Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

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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.

9 Replies to “Not My Will, But Yours Be Done”

  1. This could have been my post. We’re about to have #6 and still haven’t signed our will. Our most devout family members are either single males or Lutheran. The Lutheran couple already said they wouldn’t make an effort to get them to mass or the sacraments. What do you do?

  2. We’re in the same boat! We just can’t make a decision; so many factors and you’re absolutely right: making sure our children are raised in a faithful Catholic home is of upmost importance. It definitely makes it a difficult decision. But I like what you said about taking the time to make the right decision and even if it hurts family members, knowing that you are considering your children’s eternal souls can bring great joy! Thanks for a great post!!

  3. My husband and I have discussed this numerous times and have no idea what to do. Both of us came from stable, loving homes, but we are the only practicing Catholics we know (outside our parish, where we are still newbies.) I am a convert and he is a revert (from a family of lapsed Catholics.) To others, I’m sure it looks like “we have our pick” – but I know that even if we specified that our children were to be raised Catholic, it wouldn’t happen, not out of malice, but because the appointed guardians wouldn’t understand what that meant or why it was important to us.

  4. Same situation with us! Having a large family makes it even more difficult, as you don’t want the kids separated, but finding someone to take 5 (or more) children has been, for us, impossible.

  5. This is the hard thing isn’t it. We always wanted the kids’ Godparents to raise then, but they’re so busy I can’t even call them and get them to answer. My husband had to do his will before he deployed last year and chose his parents just so the state wouldn’t pick someone else. But that would be a disaster, my mil has to take naps when we all (6 kids, my dh and I) visit, and every time we talk, they tell us to get sterilized, and normally miss Mass because they don’t feel like waking up that early. Not the Catholic background I want for my kids. My parents hate Catholics. We just have to not die. That’s my plan. Now if I could only find a Godparent for this new baby or it will never be baptized.
    Maybe, we could keep a journal for why it is important for our kids to grow up Catholic and our hopes and dreams for them, and stipulate that they have to be able to read it whenever they want (or yearly on their birthday). It could be a little push, and in our own words. If we don’t die, it could be a graduation present, or wedding present.

  6. Same boat here. We have a hard time even picking godparents because we don’t have practicing Catholic family members or friends and we don’t yet know the people in the parish well enough. We have ended up asking my husband’s siblings to be godparents because technically they’re Catholic but they haven’t made any efforts to support our children’s spiritual lives, much less their Catholic spiritual lives. God bless you in your discernment (and in the birth of your little one!)

  7. I am halfway to this place we all fear…my husband died suddenly 4.5 weeks ago and I have to write a will directing who will raise the last minor child.

    In practical terms, should I actually die, my daughter would need stability and as little additional change as possible (considering death itself is fraught with vast amounts of change) so I would want my adult children to keep her in the family home until college. These adult children are currently in their “young adults who leave the Church” phase.

    For any of us who know that whoever would be raising our kid(s) in our absence would likely not do so in a faithful Catholic way…we can use other tools to help us….we can leave some sorts of communication for our kids through words (written or spoken) and/or video telling them how deeply important our faith is and gems of wisdom to keep with them.

    For me right now, I think the example Im setting is the most powerful witness I have…I do not grieve like a person without hope…I speak of my husband in his new home and what I guess about what a purgatory experience might be like…we dont miss Mass yet allow ourselves to be cleansed with tears at Mass.

    As an aside…should you ever be at Mass with a new young widow and surviving child(ren) weeping openly near you…you may want to consider a nice hug for them at the end of Mass…dont try to find WORDS that really wont help (a Deacon’s wife said something so grossly inappropriate to me on my way into my husbands funeral Mass I dropped the f bomb about it, me having lost my speech filter in the midst of my grief) and dont ignore grieving people (are my tears really that frightening to you? you are unlikely to get a repeat of aforementioned f-bomb but even if you did, I bet you are enough of a grown up to handle it).

  8. Oh just to clarify, I didn’t use a vulgarity AT the Deacon’s wife (however much she may have earned it with her poorly chosen words)…I removed myself from her and vented at the next close friend who came along (who was gracious and understanding about my need to get that off my chest).

  9. Many private soohcls offer more need-based aid than merit-based aid. Your parents would have to fill out a financial aid application and turn it into the school or to a clearing house. It would be decided if your family qualifies for financial aid and how much, if you were admitted to the school. Usually when they are admitting students they don’t know which ones are requesting financial aid. All your parents’ info is kept private.They do expect for parents to pay at least for some of the tuition in most instances. They feel parents should sacrifice and may look at home equity, vacations, purchases, etc when making a decision and make suggestions on how the parents can pay more of the tuition. Many kids who attend private soohcls, even the most expensive, are not rich, but middle class kids, and they’re parents are sacrificing to send them to private school. Most soohcls would rather give smaller scholarships to many students, rather than full scholarships to a few students.There are some merit-based scholarships, usually at Catholic soohcls. Generally they look for kids who have excelled in school, test scores (like ISEE or HSPT), extracurricular activities, athletics, etc. Sometimes the scholarships are for those who went to a Catholic elementary school or something of the sort. The best thing you can do to start is to check out the school’s website and don’t miss any of the dates on the admission calendar! They should have a page for financial aid, that will give you all the specifics. Good luck!

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