My daughter (4) goes three times a week to a christian preschool/daycare. There really isn't good childcare around here unless it's affiliated with religion or really expensive. I don't know why that is, it could be for a number of reasons, maybe the church (and by extension it's members) help offset the cost of the childcare, maybe it falls under a non-profit organization and saves money that way, or maybe it's just that it's more comforting to drop your kids off at a religious daycare and so you have to be affiliated with religion to be successful. Maybe it's a little of all three. I like to think that it's the church offsetting the cost. It really gives a sense of community, even if it's not quite my community. Anyways, christmas is coming up soon, and according to the school calendar on the curriculum for today was Jesus Christ part 1. I was actually looking forward to it because my daughter and I always have such interesting conversations after some one talks religion with her. I think she really enjoys that not everyone agrees on religion. Everything else I either don't know, or (I think) I do, but god and Jesus are a maybe. So, here is as close as I can remember the conversation that we had after I picked her up today.
Me - How was school today?
Lily - Good. (long pause) Papa, what do you pray for?
Me - I don't pray for anything. I don't believe that Jesus and God are real and so I don't pray. What do you pray for?
Lily - I pray for Jesus. It's good for him. He wants everything to be safe. He wants the trees, and all the leaves that are falling, and the fence and my hair and my hands... (Lily lists off everything that she sees for about a minute)...to be safe.
Me - Oh, that' really nice of him.
Lily - Yeah. Did you know that Jesus has a brother? (really excited)
Me - (smiling big) No? Who is his brother?
Lily - God, but he's better than him.
Me - He is?
Lily - (the following was said very excitedly and quickly)Yes. He's a king and Jesus is a king too. He's a really good king. He wants everyone to pray for him and everything to be safe, but he died. (spoken in a hushed voice) but don't tell Grandma cause I don't think she knows. But you don't believe in his family and Mama doesn't either, but Grandma believes in his family. And Brother and me we're to0 little to know, so we'll decide later (YES! That's my girl!).
Me- That's right, papa (for some reason I talk in third person with my kids sometimes) doesn't think there is any reason to believe in Jesus' family, but Grandma does. Grandma believes that Jesus died, and after three days he came back to life.
Lily - yeah, and when he came back he was different. He changed his name or something.
Me - What did he change his name to?
Lily - Jesus
Me - What was it before he died?
Lily - Jesus too, but it was different.
We pull up in the drive way and I start getting them out. She is telling me again all of the things that she sees and that Jesus wants them to be safe. When I get her out she has a postcard sized piece of paper that I now see has a picture of a girl praying on it, as well as a bunch of food, a happy looking family, a church, and a bible.
Me - What's this girl doing?
Lily - Praying for Jesus.
Me - What's this right here? (pointing at the Bible)
Lily - Um, I know! It's the bible!
Me - Like Grandma reads?
Lily - Yeah! but this ones not a making bible.
Me - A making bible?
Lily - Yeah, this one's not for making stuff, but some bibles are. Grandma's shows you how to make like food and stuff, but this one doesn't.
Me - Oh, I think you are talking about Grandma's cook book, but she also has a bible like this one.
Lily - No, this one is different. Some bibles show you how to make things and some don't.
Me - Oh, I see.
We get inside and her brother throws a tantrum because it's nap time and he is super tired and by the time he stops fussing Lily is all tucked into her bed to take a nap, so we didn't get to talk about Jesus and his brother anymore. I'm sure that more will come soon. She is so impressionable at this age. It's not surprising that so many people can't question their faith. If you were raised that Jesus is an absolute fact, for all of your childhood, then it would be just as much of a fact to you as anything else. I wouldn't be bothered if my kids grew up to believe in Jesus and god, or any of the other countless gods out there, but I would be bothered if they only believed it because someone (including me) told them to.
Edit : I couldn't remember how Lily worded the bible for making stuff. After she woke up and explained to me, she said it the same way and so I changed it. Apparently there are two types of bibles, making-bibles and regular ones. Not sure what she is confused about, but she knows the difference between cook books and bibles, and insists that her teachers said that grandma's was a making-bible.