Thursday, March 15, 2012

10-year old angst

Snuggler was having a rough day yesterday. It wasn't clear if it was physical or emotional in origin, or simply one of those didn't-get-enough-sleep difficulties, but she stayed home from co-op and busied herself on little projects all day. I mean, all day. The child has an abundance of imagination.

So I get up this morning and find a small packet on top of a piece of paper. And the paper reads:

In this neat packet, the secrets of meaning are uncovered. Existential crises begone! No more doubt! Moving, breathing, speaking, LIVING at its core meaning. 
$3.99 ONLY at M-Mart
M-Mart, shop smart

Need I add that my 10yo has been going through waves of doubt and angst? This is the one who asks questions like, "How can you be happy in heaven if someone you love is in hell?" and "How do we know that what we believe is true?" (She's not going to be content with "Because the Bible says it is" -- nor should she be. Anyone can claim any book holds the truth.) 

Naturally the questions only surface at 10pm, when I have zero brain resources remaining. So we're trying to shift the discussions to a more reasonable hour. I mean, you can't do justice to a question like "Why does it seem like in the Old Testament God zapped you for doing something wrong, and then in the New Testament he's all lovey-dovey?" when it's already half an hour past bedtime.

Personally, I believe doubt is a good and healthy thing. I want my kids to think for themselves, and to think things through. It's no crime (and certainly no sin) to wonder about things, and to ask hard questions, and to demand solid answers. I would rather teach my kids how to explore a doubt than to gloss over it because it's uncomfortable or I don't immediately know the answer. Healthy faith requires healthy curiosity. And patience. And love. 

Oh... and what was inside the packet? A colorful array of broken toothpicks. Heaven knows what that means. I don't!


  1. I agree that the Faith never need fear inquiry. It is impossible for science and faith to be at odds.

  2. May I commend Snuggler for asking these wonderfully provacative questions NOW, instead of waiting until I did at a VERY advanced age, and which I have still not been able to answer to my satisfaction. Would you please have her consider the answers,then post them, as I think she may be able to come up with them before I do.

  3. I think Cardinal Newmann said something like "a thousand questions don't amount to one doubt". Totally agree with you, asking questions is a good thing, as long as we sincerely seek answers!

  4. I was not that good of a speller at ten, but those were exactly the kinds of questions I asked myself and my poor Mom all the time. I think Snuggler is lucky to have you. I always reinforce to my children that the essential truths are timeless: nature. love. physical body. caring for others in action. spirit. prayer. creating. Staying connected with the essentials is how we 'know' what is true.

  5. I think these questions ALWAYS occur past ten p.m. Not sure why, but it seems to be a historical trend. (Maybe they've been sitting on them all day. Maybe it's when their heads clear.) Also usually past ten years of age, but then, this is Snuggler.

    Laura, perennially Anonymous because of some WordPress/Blogger interface problem

  6. Wow- she is asking amazing questions. Are you sure she's only 10? Thanks for sharing your family, life and faith with us here. It is food for thought and helpful to me as a mom of a preschooler and another on the way.