ABC Journalist Makes Heaven Understandable for Children
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For as long as Linsey can remember, she attended sunday school and church. Her family joined a Methodist church, and she came to know the Lord at a young age. Linsey’s family heritage memories are rooted in faith.
She recalls seeing all of her grandparents on their knees at night by their beds praying. “It deposited something in me in a deeper way than words could have ever said.”
As a little girl, Linsey paid close attention to the minister’s sermons. He was compelling as he delivered the sermons and she liked hearing the Word of God. Around the age of 12, she had a feeling of a “strong connection and pull toward God,’ and decided she wanted to be baptized.
FAITH AND WORK
In the world of “network news,” faith and personal beliefs are not typically discussed but Linsey doesn’t shy away from discussing her belief in God and how it encompasses every part of her life. She explains that “faith certainly influences who all of us are in our day-to-day interactions and living no matter what we do for a living.”
She also lives out her faith by giving back in very tangible ways. For example, she hosts and sponsors a Christmas event for a women’s shelter helping to keep them off the streets. Before the birth of her son Ayden, she also served in prison ministry.
KIDS COPING WITH LOSS
When Linsey was looking for books for Ayden to read she discovered that 90% of the lead characters were white while “roughly half of the children in this country are not white,” she explains. So, rather than complain about it, she took action and began writing children’s books. "It's crucial that books have a mirror that children can see themselves and a window to look out to a world that they yet know nothing much about," she shares.
Her fourth and latest book, How High is Heaven?, was inspired by Ayden. One day, he came home from school and asked, “How come my friend has two grandmas and two grandpas and I only have one of each?" Linsey explained that his father's mom, Grandma P, and his paternal grandfather passed away.
Ayden was only one when Grandma P passed away. Linsey showed him pictures of the two of them together and Ayden became fixated on figuring out how to see her again. Linsey explained to him that she was in Heaven now, but he still thought there might be a way to see her.
One day, while on an airplane, Ayden kept looking out the window searching for something in the clouds and sky. He cried out to Linsey, “I don’t see her?” Linsey replied, “You don’t see who?” Ayden responded, “I don’t see Grandma P. I thought we were going to see her since we’re in Heaven.” Linsey held back tears, realizing that Ayden was coping with loss the only way he knew how.
Countless other children are also coping with loss. Data shows that the number of children who have lost a parent or other in-home caregiver to Covid across the United States is estimated to exceed 200,000. Worldwide the number reaches a staggering 5 million.
THE PREMISE OF THE BOOK
In How High is Heaven?, the main character (a little boy like her son) tries to find a way to get to heaven to find his grandma. He tries to build a Lego staircase, use a pogo stick, jump high in the sky on a trampoline, build a rocket ship and even take an airplane ride there.
Linsey explains, “The overarching message that I hope kids will take away with is when someone dies in your life, someone especially you’re used to seeing all the time or that you look forward to seeing, that you’re going to see them again. It was something that made my son feel better.”
The book also shows the little boy attending church with his family. The pastor explains that there is only one way: “If we open our hearts to others and love and believe in the Lord, then we’ll be living our very best life and Heaven will be our reward.”
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