Driving home from school each day, these are the questions I get from Evan, almost seven years old. They come out of nowhere, and I’m never quite ready for them…
Who is the first person that caused the traffic?
Why can’t we go fast and slow at the same time?
When was Santa Claus born?
If Santa is old, does that mean he’ll die soon?
Did Hitler kill children? Even babies?
Can children get a disease?
Will you die before me, Mommy?
Who is the world’s youngest person?
Why did someone kill Martin Luther King, Jr.?
This is just last week’s worth of questions. It has always been my policy to answer my children’s questions in a simplistic, age-appropriate and honest way. But tell me…what is the simple answer to any of these?
Oh how I wish he could stay in the magic bubble of belief where Santa and toothfairies are real and children never die and good guys always win. But as I watch him ingesting my “simple” answers, I can see him changing. No longer is he the five-year-old boy that didn’t know what the word “death” meant, nor the six-year-old boy who believed that all people lived to be 100 years old.
I can only hope to keep improving my own outlook on the “real world”, to expose Evan to beauty and art and culture and philanthropy, and hope that he inherits faith and hope from us as he makes his way into this crazy-beautiful, messy, chaotic world of wonder.
In the meantime, I’d better steel myself for next week’s questions…