“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein
I’ve blogged before about my deep-thinking son, Joe, and how he struggles with his ideas about evolution versus creation. I’ll admit that we’ve not made it easy on him. We’ve refused to give him definitive answers about science versus the Bible, mainly because we’re not the kind of people who are bound by absolutes. We like wiggle room. My favorite phrase to use with my kids when they’re going off on a tangent about why something is absolutely one way or another is “Let me complicate that thought for you.” Then I proceed to show them another way of thinking. The one thing I have vowed to create is children who are capable of thinking for themselves.
Today Joe came home with a new library book from school entitled The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible. He told me that he wanted to see how his classmates understand dinosaurs and the Bible and how the two are intertwined because it’s never made any sense to him. I was proud. Good for you, Joe, for being willing to learn another point of view. Then, he spilled it. He said he was hoping that maybe it would make so much sense to him that he wouldn’t have to be the only kid in his class who believes in evolution. Dang it. He’s still a tortured soul.
It’s hard knowing that my son struggles with trying to fit in and yet retain his own autonomous thoughts. I imagine it’s rough to be 10 years old and feel out of step with the kids with whom you spend most of your time. But, I’m sticking with my guns on this one. I want to raise thinking, reasoning adults. If I’d wanted sheep, I’d have bought a ranch. There’s no telling where Joe will land on this issue before it’s all said and done. We’re leaving the door wide open. We will accept whatever he decides makes sense to him because that’s what we want: children who can think for themselves and make up their own minds. As long as he’s done his research and found something that makes sense to him, I’ll feel like I’ve done my job. Now, none of this is to say that if he decides that this library book makes sense to him and that dinosaurs and people once coexisted I won’t struggle a bit with his truth. I will. But, I know I can’t have it both ways. I can’t raise a person capable of making up his own mind and then judge him when he doesn’t agree with me.
Sometimes, the parenting decisions we make can make our lives more difficult but nothing in life worth learning comes as an easy lesson.