Friday, May 6, 2011

Inquiring young minds want to know...

My younger son has had quite the inquisitive mind lately. And once again, I'm fumbling like Colin Firth in "The President's Speech".

A few weeks before Osama bin Laden was killed, he became suddenly very interested in 9/11. He was only two months old when that tragedy of all tragedies occurred, and I had saved all the papers, Time Magazines and other "memorabilia". He was earning some money by packing up some papers in the office and came upon my 9/11 stash. The questions came forth like a geyser - "How many people died? Why did that guy make those other guys commit suicide? Because they were dead when they drove that plane into the buildings, right? Why did they pick the Twin Towers? What did they want to prove? Did they believe in God?"

Wow. All good questions. Especially that last one. I remembered some good advice I was once given about explaining tough subjects to kids - answer simply, and wait for the next question. If it comes, answer it. If it doesn't, they've received enough information for now.

After bin Laden was killed, the questions continued. "Why is everyone cheering because we killed him? How did the guy that shot him feel? Are the people who liked him going to get mad and attack America again?" I'm floored, Son. Because I wonder the same things. He even asked my parents to save the paper from that now-infamous day, I'm assuming to add to the "collection".

Then there's my impending wedding. My kids really like my fiance, so I'm thankful for that. But sitting there one night, the questions started again. "Why did you and Dad get divorced again? But you're still friends, right? Why couldn't you be friends and be married? You and Chris aren't going to get a divorce are you?" And the best part, "You know, Mom, people fight. You and Chris are going to fight. But you just have to remember that just because you do, you don't have to get a divorce."

Wise words from a young child. And a little look into his fears and concerns about me embarking on a second marriage. Point taken.

Finally, there was this. Last Sunday, during my older son's Confirmation, the Pastor delivered a riveting speech on the testing of faith, and how we are constantly asking why God lets bad things happen. I'm never sure if my son is listening or not, as he sits there eating Gummies and fiddling with his shoelaces. But the other night he said, "So, why does God make bad things happen?" to which I replied, "He doesn't 'make' the bad things happen, necessarily, but he does test us sometimes to make sure that we believe in Him." To which he replied, "But why did he give Grandma cancer?" Sigh. I fumbled to explain, secretly hoping the questions would stop because I had no real answers. Finally he said, "When I think about Grandma having cancer it makes tears happen in my eyes." What can you say to that? (She is now cancer-free, thank you, God.)

Keep asking those questions, Son. You keep me on my toes. You never cease to amaze me with what goes on in your brain. Someday, you'll do great things. You already are.

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