I knew this topic would come up for discussion sooner or later, genuinely hoping it happens later than sooner. This is a deep, somewhat awkward thing to talk with a young boy of (almost) 7 who is at an impressionable and opinion-forming age. I did not want his half-baked knowledge and approach to ruin the importance of what I wanted to convey.
No, I’m not talking about ‘the’ discussion about birds and bees here. Before that happens A Jr has planned to throw one googly of random questions after another at me, each with a trickier answer than the previous one. I try to give away whatever I can, but sometimes there are things he’s simply not old enough to comprehend!
It was Angel’s feeding time and I was busy trying to feed her without letting her toss and turn her head in all directions and spilling her food everywhere other than her mouth. Imagine the scene! I almost felt like a Nazi forcing my dominance on the whole world.
Anyway, during such a delicate situation A Jr posed a lovely (yeah right!) question for me. Here goes:
A Jr: Mamma, why is Coral Sea bigger than the Arabian Sea?
Me: *trying to find a suitable reply while minding Angel* Umm…what do you mean why? Nature has made them that way. One is big, another is small.
A Jr: But why does nature do that? Can it do it?
Me: Ofcourse beta. Who else will do it? Do you think it is in some person’s power to do it?
A Jr: Um…no….a person cannot do it.
I could sense that he wasn’t satisfied with my answer. So I went ahead and told him about the five elements of nature and how the earth is made up of them. (Meanwhile I was done with Angel’s lunch, thankfully!)
I told him about rains, earthquakes, lightnings and other natural phenomena and how it all happens due to the changes that are inevitable in nature.
At one point of time I asked him if he knew how Earth was when it was formed. ( The answer I was looking for, was that it was a ball of fire.) As expected, his answer was different.
A Jr: Yes I know. Earth was full of darkness when it was formed.
It then struck me that he was taught that in his Moral class. His being a convent school, he’s taught verses from the Bible and knows about the Adam family and Noah. His knowledge in this regard is more than mine. Anyway, before I could say more, the next question came.
A Jr: Mamma, God created the world na…then what does nature do?
Me: *speaking slowly and trying to find appropriate words* Beta, when the Earth was formed people didn’t know what nature was. They thought everything that happened was magic, and it was done by God. When something bad like an earthquake happened and destroyed their homes, people thought God was angry. If there was a rainbow, people thought God was happy. But now we’ve studied so much, and we know that they both happen as a part of nature. Right?
A Jr: *slightly dejected* Ohh…then it means God does nothing?
Me: *sweetly* No beta, how’s that possible? You know God lives in the sky right? How can he come down day and night for every small thing? That’s why he created nature. To do his job.
A Jr: *happily* Okkk…now I understood. It means God is there but he makes nature do his work! God has other things to do, like bless me so I study well. Yeah!
He seemed convinced this time. I don’t know what I said was right or not. I did try not to curb his thirst to know and ask more and believe in what is real, while trying to keep his faith in God intact.
In the debate between science and God, I wonder who will win. Not everything in the world can be explained. Where and how life began is still not known. But one thing is true, where all else fails, faith remains and gives us the will to continue.
I hope I haven’t influenced A Jr in any way. I want him to have his own view when he grows up. Well, a view or (hopefully not) another series of questions! Again, I hope it is the former, not latter. ☺
P.S : A Jr told me later that since Arabian Sea is near Mumbai, where he stays, he wanted it to be bigger than Coral Sea! So much for my explanation! Hmpf!