A Conversation With My Kid About Religion

Don’t ask me how this conversation came up. Some days my daughter and I hop from one topic to the next as quickly as Ohio’s weather changes. And for everyone not familiar with Ohio weather, our motto is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”

One of the jobs as my daughter’s mother and teacher is to do my best to answer all her questions.

Sometimes that’s easy: “Mom, who was the 24th president again?”

And sometimes it’s not so easy: “Mom, why don’t people see how important it is to help each other?”

But I always answer honestly with as much factual information as possible in addition to my personal thoughts.

By the way, she’s currently 10 1/2 years old.

During a conversation on Wednesday of this week, we somehow stumbled on religion, which is not one of my favorite subjects and my daughter knows it. She believes in God, while I take more of a…scientific approach. However, she knows I respect her beliefs and I encourage her to pursue what she feels is right for her life.

“Mom, why can’t a person believe whatever they want to believe?”

“A person can believe whatever they want to believe, but if they want to belong to a particular religion, generally, they have to follow whatever it is that religion dictates as the ‘truth’.”

Her face scrunched up with disapproval. “Well, I think no matter if you’re German, Christian or Catholic, you should be accepted for what you believe and everyone should just accept each other.”

Did she just say “German” was a religion? I snorted with laughter.

She was immediately defensive. “What! What did I say?”

Fighting back my laughter, I explained, “I’m not laughing at you, honey. I’m happy you’re so sweet and your good heart wants everyone to love each other and just accept each other.”

“Yeah, okay, so why did you laugh?”

“Uh, why do you think Germans are a religion? You know Germans are people who live in Germany, right?” This time I masked the amusement by turning my face away from her.

“Of course! It’s like, a culture. I just didn’t know what people in Germany had as their religion and I thought they should be included.”

An in-depth conversation about the many other religions in the world followed, one I’m sure we’ll have several more times throughout her life, but her initial response really cracked me up.

I just love the purity of kids, their thoughts and the questions that pop into their heads. Why she didn’t think to say the French or the Italians or the Chinese, I don’t know. For some reason Germans were first in her mind.

I hope you get a little chuckle out of just one example of the funny comments I enjoy on a daily basis. And I learned over the years to write down her questions and comments. That way I could always remember them. I urge you to do the same because childhood flies by so fast you could get whiplash.

What’s the funniest thing your kid or a relative’s kid ever said or asked you?

6 Replies to “A Conversation With My Kid About Religion

  1. When my son (now 22) was about five he once said to me at bedtime “I know what you and Dad do when I’m in bed at night.” Of course my mind jumped into every direction possible but I had to ask him what he meant. “You eat all the good stuff,” he said.

    I sent that one off to Reader’s Digest, of course written up a bit differently, and several years later they published it and sent me a nice cheque..

    Kids can be so funny without even trying. It’s good that you’re writing things down because our memories seem to fade as the years go by…Boy that almost sounded depressing! hehehe

    1. Oh Laura, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. And I agree about how quickly memories fade. I think our kids say so many hilarious things we just can’t keep everything locked up tight in our memory vault. And that’s why I cheat and write ’em all down. I read a few of the things my daughter said at age three to her a couple of weeks ago and she just rolled on the floor laughing. She couldn’t believe she said half of them. Good times!

  2. Oh – the memories! The one that sticks out in my mind was when my youngest (she was 6 or 7 at the time) started lying. We couldn’t figure out why she would lie about simple things like what she did at school that day. After the usual discussion about lying, she looked at me with those big, innocent eyes and said, “Well, its boring and this sounded more interesting.” Hmmm.

      1. It’s an ongoing problem, but I’m getting better at spotting the fibs (she’s a master). She’s extremely imaginative, kind of in her own little world. I’m torn between being the practical mom who frequently needs her kid to “snap out of it and get stuff done” and the writer who wants to nurture that creativity. The dreaded balancing act!

  3. After a couple months of tossing this story around the family, I really think she meant Jewish but said Germans. We’d actually been watching something about the Holocaust on the History Channel (or a similar channel) a few days before the above conversation. Anywho, it still cracks me up, even if it was just a verbal typo.

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