Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Theological Miscommunication

During church my children try to whisper, but often forget. Even when they remember, it is usually a stage whisper so that everyone around us can hear their thoughts on our faith.

“Mom,” Henry asks, pointing at an icon of Jesus on the cross, “What’s this guy doin’?” I promise that he has actually seen this icon before, and we have, indeed, talked about this important moment upon which our faith hinges.

“Hey Mom,” Luke says, trying to get my attention from across the carpet. “What is that box?” he asks, pointing at the fancy wooden box up on a front table that holds donations. “Is God’s heart locked in that box?”

When someone’s cell phone rings, Henry says, “Mama, what is that?” I try to mouth “cell phone” at him since I am several feet away, but Henry doesn’t hear correctly and asks, looking puzzled, “It is mother earth?”

On Holy Thursday, the day that we commemorate the Last Supper, Henry strikes up a conversation with an acquaintance: “Excuse me? Today, one of Jesus’ friends frayed him,” Henry says, forgetting the word “betrayed” that I had used to explain this holy day to him. Perhaps I should have considered a more concrete, child-friendly word. But somehow, I can’t bring myself to tell my children that Judas was “mean to Jesus.” I already have problems with the cartoon-illustrated children’s bible that they own and love.

I’m realizing, like my friend Nancy pointed out in the comments section of my last post, that my children don’t care that much about church itself yet, but care that it is something that is a part of our family routine. They see us valuing our faith, and so they follow along. We, as their parents, are the most god-like presence to them, which is wonderful and scary at the same time. Because clearly, if I wanted to, I could teach them that mother earth frayed God and placed his heart in a locked box.


so yung said...

I could burst with love and adoration! I can't wait to see you all. Please prep Luke and Henry to jam as many cute, adorable, and memorable things such as these into our next visit. Sincerely, your Jacksons-starved friend.

Anonymous said...

Ser, these blogs are going to be so priceless to you someday....all these little things that the kids do and think that you will never forget but, amazingly, you do forget. I think mothering is so intense that you just sort of live in the moment of where your kids are at the time.
I LOVE this blog. I can just picture Luke and Henry saying this stuff...the looks on their faces, their little voices....I miss you so much. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

PS It was nice of you not to mention that the said "cartoon-illustrated children's bible" was a gift from their Orthodox Grandma.... :)

Julia said...

Ser, I appreciated the last post about the struggle of being in church with kids, and now this one too. This Holy Week and Easter was SO HARD with Esme. We couldn't get over how physically demanding it was with her, since last year she was still content to snooze in her car seat. I guess we are just beginning to understand what it means to go to church with a child, sans nursery. But I noticed also that she is starting to pick up on so much church stuff-- trying to cross herself and saying alleluia a lot. She also has started running around the church and kissing the crosses carved into the ends of the pews. It's interesting because I really haven't tried to teach her these things and they do seem sort of jumbled up randomly with all the other things she is learning right now. Your blog makes me wonder what it all means inside her little head.

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