My daughter will only listen to women vocalists, and I make mix CDs for the car every few weeks so it’s not All Pink, All the Time. At 5, she comes up with some funny ideas about the songs, like in “Dancing Queen” she heard the lyric as “Cheetah girl, watch that scene, digging the dancing Queen” so we had to play along and refer to ABBA as the Cheetah Girls for about a year. (We did tell her it was ABBA at first, and she got angry. So PEH! And I kept the lie going, partly because it would save me from even being tempted to buy anything by the Disney act. We lived in dread of the day she’d find us out: sing “Mamma Mia” and come home pissed. That day never came.)
Like all kids, she’s very musical. And like all kids her age, she’s starting to wonder where things came from. Since age 2 or so she’s been fascinated by inventors, robots, and how things work. Now she’s beginning to ask what made the seeds that made the grasses, flowers and trees: “Mommy, I came out of your tummy, but where did the world come from?”
“A lot of people have questions about that,” I straightened up, pleased to have a “teaching moment” just show up. “And so they study science to learn about where seeds, and water, and even the earth itself came from.”
“Wait, Mommy! I know! God maked the whole earth!”
I shuddered involuntarily.
“Well, no one really knows the answer for sure, but that is an interesting idea. Yes, many people study religion to learn about how the world was made. So people can do work using science or religion to answer these questions,” I offered, without giving her creationism, I hope.
“No! God did it.” Sensing unnapped, late-afternoon ferocity on the horizon, I let her idea stand. That week, I think her image of God was an old man with a white beard that she’d heard about at school.
But come Sunday, I knew she had options. This year’s religious education program in our Unitarian Universalist church is about world religious traditions. In the past few Sundays she’s colored in Ganesh and Shiva, made a “stained glass” chalice out of tissue paper, and created a camel (part of a lesson on Islam) out of two humps of a paper egg carton and some pipe cleaners. And the questions, as you can imagine, are bound to keep coming.
And when she heard this song last week, she got very excited.
“If God had a name, what would it be
and would you call it to his face
if you were faced with him...?”
I’m pretty sure she thought the CD was reading her mind. “Mommy! What she singing is EXACTLY the same as what I am thinking!”
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