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What if my child doesn't want to go to Heaven?
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When your child says this, there's something important to remember and understand before saying anything back. - photo by Kayla Lemmon
Since my husband and I have been married, weve been teachers for the children in our church. Along with that job comes the responsibility to teach the kids about who Jesus is, to tell them they are children of God and to teach doctrine simply so theyll not only understand but also love it.

Its fun to see their eyes light up when they learn about Heavenly Father. Its rewarding to hear them tell stories about helping out kids at school because they want to serve people the way Jesus would.

And thats why it was pretty memorable when one of the kids we teach said with absolute conviction, I dont want to go to Heaven!

It felt like a stab to my heart. Why wouldnt he want to go to Heaven? After everything he had been taught at church and at home, why wouldnt he want to go there?

I asked him what he meant by that, and I finally got it out of him: he knew Jesus died for him, and he knows Heaven is wonderful, but he doesnt want to die. And thats when it all made sense to me and geared me up for how to discuss Heaven with my child when I become a mother.

Here are some things to remember about discussing Heaven with your child.

Let children know they are not going to die like Jesus died

We teach the story of Jesus death; and, because were adults and have a bigger picture of his sacrifice for us, sometimes we dont realize how scary it can be when children hear how Jesus had to die on a cross and be brutalized before he rose up to Heaven. Make sure to tell them He did what He did so they dont have to go through that same kind of experience.

Teach them about who is already in Heaven

Go over old photo albums, or tell stories about relatives or friends who are already in Heaven, happy and waiting to be reunited with the rest of their loved ones. Teach children about the beautiful lives these people led, which led them to Heaven.

Dont make Heaven sound so far-fetched

Kids are inundated with fantasy already from their video games, TV shows and wild imaginations. When discussing Heaven, dont make it sound like just another unrealistic place they see on their television sets. Although we dont know exactly how Heaven will be, talk about what we do know. Discuss families, happiness, beauty and being with Jesus. It doesnt have to be wildly imaginative to make children love and appreciate it.

Focus on how to live a good life and how to love God

Let your children know Heaven is a byproduct of how this life is lived and what you do with it. Focus teachings on making the right choices, loving God, loving their brothers and sisters and being kind. Let them know that getting to Heaven will happen if they live good lives and that they dont have to worry about anything else.

Dont stress out if they dont want to go to Heaven

I know its hard to hear your kids say it. But chances are, the reason they dont want to go to Heaven right now is because theyre scared. Death is scary and so is the unknown, even to us adults! As they live, learn, grow and constantly have your love, nurturing and good example, they will eventually see Heaven as a product of righteous livingand not just a product of death.
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