The Kid Gives Me Hope September 26, 2010

The Kid Gives Me Hope

There’s a site called Kids Give Me Hope that’s basically the opposite of FMyLife. It features short stories that do exactly what you think they do.

Reader Lauren pointed out this lovely recent submission:

My eight-year-old sister overheard my mother yelling at me because I’m not Christian.

Before bed, I watched her kneel and pray. She told Jesus that she was sorry, but she couldn’t believe in him any more.

When I asked why, she said “When I die, I want to go where you go, not Heaven.”

I cried the hardest I ever have.

How adorable is that.


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  • Very adorable!

  • That is a wonderful story.

  • Claudia

    Wow, Insta-tears. That’s great.

  • Wow.

    Stories like that are so inspiring!

  • Hitch

    Kids know what matters. It’s actually hard work to train it out of them (sadly).

  • From the mouths of babes!
    How many so-called “good” Christians would be willing to ‘trade-in’ their salvation for the sake of a loved one, or ask to make a deal with God to swap places with one of the damned as an unconditional act of love? Until they figure this one out, they just don’t get it. Once they do, there’s just no going back since it reveals the contradictoriness of the whole of Christian narcissistic theology.

  • Eric

    The first reading of this for me gave me the impression of absolute tragedy. There is the conflict between the mother and father. The daughter giving up the belief for the sake of being with her father, a fatal compromise in the mother’s perspective. I think this religion issue with the daughter will just get more complicated if the wife starts pressuring the child. I understand the that shedding these beliefs is good, but it does not make it any less complicated or difficult. I just cannot make this adorable because the structure is that of the tragedies I read so often. I understand the daughter in that I have many theist friends who cannot imagine me, a person loves who humanity so openly and cares for them going to hell. Even a conservative Catholic cannot see me going to hell, which is a self-sacrificing for this Catholic because this is blasphemy. On second look, it shows a lot of love on the daughters part and a good trade, love of her father instead of a supernatural force.

  • Alice

    Aww! Reminds me of what my little sister did when my parents were yelling at me. She refused to let our other sister shoo her out of the room and sat on my lap, hugging me. When she saw I was crying she yelled at my parents that this wasn’t helping, and that families shouldn’t do this to each other. She was eleven. Sometimes I wonder how I can be a better big sister to her than she was to me. I’m glad other people have sweet little sisters too.

  • Nessa

    My six year old and I have many talks about god, heaven and hell. He knows I don’t believe in any of it, but he wants to believe, and so I let him (he’s a smart kid and I’m sure he’ll work it out eventually). The other day he told me that when the sun explodes, and the earth is destroyed, he will grab on to me and drag me to heaven with him.

  • Robert

    Im sorry but i don’t see how any of this could be considered adorable. From what i see, it is a Christian family who has raised their children to be Christians. One of the children becomes an atheist. The mother doesn’t treat her child with Christian love and grace like she should and it cause a younger child to get confused and pray to Jesus to say that she doesn’t believe in him anymore. All too sad unless you consider it inspiring or adorable that there is strive in family.

  • CJ :)

    I’m not so sure how adorable it is either. All I can think of is how confused and upset the child must be. It’s one thing to have someone come to atheism through reflection and thought – quite another to have a child cleaving to her sibling as the result of conflict in the family.

    Sorry – not on the bandwagon for this one. For someone who teaches kids, Hemant, sometimes I wonder how much you really understand them.

  • ATL-Apostate

    *misty eyes*

    Damn you Hemant. Haven’t cried this hard since “the Notebook.”

  • Lamont

    yeah, sorry, that’s effed up.

    more evidence that people who grew up religious and converted to atheism still have a ton of weird issues to work though…

    and i’m talking both about the kid and this blog…

  • muggle

    I didn’t find it adorable either. I found it so sad that it made me want to cry. Poor kid. She didn’t really stop believing in Jesus so much as she loved her older sibling more. And the parents made them both feel like shit. Way to parent, assholes — not! It’s just too sad.

  • B Lazar

    That isn’t so much “lovely” or “adorable” as it is depressing.

    Most probably, this girl still believes in a god, because saying you won’t believe in something won’t make you stop believing in that something. Nothing makes that clearer than the girl kneeling at her bed and telling Jesus that they aren’t on speaking terms anymore. If she really stopped believing, then she wouldn’t be telling Jesus about it.

    Then there is the fact that she is only doing it in the first place because she wants to be with her brother. As she sees it, she has to pick between the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of existence and her older brother.

    It is nice that she likes her brother so much, but this kid is going to have issues.

