With the birth of each successive child, my husband becomes more and more paranoid about finishing our will. And, rightly so, because with 5 children under 5 if something were to happen to both of us we would of course need an earthly angel to continue the daunting task of parenting our children. Yet, we have continued to put off this task. Perhaps partly because it’s such a devastating idea to any parent, but mostly it’s because we cannot agree on whom these two amazing people who would raise our children should be.
How as Catholic parents do we possibly decide whom shall take over our parenting should we both die? What is this decision based on? How can we ever know that we’ve made the right decision?
The secular world may have a much easier task when making this choice. It’s much more black and white for them. Questions like, who can best provide for my children, who loves them the most, who has time and space for them, etc., quickly provide concrete answers that can lead parents to the best option.
But, as Catholics, our main purpose for becoming parents is to get our children to Heaven. While this is no easy task, it is a simple statement. Every decision we make for our children, every act of love and every failure, each day we only have to ask ourselves one thing. Will this get my child to Heaven?
And so, choosing whom to will our children to should follow that same line. Whom do we believe will be the best at getting our children to Heaven? This is not a black and white question, in fact there is far too much grey to consider. It becomes difficult to walk the line between considering all of the factors, and judgement. We must carefully discern the spiritual lives of others which is both uncomfortable and quite challenging. Yet, we must.
While material goods, financial security, and physical and emotional well-being are important for our children, these are not the most important consideration. Catholic parents must find suitable adults who actively practice the Catholic faith.
For many Catholic couples, that completely narrows the field. It cuts out a lot of family members and friends who might otherwise be wonderful choices. It can also lead to hurt feelings within the extended family. But, despite our earthly heartbreaks, oh what rewards this choice can bring when made with a joyful heart for the love of one’s children.
My husband and I have approximately three days before our fifth child is born, and we know we must make this decision now, like right now. It is only through great discernment and prayer that we will be able to do so.