And I never will.
At the time I was a children’s pastor and though I didn’t have children of my own, teaching children about God and His Word was (and still is) a passion of mine.
In talking with a young mom she told me, “I hope my kids go to heaven”.
It took everything in me not to flip my lid, outwardly anyway, on the inside my lid was flipped.
You “hope” they go to heaven?
That shouldn’t even be in question.
That’s your job!
I wanted to spew these things out but, instead, I tried to express them in a more gentle way… leaving out the “that’s your job” part.
That conversation was a turning point for me as a children’s minister. Up until then, I felt my “job” was to teach kids about God in a fun, relatable way. And it was. But if I wanted to be effective, really effective, I needed to get to parents. I needed to help them understand their role as spiritual leaders.
You can’t just “hope” your child goes to heaven.
After that conversation, I began spending a lot more time with parents. Over the years, I’ve had many heartfelt conversations with moms on how to raise their children spiritually.
Now that I’m a mother, I’ve thought back to that conversation quite a bit. When you spend your career working with kids but have none of your own, you hear, “just wait until you have kids” or “you’ll change your mind when you have kids” more times than I’d like to recall.
So, have I changed my mind?
Do I think I was too hard on that young mom?
Not at all. If anything, I wish I had done more to help her.
Our job as (Christian) parents is to train our children “in the way [they] should go”. It’s not to “hope” them there. It’s a serious job. One that, I believe, is deserving of the passion I had that day many years ago.
I recognize the high calling God has placed on my life, the calling to be Malachi’s mother. I recognize the importance of being a purpose driven mother. I can’t just “hope” him into a God-fearing man.
I have to teach him, train him and guide him on purpose.