Where’s an Omniscient Policeman When You Need One?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 24, 2012 | 5 comments

Whenever my daughter starts talking about God, I try really hard to treat it like any other ordinary subject. But, inside, you can be sure I’m doing one of those Napoleon Dynamite “yesss” fist pumps — because, chances are, if one of our God conversations lasts more than a few seconds, I’ve got myself a blog post.

You know where I’m going with this.

On Friday, Maxine had a playdate with a good friend of hers (who I love dearly and whose mother happens to be a good friend of mine). Both girls are in kindergarten, though they attend different schools. At one point, when I was out of the room, one of them must have broached the subject of God because when I returned a few minutes later, the friend asked me: “Is it true that Maxine believes in God four days and doesn’t believe in God three days.”

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this to you already, but this split-week business has been Maxine’s position for the last several months now. Such the diplomat, this child. Or maybe she’s hedging her bets.

Anyway, the conversation went like this:

Friend: Is it true that Maxine believes in God four days and doesn’t believe in God three days?

Me: Yes.

Maxine: Told ya.

Friend: I believe in God.

Me: Do you?

Friend: Yes, because babies are born every day.

Me: Oh yeah, and God makes babies, right?

Friend: Yes, God makes all the babies. Do you believe in God?

Me: No, I don’t.

Maxine: Told ya.

Friend: Why not?

Me: Well, I just don’t, I guess. I’ve never seen God.

Friend: I haven’t seen God either, but I believe in him.

Maxine: I’ve never seen God because God is invisible.

Me: Right, and you can either believe in God or not believe in God.

Friend: But if you don’t believe in God, maybe he will be sad.

Me: You think it  might make him sad?

Friend: Yes, it might.

Maxine: I wish a policeman would stand up and say into a microphone “God is real!” or “God is not real!”

Me: That would be great.

Maxine: Does your mom believe in God?

Friend: Yes, my whole family believes in God. Even my cat believes in God.

Maxine: Does your lizard believe in God?

[Note: Friend does not own a lizard.]

Friend: Hahahahahahaha.

Maxine: Hahahahahahaha.

Maxine and friend: Hahahahahahaha.

I spent the rest of the day in awe of these two children. I kept thinking about how they were walking, laughing illustrations of a near-perfect future: Two human beings able to discuss their own unique beliefs with curiosity, mutual respect, compassion and humor. I was so proud of both of them, and all they were doing was being themselves.

As soon as humanly possible, I ducked into my office to write all this down. I couldn’t quite remember what it is the policeman was to have said, so I popped back in on the pair — now happily engaged in Barbies — and asked Maxine to remind me. She did, and I left.

When I was barely out of the room, I heard Maxine say to her friend: “She’s going to write that down. When I say things cute, she writes it down.”

Does anything get by this kid?


5 comments

  1. Robin says:

    I work with a bunch of detectives and only one of them (that I know of) is an agnostic. I sent him this, hoping he’ll appreciate the cuteness of it. I love your blog. I myself am a counselor working in law enforcement. I just had a baby in December, and I enjoy reading your blog since it doesn’t take god so seriously. I’m hoping to lighten up on my annoyance with religion since it’s so… EVERYWHERE! (particularly in Texas where we live.)

  2. Karen Loe says:

    “chances are, if one of our God conversations lasts more than a few seconds, I’ve got myself a blog post.”
    and When I was barely out of the room, I heard Maxine say to her friend: “She’s going to write that down. When I say things cute, she writes it down.”

    THIS IS MAKING ME honestly LOL! LOL

  3. Jason says:

    Somehow I can’t see any of the courtroom types you used to cover uttering the phrase: When I say things cute, she writes it down. That’s good stuff.

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Due out in March 2015, Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious offers a well-researched look at a timely subject: secular parenting. With chapters on avoiding indoctrination, talking about death, vaccinating kids against intolerance, dealing with religious baggage, and getting along with religious relatives, the book offers a refreshingly compassionate approach to raising religiously literate, highly tolerant and critically thinking children capable of making up their own minds about what to believe. The book may be pre-ordered by visiting Brown Paper Press.
 

      Natural Wonderers is a new blog hosted by Wendy Thomas Russell and published by the Patheos faith network. An extension of Russell's previous blog — Relax, It's Just God — Natural Wonderers offers stories and advice on raising curious, compassionate children in secular families.
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