It’s been just my six year old and I this afternoon and I find these sweet moments alone with him to be so peaceful. He’s such a great helper and wildly entertaining. After a few hours of hanging around, cleaning, and watching Sponge Bob, I took him with me to Starbucks for my daily fix. Little did I know we’d end up having a deep discussion about the Golden Rule.
For the past year, he’s been fascinated with God and Jesus. I believe this is secretly Jesus’s way of getting back at me for a decision I made when I was thirteen. See, I come from a long line of Catholics and Protestants and my mother is a devout believer. I admire her faith, I call on her help, and I believe she has a straight text-message link to Jesus. However, I do not practice any particular faith as strongly as she.
All of us, my sister and brothers, went to church with her every Sunday when we were growing up. At the age of 13, she gave me the “choice”. I could continue to go to church or I could choose to stay home. I don’t believe it took me more than mere seconds to decide I would stay home every Sunday from then on.
It’s not that I don’t believe in God and Jesus and it’s not that I don’t try to follow his teachings. I just couldn’t sit in church and pay attention. I spent every Sunday counting the number of times the letter “e” occured on every page of the song book or the bible. I must have counted a million “e”s in my days in church. I knew the cues to get on my knees, to stand, to shake the hands of the people next to me, but I had a hard time listening.
Now, I’m blessed with a truly adorable six year old who is fascinated by the whole thing – church, God, Jesus, heaven, and cemetaries. As we don’t live very close to my parents, I’m left to figure out how to feed his curiousity and use it to help drive home some very important lessons. Like the Golden Rule.
While driving to Starbucks, we’re having yet another discussion about God, where he is, who “invented” him, is Jesus really his son, what happened to God and Jesus, where does Jesus live, and a million other questions I struggle to answer. During this discussion I decide to slip in the existance of Jesus’s “rules”.
“You know, Ryan, Jesus has rules for people to follow.”
“Yes, he does. The most important of these is called the Golden Rule.”, stressing the word “golden” to get his attention.
“Wow! What is the golden rule?”, he asks, falling right into my hands.
“The Golden Rule says you should ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ – meaning you should treat all other people as you would want to be treated. For example, you don’t like it when other kids tease you, right?”, I ask.
“Right.”, he responds perfectly.
“So the golden rule says you shouldn’t ever tease other people. If you don’t like it when someone does something to you, then you shouldn’t be the type of person who would do that thing to other people.”
I can literally hear the cogs in his head whirling in thought. They’re slimed with the young, thick, oil of youth and imagination. Whir, whir, whir….
“Huh”, he says. “So then what’s the Copper Rule?”
I can’t help but laugh. First, I’ve never heard him say the word “copper” before and I don’t know how he knows the word. Second, I thought it was quite ironic that he’d slipped all the way down the precious metals chain skipping past silver and bronze and headed straight on down to copper. Perhaps he thought he’d start with an easier rule and work his way up.