  • Tina in Houston

    Adorable isn’t the word I would use. As one whose family has chosen Jesus over a family member (me) I can relate to how sad this situation can be.

  • izam

    I don’t know how so many of you interpreted the original claim: “The kid’s solidarity with her sibling is adorable” as:”the family’s religious tension is adorable,” but I think you missed the point entirely.

  • Greg

    As izam says, above, I think some people are misinterpreting what the claim is.

    What people are calling adorable is the kid’s reaction of love for her sibling – “I want to go wherever you go.”

    No-one is saying that it’s adorable that there is strife in the family – to claim they are is utterly daft.

    Again – what is adorable is the love between the two siblings.

  • I think that it is sweet that the kid knows, apparently instinctively, that people and family are more important than religion. It is somewhat bitter that their parents have forgotten this simple idea.

    As a parent I can attest to the power of children to remind one of the beauty that is all around us. We take it for granted as adults but it is all new for them.

  • It’s a beacon of hope when an indoctrinated child can dropkick his/her religion at the littlest provocation involving family.

  • Liz

    The adorable part obviously isn’t the fact the the mom was yelling at the daughter, or that the little kid must OBVIOUSLY still believe in Jesus in order to tell Jesus she doesn’t.

    The adorable part is that the little sister is willing to give up something ‘so important’ as a seat in Heaven to be with her sister (or brother). The fact that she cares more about her older sibling than the religion her parents have probably been forcing on her since birth, that shows the innocent common sense that many children have.

    After reading this though…I had a very bittersweet feeling. I’ve had similar situation like this with my two younger siblings. Ones where I fight with my parents and my little brother or sister say something that just makes it all okay. And it makes me so sad to think that I don’t live at home anymore and I can’t help shape their young minds like I used to. I don’t want them to be rebellious to the point I was and end up fighting for the last 4 years they are at home (like i did) but I really hate knowing that my mother is forcing them to pray and go to church and that they believe it all.

    =/

  • Dee Van Horn

    kids are that easily influenced; so doesn’t christian “school” qualify as child abuse?

  • AxeGrrl

    I don’t find this anecdote ‘depressing’, I find it rather inspiring….

    Why? because it’s an example of one human being valuing their connection to another human being more than the ‘promises’ of religion.

    And one of the things I find most depressing/maddening about religion is that they ALL teach that relating to something ‘outside’ of us (‘God’) is THE most important thing ~ even if it damages human relationships.

    As the almost-always-wise Dan Savage says:

    when religion gets in the way of love, religion is the problem

    Lauren’s very lucky to have such a wise-beyond-her-years younger sister 🙂

  • Heidi

    I agree with the people who are getting a positive message out of this story. That little girl is a wonderful, caring person, despite the negative message her parents are sending with their boogeyman religion.

  • Valhar2000

    I find it adorable too. It reminds me of my relationship with my older sister when I was very young. Our relationship has not soured or anything, but it has changed, and, well, this takes me back.

  • Valhar2000

    And what about this one:

    I had just told my parents I was lesbian and they refused to talk to me.

    I ran to my room, crying for hours. Then my 4 year old sister came and knocked on the door and said ‘I love you. Does that make me a lesbiam?’

    Her innocence and love GMH

    My heart is melting! MY HEART IS MELTING!

  • Rieux

    AxeGrrl:

    I don’t find this anecdote ‘depressing’, I find it rather inspiring….

    Why? because it’s an example of one human being valuing their connection to another human being more than the ‘promises’ of religion.

    Agreed. This anecdote is very similar to the climax of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in which the title character has spent much of the book aiding the escape of Jim, a slave who belongs to Miss Watson, a woman Huck knows—even though Huck believes that helping a slave escape is deeply sinful and will send him to Hell. Here’s the crucial passage:

    So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn’t know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I’ll go and write the letter – and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:

    Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. Huck Finn.

    I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking – thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and suchlike times; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.

    It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

    “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” – and tore it up.

    Brings tears to my eyes, as did the anecdote in Hemant’s post. Humanity is better than its religious delusions.

  • Drew M.

    Wow. I’m surprised that so many commenters failed to understand what unconditional love is and worse, that you find it depressing.

    What sad, sorry lives you must have in order to see a glimpse of beauty as something bad. Not even I am that cynical.

  • muggle

    Wow, how could anyone not get that that was more a horrible story of child abuse of not one but two children? The girl is sweet. The sweet girl is being made to feel like shit as is her older sibling. Cute? Adorable? Definitely not.