Monday, November 08, 2004

Dinner Conversation
V. is my 10 year old son.
C. is my 12 year old daughter.

V: "Mom, why do we say that short little prayer before dinner at Papa's house?"
Me: "That's saying grace. It's a way of saying thanks to God for the food. To show gratitude."
V: "Why does Papa do it and we don't?"
Me: "Papa is more religious."
V: "Why do we say it again? Why is Papa more religious?"
Me: "Papa thinks about God different than I do. He thanks God that there is enough food for us so we don't starve to death, the way some people in the world do."
V: "What is God? Is God a person?"
Me: "That depends on who you talk to. Christians like Papa often think of God as a person they talk to. Christians say that Jesus is God's son, and that God made the world, including the first people."
V: "God made the world?"
Me: "Christians say that he created everything. I am not a Christian so I don't see it quite that way."
V: "Then where did the first people come from?"
Me: "Apes. It's called evolution. First there were cells that multiplied, then eventually those made little plants, and eventually those became little animals, then bigger animals, and then primates, and at some point primates evolved into people"
C: (chiming in now) "Monkeys? we come from Monkeys?"
V: "So how did the world get made? Did it happen with a fire or an asteroid and wasn't there always water? And then they all died, and there were meteors or something?"
C: "Are you talking about dinosaurs now?"
V: "And then they all died and yes, dinosaurs"
Me: "There is a place in Arizona where they think the asteroid hit the earth and made a huge cloud. They used to think the dinosaurs might have gotten stuck in tar pits. But the thing about evolution is that it doesn't explain much about how people get souls, (here I am thinking, how do I explain soul to a 10 year old?) and..."
C: "Can't they be a combination of both? Don't you think people evolve but there is something with God that makes the soul happen too?"
Me: "Yes, or some people even think someone from another planet, aliens might have come and done something to make people the way they are."
C: "Right Aliens."
V: "And so what does it mean if you are gay?"
Me: "Wait, are we done talking about God and dinosaurs?"
V: "No, what is God anyway?"
Me: "Well, no one knows for sure. What do you think?"
V: "I don't know."
Me: "Well, what if someone asked you and you had to make a guess on a quiz at school. What would you say?"
V: "I'd skip that one."
C: "What if you were going to fail the test and not get out of 4th grade if you didn't answer it?"
V: "That would never happen."
Me: "Yeah, but what would you put down?"
V: "An old old man who is a ghost. Yeah, he's old and he's a ghost."
Me: "Ok, and C, what would you say?"
C: "I would say its a part of everything. In us and in the dog and in everything."
Me: "What part would you say it is? Is there something you'd call that part?"
C: "No, I wouldn't say it that way. It's not a part, it's just in everything."
Me: "So would you say that it's something that goes away when something dies?"
C: "No." (thinks a minute) "It is there all the time, like people who talk about how they know someone is looking over them like an angel or something. It's there when we are alive, but we don't notice it because we are looking at them. Then when someone dies, we start to look inside ourselves and realize that its still there without the body, looking over us, and that's the God part."
Me: "So V, you wanted to know what it meant if someone was gay? Why?"
V: "Kids are saying gay at school. Chris called someone gay, it sounded bad."
C: "Can I explain this one to him?"
Me: "Sure."
C: "Sometimes when a boy acts more girly, the other boys will call him gay. The boy is just kinda different, not the same, and so that's why the other boys will tease him. Maybe he's not as tough or something. Then they call him gay."
Me: "V, do you understand what being gay is?"
V: "No"
Me: "Being gay is when a boy likes a boy, romantically. Or a girl likes a girl. But sometimes people use gay when they mean that a person is acting different than they expect a boy or a girl to act. Maybe the boy isn't interested in sports and likes to sing, or shows his feelings, then he might be labeled gay, but he might not fall in love with another man when he grows up."
C: "Like how I like Mitchell? See, that means I'm probably not going to be gay. Because I'm a girl and he's a boy. If I liked girls like that, then I'd be gay."
V: "So Alyssa likes to play wallball, and Chris said she was so gay, but she just likes to play wallball."
Me: "Yes, girls can like sports and not be gay."
C: "Its lesbian mom. Girls are lesbians if they are gay."
Me: "Yes, but Alyssa liking sports is not a reason to call her gay. V., what did you say when Chris said it?"
V: "I didn't say anything. But Alyssa can play wallball if she wants to, she just likes to play wallball."
Me: "Well, you can say a couple of things if you hear that again. You can say so what? There's nothing wrong with people who are gay. You can say what you just told me, that Alyssa can play any game she wants. You can also say that you don't like it when someone calls her gay. You can also say that you like Alyssa and that it's cool that she plays wallball."
V: "Then they'll tease me and say nah nah nah V-- likes Alyssa."
Me: "Ok ok you might not want to say you LIKE Alyssa. But you can say you like to play wallball with her. You should go tell a teacher if someone calls someone gay and it hurts their feelings."
V: "So can I play my gameboy after dinner?"
Me: "Does this mean you don't have more questions about God or being gay?"
V: (rolls his eyes, like they both usually do when I've blabbered on and on for hours on a simple question.) "DUH"

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