Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Deep, and the not so Deep

Paul and I have struck up some interesting conversations lately. His brain is a fascinating piece of machinery that I don't think I will ever truly figure out. His questions often lead to deep religious discussions that I hope open his mind a bit to the world outside of our little suburban universe, and then... the conversation ends faster than it began. For example: Yesterday he asked me what gelatin was. I asked why he wanted to know and he said that some of the kids in his class aren't allowed to have it. For the third year in a row he is in a classroom with students who have extreme nut allergies. I am a lactose sensitive vegetarian and he has recently been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Conversations about food restrictions are not new. But I had a feeling the gelatin one was more related to religious practices, so I began explaining first what it was and then why some families choose not to ingest it. He seemed intrigued and we continued to talk about different religious practices and what, in a nutshell, each of the major religions believed. Our community is relatively diverse and I was able to use different families for examples. I wanted to make sure he understood the concept of freedom of religion and that he was free to choose something other than what we currently practice. All in all, I felt pretty good about our conversation. A few weeks back he had asked about the devil and I worried that what I had said then may have scared, confused or bewildered him. It is hard to tell with Paul. You give him an answer and he thinks it over, then asks if he can have a snack, go to a friends', practice his math facts on my tablet. I try to reengage but when he says the conversation is over, it's over. The gelatin discussion was no exception. After my explanation about who believes Jesus was the savior and who doesn't and why some people don't eat certain animal products or walk to worship and how he is free to visit any church at any time, he looked at me and said, "Your vocal cords move up and down when you talk." Hmm. Guess that was the end of that conversation.

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