Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh My God! - My Five Year Old Finds The Almighty

Ali, my five year old, has discovered God. All of my efforts to inoculate her from the God meme has come to naught. For the last few weeks she has invoked HIM regularly.

I cooked her a cheese omelette the other day.

Oh my God! I love this!

I told Ali she was going to her first karate lesson this week.

Oh my God!

I just discovered Cartoon Network is playing old school Looney Tunes. So Ali and I sat and watched the episode where Silvester is trying to eat Tweety (it really doesn't matter which episode it is because they are all the same).

Oh wait, Tweety remembers he can fly and Silvester falls with a great crash.

Oh my God!

At first her invocation of the Sky Fairy didn't bother me. I can have a fairly thick skin for this kind of thing. The worst thing a parent can do is to overreact and make a small problem into a BIG one. That's one of the first things they teach you in Behavior Management 101: ignore the irritating behavior and see what happens. That's all fine and good. If I were a healthy functioning adult I'd let it go.

I'm not that guy.

I will not abide the Sky Fairy to interrupt my enjoyment of Looney Tunes! I grew up watching those cartoons and they are MINE not the Sky Fairy's.

"Ali," I quipped, "we should have a small discussion about..."

Beep!  Beep!  It was the school bus. Well, the God thing can wait. And it did wait for a few days. It had slipped my mind until the Wife brought it to my attention while I was washing the dishes.

"Ali's been saying Oh my God."

"Yep, that has not gone unnoticed. It kinda bugged me and then I thought: What's the harm if she takes the fictitious deity's name in vain?"

The Wife, just as a reminder, is an atheist, too. However, she does not harbour my curmudgeonly attitude of I don't really care what you think about me, thank you very much. She was not raised by rabid wolves (see last post).

She gave me the look.

"People will think we're bad parents when they hear her say that."

I did the math quickly in my head. This was not a topic to get into a heated discussion about, and, well, she was right. How can I give the impression I'm not just rolling over and being uber-submissive? The obvious choice, of course... sarcasm.

"If she says Oh my Zeus! or By Thor's hammer!  would that be OK?"

She gives me a second look.


Later that day Ali and were waiting for the bus, and she dropped another OMG! bomb.

"Ali, do you know who God is?"

She looks at me, "No".

So far, so good.

Even though she had heard it before (obviously it made a big impression on her), I restated the truth about God. "God is an imaginary friend a lot of people have." I let that sink in a bit. "People don't know he is imaginary. Do not tell them he is imaginary because they may get mad."


At that moment the bus came, and off she went to kindergarten.

Now, I haven't gotten any grief because of this policy. Will, who is eight, understands and has executed the Don't tell people god isn't real program well. Ali has a different temperament. While Will is a chill, laid back kid, Ali's default setting is being all alpha-girly. Maybe she'll tell people God isn't real. Who knows? Only time will tell.



  1. I think you are indoctrinating your children with atheism.

    you could say that there are people who believe god exists and there are people who don't. And you you belong to the latter category.

  2. I think he's indoctrinating his children with atheism too, but you say that like it's a bad thing. When you're a parent, you can try to pass on your values directly ("We should help feed those without food.") or indirectly/passive-aggressively ("These people are poor. I think we should help feed them, but there are people who think we shouldn't. What do you think?") or not at all. I'd just as soon be more direct about what I believe. If my kids disagree with me, that's OK.


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