Friday, March 28, 2008

Kids Think the Darnedest Things

I noticed something today about my children. They truly don't believe me when I say, "I don't know." This could be a result of all the absent minded times both George and I have said, "I don't know," when being pelted by questions whilst trying to do something that requires our mental energy- say driving, cooking, or looking for something. Anyway, "I don't know," no longer silences them. For this reason I find myself more and more slipping into totally BSing my children! You know the types, the Cliff Clavins of the world, who will answer you emphatically, as if they are complete experts, if you so much as wonder about something aloud in their general proximity? Well, while I don't thrust my guesses on the children without being prompted (and that's not saying anything really as they are always prompting), I find myself more and more just kind of making stuff up as I go, pretending I know stuff when I haven't the slightest idea.

Today they asked about mud flaps. Lots of questions about mud flaps. I have never thought at all about mud flaps, but somehow I had answers for them! I think anyone overhearing me might recognize that I don't really know what I'm talking about, and that I know I don't know what I'm talking about, but to kids, it's all the same. "Why don't cars have mud flaps?" "Because trucks are taller." Is that even true? It doesn't really matter, as long as I'm not giving them answers to really important things. But sometimes I am. Theological debates even on the four and six year old level are tough, y'all! "If God loves everyone he made, then why does he make some go to hell?" Yikes! I mean, I could argue the nuances of that question pretty well with one of you, but how do I explain total depravity and election to a child while still maintaining God's love for humankind, that he declared Creation good? Plenty of whole churches get that wrong! It's not something you want to be BSing about!

Do y'all remember the lies you believed when you were a kid? Not that any of us were willfully lied to, but there were misunderstandings. My sister told me that abortions were when a baby was flushed down the toilet! While I suppose she had the spirit of the horror of the situation down, I was somewhat relieved (and I don't know why) to know that that wasn't actually happening. Although I suppose if we looked at it more that way, we might be a little less passive about "the right to choose." So that's not a very funny example. But I also remember a movie in which an unmarried woman got pregnant. I was very alarmed and wondered how that could be, to which my mom replied, "sometimes that happens." Well, I thought that blew the whole man and woman thing out of the water- if sometimes it didn't seem to take a man- and lived in perpetual fear of spontaneous conception until somewhere along the way it registered with me that my mom wasn't saying you didn't always have to have a man; she was saying you didn't always have to have a husband.

Anyway, if my kids end up only having weird ideas about mud flaps or the animals' spiritual accountability (that was a whole different can of worms), I will consider myself very blessed. But I am a little nervous to think what kind of strange things they are getting from me, especially when I know I don't know what the heck I'm talking about! In the end, even after the misunderstanding about abortion and getting pregnant, no harm done. Do y'all have any strange misunderstandings from childhood? One other one of mine was just something I heard and misunderstood. My dad's curse of choice was to say (pardon me) "damnation!" He always paused between the first and second syllable, that was just the way he said it I guess, but I always thought he was really mad at the country! For years I thought he was really anti-American because he always seemed to be damning the nation. Well, no, it was just general damnation, I suppose. Anyway, anyone else have a story?


George said...

For a period of about two years I thought my sins were forgiven on Easter, and on Easter alone. I would do my best not to sin after Easter. A few days later I would realize I forgot to not sin and had blown it for the year. Then I would hope that I wouldn't die before the next Easter so I could be forgiven again and not go to hell. Fun stuff.

jennifer h said...

Sometimes I answer the difficult theological questions with "Talk to Daddy about that." Or, "We can talk about that more when you are a little older." It doesn't always work, but sometimes they accept these answers, and we can move on.

For more mundane things, I say, "Maybe we can look that up on the internet when we get home."
This is sort of the cyber-equivalent of offering someone a book about a subject. This tactic has worked nicely for squelching what would have likely been long conversations about things I know nothing to very little aboug.

Renae said...

Ooh, yes, I'm with jennifer h... "Hmm, good question, let's look it up on wikipedia when we get home."

I always thought mud flaps were for displaying those heinous "sexy" woman reflectors. But I guess that's not what you'd want to tell August, eh?

RHB said...

yes, they do say the darndest things! and I would say that yours are asking really good theological questions!

so, you thought daddy was damning the country? imagine what he would say if he ever left the country? (about the other countries)

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Jaybird asked me tonight what Jesus wore instead of underwear. He then asked, "I mean, do you think he had fabric wrapped up like underwear under his robe?" Very funny. Believe it or not, my kids have never asked about mud flaps.

The Rays said...

my pediatrician used to tell me that the TB test was really a TV test that would tell him if i was sitting too close to the tv!

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