For many reasons (one of them being the inherent verbal diarrhoea prevelant amongst the other three family members) my youngest doesn’t often attempt a complicated conversation with the rest of us. But the other day, the 5 year old confided in me. A fear of rather deep theological concerns:
5 yr old: Mummy – I’m worried. About Dennis the Menace.
Me: What about him?
5 yr old: Worried that…. He doesn’t love Jesus.
Me: (pausing – concerned now…having deliberately taken decision to do my best not to impose my own spiritual beliefs on my kids…) Why? Do you think he should love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? What do you exactly mean by ‘love Jesus’?
5 yr old: Dunno.
Me: Have they been telling you at school that you should love Jesus? (thinking to myself – fair enough it was my daughter’s school as it happens to be a non-controlled Church of Englander….but my lad’s school has an out and out secularly-declared school…)
5 yr old: No. No-one said I should.
Me: Right. Okay (feeling slightly relieved. But then somewhat guilty for feeling relieved. Surely I should want him to love Jesus, or whatever? Or at least *like* the guy?)
5 yr old: It’s just that….Dennis the Menace always does bad things. And the Beano never talks about Jesus does it?
5 yr old: So, I just worry he won’t go to heaven. Dennis.
5 yr old: So. And…. I don’t think I want to go to heaven. Actually. If Dennis the Menace isn’t there.
(***and hey….what can you say to that? Get thee to Confession? Or Pass The Richard Dawkins?***)