of gods and mommies
So, I'm getting the kids dressed and Frank notices a small scrape on the bridge of his nose. He declares he's bleeding! Cue argument.
Him: I need a Band-Aid!
Me: No, you don't. You're not wearing a Band-Aid on your face to school.
Him: But it's bleeding. I'm getting a band-aid.
Me: No, you don't need one.
Him: I'm getting a Band-Aid. It's my nose.
Me: I grew you in my belly, so it's really my nose.
Him: Well, God made you so it's God's.
I faltered for a moment, then tried saying God gave him to me, so it's still my nose, but the conversation started to fall apart anyway. He gave up and my attention was diverted to the other two kids. Comments about God have popped up over the past couple of years as a result of his church-based preschool. I typically parent with the premise, "I'm your mother. I AM God," but this is slightly different.
I was raised attending church every Sunday, was the first alter-girl at the parish and became very involved in the youth group as a teen. Religion wasn't shoved down my throat, but it was a staple of my life. My husband wasn't raised with a lot of religion. We agreed that we would include religion in our children's upbringing and provide room for personal choices later on. Today, while all of our children have been baptized, we very rarely attend Sunday services. Church and religion have just not made it into our weekends. We barely make to the weekends. Our "Day of Rest" ritual begins with a big, hot breakfast, extra coffee and spending 150 minutes half-watching the CBS Sunday Morning Show and half-telling the kids this is Mommy and Daddy's time so go play in the other room.
Children's logic is centered around absolutes and I embrace honest discussion with my own kids, resisting lies to avoid giving thoughtful and sometimes difficult answers. All this while I struggle with my own beliefs. I am morally opposed to some religious teachings, like birth control and homosexuality are sinful. Do I believe in God anymore? How do I attend church when all I feel is conflict between what had been a fundamental part of my upbringing and what I now believe in my mind and heart? Brief, simple answers my kids can comprehend while establishing space for independent thought are not easily dispensed, but it can be done.
Right now, I answer with various forms of God made science possible and science takes it from there. I acknowledge that different people believe different things and preach tolerance for those differences. Occasionally I don't have an immediate answer, in which case, "You know, sweetie, I really don't have an answer for that one right now, but we can figure it out later," works most of the time.
Frank never did put a Band-Aid on his face. And as far as my beliefs go, I believe in my kids, my husband and, most importantly, myself. The rest can be figured out later.