Sometimes my kids amaze me with how they come out with statements and comments more suited to adult conversations.
Like this morning, when I was driving a couple of my girls out to a friends’ place for a play date. Conversation had gone over the usual ground, with me lecturing them on their expected behaviour modification, when suddenly Miss8 popped a bit of a deep question into the mix.
“Why do people believe there’s a God?” she asked me.
We’d just passed a church billboard propped up in the middle of a farmer’s field providing a call to redemption for passers-by and shade for cows.
Now regular readers might have gleaned there aren’t a lot of posts about kids mucking up in church pews or how much fun door knocking to spread the word is. We don’t hold with that sort of thing. Having said that, we don’t mind at all if others do – until they knock on our door.
Thing is, I’d like to think we’re pretty good at allowing our kids to draw their own conclusions. Our oldest two went to a Catholic school and our youngest five will also be attending a local church run high school.
The only thing I won’t stand for is when people push their belief system on the lives of other people, expecting non-believers or heathens to live by the rules of a holy book. Fortunately, most religious people I know don’t, so I don’t have to cry foul very often.
But the point is, my kids can make up their own minds and I’ll just answer their questions as honestly as I know how.
“Because it makes some sort of sense to them,” I told her.
Miss8 thought on that for a moment.
“Do you think there’s a God?”
Tough one to answer both honestly and diplomatically.
“I don’t think it’s possible to know if there is or isn’t,” I said. “I’m what they call agnostic. I don’t think religions really know though.”
More deep thought from the back seat.
“I used to believe in God when I was a little girl,” she said, much to my amusement, “but now I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and I don’t think there is one. But I guess we’ll find out when we die.”
I was in my thirties when I leapfrogged from belief to doubt to shrugging. Miss8 has always shown a great capacity to think things through. Suddenly I’m daydreaming she’ll write a work of philosophy one day.
“That’s exactly how I feel,” I told her.
“But if we can’t know, why do some people believe in God?”
“That’s what they call faith, I guess. I really don’t know,” I answered her. “You’d have to ask them. But maybe it’s because they like the idea of someone or something keeping an eye on them.”
And here’s where she went back to being eight years old.
“But, Dad,” she exclaimed, “that’s what Santa Claus is for!”