Tuesday, October 2, 2007

And we have to think, did God make toilets?

It’s really my own fault. I’m always pressuring my kids to think.
“Before you talk, THINK.” “Use your brain and THINK.” Or the all-time classic, “Sit here and THINK about what you’ve done!”
But all the yelling aside, there’s not much actual thinking done by kids these days. Serious thinking. Critical thinking. Even creative thinking. Sure, they decide what they want to eat, and decide creatively about what they will draw, but they don’t think about the consequences of eating only cheese for a day or what will happen when they use an entire bottle of glue on one piece of paper.
This is the thinking I’m talking about. The “if this, than that” type of logical noggin-work.
So, wearing my dorky mom hat, we like to have intellectual discussions around the dinner table. Over such delicacies as bologna sandwiches and canned corn, I have explained earth history, social conflicts, and yes, even such wonderful things as why poop is brown.
All to get their little brains turning and moving, as I wait for that million-dollar response.
“But what about ____?”
And so, over ice cream or cookies, I might have to explain why it is that jellyfish don’t have backbones, cowboys and Indians, and yes, even such wonderful things as why sometimes poop is green.
Which leads me to my next thought: sometimes I think I have encouraged too much thinking.
My son started preschool this year, which will instantly tell you that a) he is three-years old, and b) he is in the stage of his life where bathroom-talk has pretty much taken over his psyche. If he’s not IN the bathroom, he’s talking about some aspect of it, and no doubt using countless bathroom adjectives to describe even the sweetest of things.
My son’s preschool is held at a church, meaning that they teach the children Bible verses and other basic principles of the religion. In our own home, we encourage our children’s love of God and faith in God, but we also hope that they will put some of those thinking skills to use and discover their faith somewhat on their own.
Now take the situation at school and mesh it with my son’s potty-mouth, and well, I’d have paid honest money to be a fly on the wall last week at circle time in his class.
“God created the heavens and the earth” said the teacher.
And up shot my son’s hand.
“Did God make cement trucks?” he asked, looking around the room for inspiration for his questions.
“Well, God made man, and man made cement trucks,” answered the teacher.
“Did God make blocks? Books?” he continued, not satisfied with her answer.
And after a short list of other questions, he saved the best for last. “Did God make toilets???”
I’m not sure how the teacher answered, or even if she could answer without giggling. I only know the story as it was told to me, and at first I admit I was a little embarrassed. Why, of all times, would my son choose that holy moment to ask such a goofy question? And why, of all things, would he choose to ask about a toilet?!?
Then I got to practicing what I preach, and did a little thinking myself. I resolved that in his own little heart and his own little mind, he asked the questions he needed to know the answers to, to help him better understand his idea of God.
And if he has to ask his teacher about God and toilets to find his faith, I’m all for it.
I’m just glad he didn’t ask me. I think I would have laughed canned corn across the dinner table.

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