Martel Maxwell: Question about me ‘going to heaven’ from my son came as a shock

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Kids, as the saying goes, say the funniest things.

But if this week is anything to go by, they also say the most innocent, stop-you-in-your-tracks things that take your breath away.

“Mummy,” said four-year-old Chester after watching an episode of Peppa Pig.

“Yes darling?”

“How do you get to heaven?”

“Well, I believe you kind of float up there,” I said. “Not your whole body but the inside bit called your soul.”

After a beat: “What’s heaven like?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” I said. “I’ve never actually been – but I think it’s beautiful and full of all the things you love.”

His little face arranged itself into a question mark again.

“When will you go to heaven, mummy?”

Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s all a bit much and a question hits you in the stomach like a donkey kick.

How do you reply? How does your heart not slightly break at the mix of absolute purity mixed with the ability to get to the nub of life itself?

Thus far, the trickier questions I’ve been asked include what the difference is between alligators and crocodiles.

Taxing as that particular one was, Google was on hand to answer it. But the answers and anecdotes about what lies the other side of the pearly gates are somewhat thinner on the ground.

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I can’t remembering pondering such big issues at such a young age– although maybe I did. Or perhaps there’s so much more information reaching their wee brains, from TV shows to computer games and the internet, that they want to know about the meaning of life before finishing their Lego model.

You’ll have your own heartbreaking moments when you simply don’t have the answers.

And that’s the thing – they expect you to know everything. But sometimes it comes down to leading them gently to a belief.

I’ll be honest – that they make me question and assess my own beliefs and values can be scary. But why not question your beliefs and what’s really important?

Perhaps we need the hard questions to see so much of what takes up our time is not important at all.

That these challenges come from the mouths of babes is rather beautiful – even if sometimes a little sad.

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