My six-year old daughter came into my room the other day and asked, “Mom? What’s the difference between Christmas and Harmonica?”
First thing I did was let her know it was “Hanukkah” not “Harmonica”—which made a lot of things make more sense to her. She was confused why there was a holiday devoted to that tiny instrument. It also explained to me why, up until now, she thought “Harmonica” was such a hilarious holiday. After setting that straight, I told her what I knew about both the Hanukkah and Christmas stories.
My daughter stopped me as I was in the middle of the stories and said, “Mom? Who’s God?”
I was honestly taken aback that my daughter didn’t know who God was. My first thought was one of self-judgment at my shoddy parenting, for clearly this was about me not introducing God into her vocabulary. But really—like so much—this wasn’t about me at all. It was about her opportunity to be curious and learn about her world and what she believes at her pace.
I said to her, “People have different ideas about God. God can really be what you think.”
She asked me, “Is God a girl or a boy?”
I said, “God doesn’t have to be a girl or a boy….Some people find God in nature. I like to think of God as energy that’s all around. ”
She looked at me after being quiet for a moment and said, “I like to think of God as Art.”
I didn’t have anything else to say after that. We just sat there in silence for a while. I was thinking about how grateful I was to have this amazing little girl in my life. Maybe she was thinking about Art.
It’s hard to tell with a six-year old.
Regardless, I love when I get to be curious with her and be reminded that I don’t have to get her—or anyone else—to any particular answer. In fact, there is no “right place to be.” No “right way” to do things—there is only what is.
And what is, is perfect.