God created man, and then man created God.” Jim, age 4

When we drive around my son and I talk about whatever is on his mind at the moment. The quote above came out the other day, unprompted. We are not a religious family and while he’s seen the inside of a church it was just because we decided to stop and prowl around one day. I hold a deep belief that there is a Creator and I respect other people’s beliefs, whether it be a man with a beard that roams around in heaven (amen), or a Flying Spaghetti Monster (R’amen), or the God of science and medicine (stamen). But I’ve never really discussed God and my views on it with my son. What do I tell him?

I stopped being invested in the Catholic Church, and any other church for that matter, when in seventh grade I had to go before a priest and confess my sins, and he took me through a twenty minute lecture on the proper way to make the sign of the cross. I remember kneeling before this old man while he droned on and on and I had to go through the motions of crossing myself over and over until he deemed what I did as “correct”. It dawned on me then that it was more ritual than rightness. It wasn’t whether I was kind or caring to my fellow man, it wasn’t about love but liturgy. 

I know the conversation with my son will evolve as we get older and our views change a bit more, but for now I want to tell him more than just “be good”, that there is a comfort in knowing we are eternal, that God isn’t spiteful or wrath-filled, that the kindness and mercy we show one another stems from Love – the creator, and that we can heal each other with words. 

What are your views on spirituality? How would you explain it to a four year old? 

Also, today was a grey, drizzly, pouty kind of day. I made the mistake of eating at Arby’s. The weather made me do it.