I think we all agree that our children have to be educated for a new world; an era in which the words “because I told you so” or “we’ve always done it like this” are totally oblivious. While many of us were brought up with this sentiment in varying forms, we now know that our children must remain curious. To question everything. There are no boundaries when it comes to gaining a deeper understanding of the world around us.
Becoming a parent has awakened my curiosity. There are many things that I question from childhood. Before chopping cucumber, one had to cut off the top and then rub the rest of the cucumber and the separated top together until a foam-like substance appeared. Apparently to take away the bitterness of this vegetable. Duly did this for all my years as the designated salad maker for home Sunday lunches (I could never venture into anything more intense than that). Fast forward, I completely forgot about this ‘necessity’ and can you believe that I just wash the said vegetable and chop today?
My “no” was met with confusion, “So what happens at Easter?”.
Last night, I was confronted with another ‘childhood tradition’ when my 5-year-old, as I was putting him to bed, asked if they would find Easter eggs when they woke up. My “no” was met with confusion, “So what happens at Easter?”. Fortunately, he was two seconds away from passing out, way past their bedtime, and I got away with, “Well, that’s a good question”, giving me temporary relief as he was too exhausted to probe any further. A side note, I have learnt the art of admitting when I don’t have an answer. Often followed by, “and what do you think?’. Most times I get a reasonable answer. Other times, I commit to find the correct answer. Or send them to Dad. He’s very smart.
But my KG had poked a bear. Am I the only person who believes that hollow, sickly sweet, plain milk chocolate (no nuts or even crunchy bits) is banal? Forget the sugar rush we intentionally give our children. We even get them excited about ‘hunting’ for this sugary ‘treasure’ which means that finding just one is so boring. There has to be a whole basket. Try telling a kid that they can’t eat it all at one go.
My disconnect with Easter doesn’t end there. There’s still the religious framing and rituals that I am currently wading through. I don’t have all the answers which means that I cannot engage in an honest conversation with my little impressionable souls.
If we questioned more, we would be compelled to solve poverty, insist on equality, and kill patriarchy, once and for all.
Questioning is not only for understanding; it’s an important component of finding solutions. It’s what keeps us alive as humans, as society. If we questioned more, we would be compelled to solve poverty, insist on equality, and kill patriarchy, once and for all. There are two main questions that I have for the branch of Christianity that I was brought up in. Why are men the leaders of the church? In 2021. And why do the same men have to take a vow of chastity? For life. Is it surprising that this is the same church that has witnessed heinous cases of sexual abuse and deviance amidst some of the biggest cover-ups of our time?
We were not attending regular Sunday services long before COVID-19. Many reasons for that; some had nothing to do with the intricacies of religion and more to do with time management. So, when I read a message from a priest during the early days of lockdown in 2020, imploring his flock not to ‘feel guilty’ about attending Sunday mass to ensure that ‘we all stay healthy’, it jolted me so.
In that moment, I was able to identify what had been making me increasingly uncomfortable with structured religion for a while. Religion, not God or even Jesus. The fact that guilt is used as a motivator. If you don’t do this; you won’t get there. And we talk about positive reinforcement for children, when often, we don’t get it ourselves. Surprised that many of us live in fear?
And if you cannot understand, you cannot evolve, you may get stuck.
Is this what I want for my kids? Damn. I’ve spent my life trying to get rid of the guilt, the shame. If you have managed to emerge from childhood and even adulthood without guilt, good on you. Your parents and caregivers did an amazing job. For the rest of us, never stop questioning. If it doesn’t make sense, you cannot understand. And if you cannot understand, you cannot evolve, you may get stuck.
We’re living during a time of momentous change; generations will speak of this for centuries to come. If we do not question, we do ourselves a disservice, and the generations that follow.
Happy Easter Sunday! Easy on the chocolate.