A couple of days ago I commented on a post about Jesus and it reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my seven-year-old.
We were talking about death.
Religion is a tricky thing in general to introduce to a child, but it becomes even more challenging when the parents are of different denominations. Mom was adopted into a Jewish family who are more social in their experience than conservative, while Dad (me) was raised in a Catholic family – twelve years of parochial and parents who still go to church every Sunday.
Early on we skirted both religions but as the kids entered school, and we’re talking public school at that, religion began to creep into their lives because religion is everywhere in the South. The good news is that through school they’ve made friends with kids of different races and religions. They have been introduced to the concept of fasting by their Egyptian Muslim friend, and turned on to Hindu gods by another neighbor.
They are leaps and bounds ahead of my introduction to the concept that there is more than one god that people can believe in.
So I’m sitting there talking to my seven-year-old who is asking me what happens to you when you die. From his exposure to Hinduism he is aware of reincarnation (samsara) and through Catholicism/Judaism heaven and hell. He’s pondering what animal he’d like to return as when he turns to me and candidly says, “There are four worlds, Dad.”
“There are?” I say.
“Yes. Heaven, Hell, earth and the Tropical World,” he explains.
“The Tropical World?” I ask. “What’s that?”
“It’s the place where dead pets go,” he says.
I think that is where I want to go when I die…