Big Topics: Religion

I posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago, but  I’ve been thinking about since it happened.

Kale and I found a rosary in the park, and I asked him to pick it up so we could try and find an owner. It sparked a totally unexpected and big conversation, and I hope I did okay.
What’s this? 
It’s a rosary.
What’s this? (Pointing to the cross with Jesus) 
That’s Jesus.
What’s a “jesus”? 
He is a man that lived once and tried to do good.
What do people use a rosary for? Is it a necklace? (trying to put it over his head) 
It’s something they use to pray.
What’s “pray”? 
It’s what many people do to celebrate their religion and faith in God or a different kind of god. [Hindsight: I wish I had said it was when people talk to God]
What’s “god”? 
Gods are the power or being than many people believe is responsible for the earth and how it works. One of them is called just ‘God’, but there are other names, like Allah.
Do we believe in gods? 
I believe in a science-based [Kale totally gets what ‘science’ means] approach to the earth and how it works, but we always act in kindness to people who do believe in gods because everyone can believe what they’d like.
Can I have some cheese when we get home? 
Yes. A thousand times yes. {Phew.}

Kale and I have had a few big talks. We have talked a bit about death when Mooki was a bit sick last year with an abscessed tooth, and what would happen if she died. It’s also come up because Kale gets confused by the fact that my dad isn’t alive but that I have another dad (my step-dad). We’ve also talked a bit about divorce, because then I found myself having to explain what a step-parent is.

Religion is a really big topic though. I feel woefully personally uninformed when it comes to organized religions, and have always lived my life in a “hey man, that’s cool you believe that, enjoy!” sort of attitude. Now, that Kale is starting to ask me bigger questions, I regret not spending more time to learn about religions. Fortunately, back when I sold Usborne Books, I picked up The Encyclopedia of World Religions as a part of my sales kit, and now it sits on our bookshelf, waiting for Kale to get just a bit older so we can look through it together and learn more about religions, or so that I can look up a relatively kid-friendly answer.  I know recently, he asked me,  “Why is that man wearing that funny fabric hat [a turban]?” and I looked it up to be sure I had the right answer.

I try had to find the simplest and most honest answer for his questions about Big Topics, and they generally seem to appease him. Some friends on Facebook and Twitter listed: sex, war, death, babies, ghosts, blood, and evolution as their current Big Topics.

It’s important to me that Kale understands that religion is something he can explore if he’s like, but it’s also important for me to be honest with him about what Ross and I believe, and even the minor differences between the two of us. It’s hard, man! It’s easy (ish) to explain why the river is brown here, why I have to work sometimes, and how the mail gets to our house. But to explain why that lady is wearing a scarf over her face? Or why people think God is in charge? Or when people use God to rationalize death? Man. This parenting thing is tough, yo.

How do you handle Big Topics?



8 years ago