Oh! You Atheists and Agnostics please do not run away from this post, I am not here to preach about God. This post is all about how a casual walk with a couple of youngsters turned out be an interesting one hour, trying to answer difficult questions and admiring the thought process of the younger generation.
Yesterday, Hubs and I took our friends kids, a girl aged 8 years (M) and a boy aged 10 years(K) for a walk near the Lancaster canal. Our friends were going to join us there in some time. The kids are boisterous and intelligent, always full of questions and curious observations. It all started with their recent fad of making wands out of sticks, a la Harry Potter style. Being a Harry Potter fan myself, we discussed the spells you can cast with your wand and Hubs created new ones like 'Archimedes Galileo'.
After some discussion about 'How Earth was considered flat by people many centuries ago' , the conversation turned to God. 'M' was walking with me so I was the wise seer for her and boy!, did she ask some questions? My head made a 360 degrees turn quite a few times and became wobbly at the base, so much so that I had to hold on to it with dear life.
M: Is there a God? How does HE look?
LP:What do you think? (This googly, splattered my brain on the pavement, I was busy collecting it with a sponge and a bucket).
M: Of course, God is there.. else how do they make all these movies in which they show god (You can't beat that logic).
LP: So, how do you think HElooks?
M: Well, HE has an elephant head and is wearing a sari like thingy...
LP: It's called a 'Dhoti'.
M: Do you think 'God' is right now there with us somewhere on this Earth?
LP: Yes, Could be, I am not too sure (By this time, my brains had been mopped up from the pavement and were lying in a heap in a bucket).
I had to have a counter offensive so I asked her.
LP: So then who is Jesus? Is HE God ? HE does not have an elephant head, how can HE be God?
M: Yes HE is , my friend J is a Christian and she says HE is...
I have cousins and they have cousins whom I have never met, but you know we are related, so we are a part of a big family even if we have never met. Some of our family in other countries call him Jesus and we call him Ganesh (At this point I was in a completely 'awwwww' moment).
And then our conversation shifted completely to other important things.
M: Do you know how this world was made? How earth was made?
LP: I so wanted to spew out the Big Bang Theory...but thought it would lead to questions, for which I had answers, but which her 8 year old mind is still not ready to process. I went for the safe 'We are still trying to understand a lot of it'. Scientists around the world are working on it....
M: She was a little shocked with my answer...I could see the wheels turning in her head 'How can that be, we have questions and how can there be no answers?'.
I dodged a few such serious questions like 'Can a Crocodile and a Duck have a baby together?' (I had messed up a talk with a teenager about birds and bees sometime back, so did not want to take a risk with such an impressionable mind).
I could see hubs and 'K' walking a little ahead of us, having a mock Sword fight with sticks in their hands(Ha! Men can always amuse themselves with guns, wars and sword fights. It is left to us women to think and ponder about the big questions of life).
I could see our friends some distance away, walking towards us when another question was hurled at me, 'What is infinity?'
I breathed a sigh of relief that my dignity was still intact, even after an hour long 'Theology discussion' with an 8 year old. I suddenly have a renewed respect for school teachers who handle more than 40 such youngsters each day.
P.S: It was so refreshing to know, how a young mind works. I was glad that the conversation was not about clothes, games and TV or other materialistic things.