It’s hard to really speak about current events in the Church to our 5-year-old. It’s hard to even speak with each other about it. The truth is not clear and there’s just so much out there.
We did discern that we should briefly mention to our son something about what’s going on. How to preserve a child’s innocence, when there’s a two ton elephant in the room?
My son had surely seen us talking in hushed whispers, or seen news stories (on mute), or hearing vague things from the pulpit at our parish. If we didn’t bring it up with him, what would he think we were hiding?
I look at him and I think, how can we preserve his innocence? Between the Pennsylvania grand jury findings and the stuff in the news this past week, and basically everything that’s been happening in the 2000s, at some point, he’s going to find a Church that is not populated by saints, that has sinners, and even evil. How do you explain that to a child? Frankly, I’d rather explain it simply to him now than find out when he’s 15 about all the stuff we didn’t tell him about. I’d rather have him pray with us and see us strengthen our faith in the face of adversity than have him think we were blind followers.
Faith takes work and I think we are headed into a time of some heavy lifting.
We basically told our son, “You know mommy and daddy have been whispering and talking about stuff, right?”
“Well, we aren’t really telling you a whole lot about it because you’re not old enough to understand and mommy and daddy don’t really understand it all.”
“Mommy and Daddy are talking about how we just want the truth and we just want people who made bad choices or did evil things to face consequences. We don’t know the truth right now and when we know it, we might be able to share with you.”
At this point, my son looked more concerned that we were going to go into talking about bad choices he made, and consequences.
“Do you understand?”
“Bad choices, consequences, yep, can I have my crayons?”
My son knows we pray for our Church, we pray for its future. He knows the basics and I guess that’s about all we can give him. Jesus founded our Church, He gave us the Eucharist, and we aren’t going away and we aren’t going to stop going to Mass. We just pray for truth and we pray for justice.
Every kid is different and every kid’s capacity is different. My kid asks tons of questions most of the time. I think he knows this is the time he might not want to ask too many questions and we are completely ok with that. We just feel that in our family’s situation this worked for our kid.
How do you deal with these issues in your family? How does one promote the truth and preserve innocence? I think this is something we will all be trying to figure out for a bit.
Copyright 2018 Meg Herriot