Sometimes your children can jolt you out of a daydream with a what the *BLEEP* kind of question. I had just picked Kit up from preschool and we were happy with the comfortable silence you sometimes get after all the hugs and kisses and “I miss you” were said and done with.
“Mom, where do all the bad people come from? Did God make them? Are they bad or do they become bad?” asked the six-year-old. Woah. Babe, what have they been feeding you in school?!
What do you say to a child who has figured out in his sweet innocent head that since God made man, and God being good, so why would God make someone who is bad or evil? (“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”)
Ok so... this was what went through my head in that few split seconds after Kit asked the question. God made mankind as a reflection of his holiness. Yet at the same time, God gave mankind/Adam the ability to make choices. Mankind then made some lousy decisions and we fell from grace, et cetera, et cetera.
I am not a religious person; agnostic even. (This is the part where I risk losing FB friends because politics and religion are surefire ways to kill friendships.) What I have read or learned about God, Buddha, and other religious beliefs are based on what I’ve learned growing up among Christian relatives, studying in a Catholic school, reading, and travelling all over the world. So do I go the religious route. Or do I go all scientific with the nature versus nurture route.
This is what I told my child in the end. I told him that God made man (because this is what Kit believes in), but some people choose to do bad things later on in their lives. They might have learned it from other bad people or something happened which made them turn bad. Or, I paused, their parents might not have taught them the right things.
Our children are born a clean slate. We mould their life story based on how we see the world. How our parents have taught us and brought us up. Sometimes it is very overwhelming to know that my words and actions can change the child next to me.
He was silent after I answered him. I guess I’d have to be prepared for the next round of questioning.