Wednesday, November 23, 2011

atheism with pictures? [updated]

Last week a friend was visiting and I overheard Frieda asking her in the next room: 'Who's God?'

My friend nervously called out, 'Is this a real question?'
'Yup.' I answered.
'Um ... would you like me to answer it?'
'Yup.' I sniggered.
Then, although I was deeply curious, I busied myself with Stella, leaving my friend to answer without the added discomfort of my listening in.

So yes, this is the first time my 4 and a half yr old has asked this question.

And here I've been preparing myself for some other Big Talks. Like how exactly the Daddy's sperm gets into the Mummy's egg (she's got the drift of that part and what happens from there, in fact live births are a regular occurrence in her school playground apparently).
Or the most intimidating talk of them all - why we shouldn't blindly trust strangers. Sadly for my open and friendly little girl this one needs to happen real soon.

But ja, the god question - I wasn't quite ready for that one. I recently realised that I've learnt more about myself during the last 4 and a bit years of parenting than in all the years prior to that. And I'm not talking about the actual parenting lessons, just the fact that when living with two little mirrors one is forced to examine one's own motives, opinions, actions etc that much more closely.
Parenting has brought out the best (empathy, pathos, generosity) and the worst (bias, selfishness, intolerance) in me, and now it's forcing me to form an actual position on the Big Stuff too.

Our plan has always been to allow our children to find their own religious belief when they're ready to. But one can only do that from an informed position and obviously they're going to want to know what their parents believe as a starting point. Has anyone brought out The God Delusion as a picture book yet?

Also, I'm glad Frieda first asked that question of a family friend, in our house. I'm pleased that the question wasn't asked in a less sympathetic and secure environment. I feel badly that it so easily could have been, that's not really fair on her.

So here I go, girding my loins to have a Chat, to check if the answer she received satisfied her curiosity, if she has any more questions. For now.

Wow this parenting malarkey just gets more and more interesting doesn't it?

Update: after writing this post I bit the bullet and one afternoon, lounging on my bed with Frieda, I asked her what my friend's answer had been and whether she was satisfied with the answer.
It seems my friend had equated God with that little voice you hear in your head when you know you're doing something wrong. Not a bad answer for now.
I told Frieda that some people called that little voice God, others called it your conscious etc.
Frieda looked at me, leaned over and tugged on my hair. Hard.
'Ow' I shouted, 'what was that for?!'
'There it is,' she answered, 'that little voice.'

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

okay twitter, I get you now #blacktuesday


Today I experienced that thing about Twitter which so many people rave about. I watched, in real time, as history was made - following the hash tag, my home page bumping up every few seconds with another 20 tweets, another 30 tweets, another 60 tweets as the announcement was made.

#BlackTuesday out-trended Thanksgiving for a moment today. Apparently that's huge.

I wish the historical event I was following was a more positive one. I wish I'd been outside Parliament to experience it with my peers, not reading about it once removed - albeit only a few seconds removed.

But Twitter totally came through for me on this one, and I get it now. Fucking marvelous technology.

Not just the real-time connection with the event, but being able to garner all the varied comments - from SA's top newspaper editors to comedians, political commentators, assholes - the voices of reason, of hysteria - to instantly have ones own reaction tempered, inflamed, counter-balanced, validated, refuted. Great stuff.

And instantly those (South Africans) whom I follow fell into two stark categories: those who were talking #blacktuesday and those who weren't. How could anyone really have been tweeting about anything else today?

Twitter, I take it all back. You totally came through for me today.

Even if my government shamefully and horrifyingly didn't.

Monday, November 07, 2011

and then 7 months later ...

... this happened.

Girl in paddling pool on LAWN.

See the journey here and here.

Hello summer.