A quick transcript of a conversation between iBear and I this morning:
Daddy: I’m going to love you forever and ever,
iBear: yeah…. until you die,
Daddy: (without thinking and a little bit stunned) no, even after that.,
iBear: yeah and then when I die we’ll see each other and be together again!
The term “can of worms” is probably the most suitable here. When do you start talking to your four-year-old about this most taboo of subjects, if even at all?
Talk of death usually leads on to religion and if you were to ask my religious belief I’d pause and would probably say agnostic. I’ve never been a true believer but at the same time have always held a passion for all things unexplained. The whole “what if” way of thinking, if you will. A famous alien hunter once said “I want to believe” and that’s probably my life’s mantra. One thing I do feel strongly about, however, is trying to steer my daughter into a position where she can decide on these things for herself. If she came to me one day and told me she’d “found God” I’d back her 100% if that’s the path she truly decided to go down. For this reason we never had her christened as we personally felt it was a bit hypocritical but if she decided that is what she wanted later on in life when she’s old enough to understand what it means, then that’s completely fine with me.
I digress a little…..let’s leave the questions of religious faith and actually dying aside for now as that’s a difficult enough topic in itself – but how did I answer her comments above?
Well, I quite simply said to her that I’d love it if that happened and that seemed to satisfy her and she answered with a resounding “me too!” and went back to dribbling Weetabix down her chin whilst watching Bubble Guppies. A bit of an easy get out to some degree but basically a truth. I have no idea when parents are supposed to have these kinds of chats with their kids but if it came up again and warranted a proper discussion, I hope I could try and explain to her that no one knows what is going to happen when we eventually die but, personally, I hope that there’s more to our final passing than just nothingness (I also hope nothingness is a word….)
But for now, she seems fine with the idea that regardless of being dead or alive we’ll always be together in some way and that’s a pretty awesome way to look at things, isn’t it?
One Dads View
Religious discussion is one of those things that can cause real hurt and tension. But if more people grew up respecting others opinions and acknowledge that no one truly knows what’s accurate, I believe the world would be a better place. Tolerance is key.