By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener
Ah Tuesday. Good old predictable Tuesday. I set out a snack of peanut butter and apples, rolled up my sleeves, and got down to the business of begging. Because begging is what it takes to extract even the tiniest morsel of information from my children about their days. Every little detail comes hard won. Except for today. Today Kira started right in about the boys on the playground. Boys with questions. Questions like what does she believe in? Is it monsters or goblins or God?
Monsters. Goblins. Or God.
Previously if I were to hazard a guess about the composition of a second grade boy’s mind, I’d have said some mixture of tetherball, dinosaurs and airplanes. Boy would I have been wrong. These kiddos are wrestling over the big stuff. The mythical, the magical, the religious.
I was concerned that my second grader was unprepared for such topics, but Kira handily bested the sandbox crusaders:
“I can tell you this: I believe in fairies and magic. Because they’re real.”
I sliced up another mackintosh, and casually prodded:
“Fairies and magic? How nice. You know that it’s ok to believe whatever you want to believe. Even if your friends believe in something different. Even if your mommy…”
“Oh, I know you don’t believe in fairies, Mom. That’s ok. It’s ok because fairies are real, so it doesn’t matter if you believe in them or not.”
And here Acadia, who had been silently snacking, chimed in:
“Yeah Mom, fairies are real. But you have to clap to help them stay alive.”
Right-o. Clap. Clap. Clap. More apples anyone?
Kira dipped a slice into the peanut butter, her face still scrunched up pensively.
“Oh, and Mom?”
“Can the police really throw you in jail for not believing in God?”
Whoa. This question came with blinking lights and sirens. This one I had to get right. And get it right within the second or two allotted by my seven year-old’s attention span.
The weight of responsibility to the next generation bore down on my shoulders.
This was important.
I had to do it justice.
But be fair and impartial.
And keep my hand-wringing regarding the direction of our country to myself.
I’ll explain that America was founded on the freedom for each individual to choose for herself what to believe in.
I’ll discuss the importance of respecting each other’s choices and beliefs.
I’ll tell the story of our forefathers, who believed so strongly in freedom from religious persecution that they left their land and took a treacherous journey and dumped tea overboard and recklessly killed the natives so that we could secure a place where it was safe to pray in our own way.
Oops. Where was I?
“No, the police can definitely not throw you in jail for your beliefs.”
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Driving home the next day, Kira admired a neighbor’s yard. “I wish we could grow flowers up the side of our house like that,” she said. Following our earlier theme, I nudged, and asked if she couldn’t just ask a fairy to arrange that for us.
“No Mom, it doesn’t work like that. The fairies don’t need to spend their time on me. I already believe.”
“Oh?” asked I.
“You know Mom, like with Obama. He’s not going to come here to talk to you when he’s got other people out there who still don’t believe. That’s who he needs to visit. It’s the same with the fairies.”
All of which has got me thinking; if the fairies can get by on the hope of a few young believers, then surely Obama will get this chance at the change I so desperately believe in.
To read more of Daphne’s work, visit her eco-fabulous blog, A Greener Biener.