September 07, 2006

Big Questions

Questions I Have Been Asked This Week By My 3-Year-Old:

"What's behind the sky?"

"Where was Party Girl when I was in your belly? No, really, where did she live?"

"Where were people when the dinosaurs were here? Why aren't they here now?"

"What is the sun?"

"How does water get up in the clouds?"

"When I grow up, will I be Party Girl's mama?"

I expect tomorrow she'll ask Mama? What's the meaning of life? and we'll have covered it all.

Not knowing where to begin, I've been hesitant to teach her about God. Here's our take on this very important issue: M and I both feel deep in our hearts that God exists. We also agree that religion was created by man and I at least feel that the many different forms of religion on this earth are just different versions of the same story (to put it simply.) Basically, we have our beliefs, but we also respect the beliefs of others. We want to teach our girls about God and to know the peace that comes from faith, but we also want them to understand that there are other ideas out there.

I've been prefacing a lot of our discussions about God with the phrase Some people believe.... or Mommy and Daddy believe... Today as I brushed her hair she said Some people believe I should have one pony on top of my head. I don't know if the information about God is getting through, but the inability to put commitment behind my statements sure is.

Complicating the issue is the fact that we lost our church over a year ago. It was small, loving, liberal, and open. We've yet to settle on a new church, so each Sunday finds us home eating bacon and eggs and reading the Sunday paper in our jammies instead of in church. Sass has memories of being in church, but has never been to any kind of Sunday school. This is on my to-do list, for sure.

But in the meantime, it seems like I should be able to handle this. So I'm looking for ideas and advice. How did you approach this stuff with your kids, or how will you when you get there?


Blogger Emptyman said...

None of those questions -- and they're great kid questions -- require a divine explanation.

How does one "lose" a church? Are you sure you didn't just misplace it?

My parents had no particular religious inclinations but wanted to make sure that their kids stayed open-minded and got exposure to different faith communities before we made up our own minds about religious topics. As a result, while only one of the three of us has any discernable religious faith, all three of us are pretty knowledgable and ecumenical in our approach to people of various convictions. But my parents would never give a religious answer to a question unless it was a blatantly religious question, and then they gave answers that incorporated the beliefs of as many different faiths as they could think of.

Also we listened to bluegrass music, which is 1/3 gospel. Some of that theology probably seeped in.

September 08, 2006 10:40 AM  
Blogger Her Grace said...


I realize that none of those questions require answers involving God. I guess the point I was trying to make is that my kid is starting to ask big questions, some of them being very "How did we get here?" in nature. She also asks about people who are no longer here, my grandparents especially, when we talk about them, and I struggle to answer her sometimes.

Ecumenical is exactly the word I was looking for, I just couldn't spit it out last night. Our last church was a Congregational church, but was very active in the lives of other churches.

One loses a church when a minister takes over who is mean-spirited and self-absorbed and unconcerned with the spiritual well being of his church. When one leaves a service feeling anger and frustration instead of with a sense of learning and peace, it's time to move on. We did our part in trying to turn things around and struggled with the decision for a very long time. It was the right choice, just a very hard one to make.

I'm not really aiming to teach Sass about religion at this point, since we seem to be in muddy waters ourselves right now when it comes to religion, but more about God. Who is He? What's He all about? And so on...

September 08, 2006 11:04 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of ways to explain God or just integrate more evidence of your faith into your daily life. But then the reality of who Sass is sets in and I know it won't be good enough.

She doesn't like half-answers or bits of information. She likes to tear things apart and really understand them. Sass has such an inquisitive nature and she thinks above and beyond her years.

So me? I'm no help whatsoever. But then again, I'm a lapsed Catholic. Would you really want my advice?

September 08, 2006 9:04 PM  

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