and live a good life. I'm not sure I'm handling this well - any advice, thoughts about how to explain this to my son? Or any comments on how you handled it? Thank you

Edited by Captains wife

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The way I informed my kids that their mother was dead was "Mommy's in heaven". It was very comforting for them as little guys - they were 8 and 9 at the time. I say go for it, if that is what you want to do. What is the harm if your son believes he will see his father in heaven anyway? Is that what upset you? For catholics, for example, the teaching is that the body is resurrected (literally). Even if we/they are wrong, so what?, it's heaven and all questions, problems, issues, etc. are resolved. We don't have to understand it on our terms to help a child with his understanding. 

 

Case in point - my neighbor kids; 8,6,4 and 2 just lost their grandmother. They come over to play all the time and the last time they were here, the 4 yo explained to me, very patiently, that gramma was in heaven and it was sad now because she is gone but "I'll see her again when I die" and that will be a happy day.  Of course it would! 

 

It is a hard subject but honestly, I'd support your son's belief that he and his father will be reunited eventually. It will make him happy. Again, what would be the harm? In eighty years your son passes and gets to heaven and doesn't physically see his Dad. He's going to be p.o'd with you because you mislead him? Doubtful. 

 

Good luck! Mike

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Portside said:

The way I informed my kids that their mother was dead was "Mommy's in heaven". It was very comforting for them as little guys - they were 8 and 9 at the time. I say go for it, if that is what you want to do. What is the harm if your son believes he will see his father in heaven anyway? Is that what upset you? For catholics, for example, the teaching is that the body is resurrected (literally). Even if we/they are wrong, so what?, it's heaven and all questions, problems, issues, etc. are resolved. We don't have to understand it on our terms to help a child with his understanding. 

 

Case in point - my neighbor kids; 8,6,4 and 2 just lost their grandmother. They come over to play all the time and the last time they were here, the 4 yo explained to me, very patiently, that gramma was in heaven and it was sad now because she is gone but "I'll see her again when I die" and that will be a happy day.  Of course it would! 

 

It is a hard subject but honestly, I'd support your son's belief that he and his father will be reunited eventually. It will make him happy. Again, what would be the harm? In eighty years your son passes and gets to heaven and doesn't physically see his Dad. He's going to be p.o'd with you because you mislead him? Doubtful. 

 

Good luck! Mike

Thanks - appreciate the response. My concern was more than he might want to get to heaven sooner to see his Dad.....not that he will see his Dad one day. I'm certainly ok if he believes that they will reunite in Heaven later in life (when hes much older!)

Edited by Captains wife

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Oh, I see - sorry. I also was concerned for one of my sons in that fashion. He grew up to be a fine, well adjusted young man but I certainly get your worry. 

 

When our children suffer, we suffer too. :( 

 

Best wishes, Mike

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I think you've handled this well Captain's Wife, while still keeping an eye that he doesn't want to go to heaven before his natural time on Earth is over. My daughter was 12 when my wife passed away, and we are not very religious, but we both know there is a spiritual world and that my wife is watching over us (in a good way).  She has reached out to friends through mediums in a way that leaves us no doubt of this.  My daughter and I feel closer to her at home than in a Church or at her grave.

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Being okay with death and actively seeking death are two totally different things. Why did he bring up going to heaven - you mentioned homework- mine have said things asking the lines of "if I die right now I'll never have to <fill in blank> again because I'll be having fun  in heaven with dad" over the years.  My response has usually been something like "but you're not dying right now so go get <fill in blank> done" 😂

 

While this conversation would probably make many people cringe it is just the fact of our lives. Our children are intimately acquainted with death.

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