Sunday, March 11, 2012

with wide open eyes

I found myself in a slightly strange position the other day. We were in the car, on the way to... somewhere, when Bodhi asked me if God controlled us. No, I said, he doesn't, free will, blah de blah.

I think this answer is a little easy and leaves out a lot, but ah well.

But if God made us, then doesn't he control us? was the response. Then I found myself telling my 4 year old that some people believe God made us, but nobody is really sure, and all different cultures have different creation stories, and evolution and blah de blah. That's when I heard myself dissuading my small child from holding a simple belief in God, and wondered at the inversion of standard religious educational practices going on in my car/home/family.

I hope it's the right thing to be doing. 'Jesus Loves Me' always filled me with warm comfort when I was a kiddie, despite my completely secular upbringing. I sang variations of 'Mama Loves Me' to mine nonetheless, when they were small. I hope I didn't take anything away. Maybe I am?

Still... tonight Olivia mentions her friend next door, who sneered at her for still sleeping with teddy bears, she hasn't for some time and deems it babyish. Olivia doesn't see it that way - just because you give something up early doesn't make it babyish for anyone else.

Well, I say, I still sleep with a teddy bear. Am I babyish? I suppose it all comes down to what worldview you want to have... do you want a tiny, closed one that judges others for being different to you, or do you want a wide open world view that accepts others' difference and learns and understands? The open one, Olivia says.



Ms. Moon said...

This is a hard one. But how can you tell a child a story you don't believe yourself? I think you did the right thing.

morgor said...

Why do you still sleep with a teddybear?

Jo said...

Helps me sleep... something warm and soft to cuddle? I have a need to cuddle. I didn't when I had someone to sleep with, but now it's just ... comfortable.

Why does anyone sleep with a teddy bear?

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of two funny stories - well one bizarre, one funny.

The first was when my mother went to her slightly batty GP a few months after she was widowed. The visit has nothing to do with the being widowed bit - she was coping pretty well with that - it was because she had an ingrown toenail. The GP insisted on asking her how she was feeling and how death can be difficult and grievinf complex and sometimes just physical contact is important and had she thought of getting a teddy bear. My mother kept politely asking her to look at her toe but the GP was so insistent that eventually my mother had to promise to buy a teddy bear before she could finally persuade the GP to examine her toe and write the required prescription ..

Second one was a conversation between my then 5 year old son and his 7 year old cousin in the back of the car on the way to a family Christmas Party

Nephew: Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Son: Yes
Nephew: Some people don't think he is real, you know.
Son: I know. Some people don't think God is real either. I believe in God and Santa Claus. My daddy doesn't believe in God - but he does believe in Santa Claus
Nephew: Well my Daddy believes in God and Santa Claus!

Annah said...

Saul has a teddy called YaYa, he named him when he got him for his first Christmas, just before his 1st birthday and is now 6. He gets such an amazing amount of comfort from this ragged little bear, and I too feel so calmed when I see them snuggled up together. He said the other day that he loves me and YaYa more than life. I think I would like my own teddy. Hang on in there.....TinTin, tea and a teddy sound lovely too...

Jo said...

To me a teddy just makes sense. But then they always did. Earliest friends...

I think that GP may have had his own teddy bear issues. Bless him.

Arguably, you get more out of believing in Santa Claus than God, perhaps :)

Janine Ashbless said...

Your kids know they are loved, and that people don't all have to be the same as each other. You did good.

Anonymous said...

The GP in question was female - don't know if that makes a difference to the story!

Jo said...

It makes it a little bit better, maybe, but then, maybe that's worse that it does!

Craig Sorensen said...

I also think you did right. You did not take anything away in the realm of possibilities, just gave an honest answer. His question deserved an honest answer, and you gave one.

My parents never pushed me toward any belief system, up to and including not telling me there was a Santa Claus, and I'm thankful for their honesty. It gave me the space to make my own choices where beliefs are concerned.