“Innocence is always unsuspicious.”
Many moons ago, Daniel, my eight-year-old son’s best friend had come for a sleepover. The boys and our five-year-old daughter had a blast playing, laughing, and enjoying homemade, Indian food, Daniel’s favorite, for dinner.
Then began the “sleepover” part of the evening for the boys and a sleepless night for us parents!
The following morning, the boys somehow dragged themselves down for a quick breakfast before Helen, Daniel’s mum came to fetch him.
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Once Daniel left, our son, a reserved and sensitive child was quieter than usual most of the morning. My husband and I suspected a lack of sleep and tiredness at first. But he seemed troubled. So, after coaxing him to tell us what was bothering him, he blurted, “I won’t go to heaven.” We were perplexed. And when asked why he explained that last night as Daniel was reading his bible, he suddenly asked our son whether he prayed and read the holy bible. When my son answered that he prayed daily and read holy books, but not the bible, Daniel told him that those who don’t read the bible don’t go to heaven. So, our son was distraught.
Oh, the innocence of eight-year-olds!
We sat him down, put our arms around him, and explained that different people follow different religions. Each one has a holy book/books and a place of worship. We should respect other people’s choice of religions, holy books, their way of life, and beliefs. We assured him that all good, kind, and caring people from every religion go to heaven. As he is thoughtful and kind, so will he. All he has to do is be a “Good Human Being”.
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Just as we were finishing our explanation, Helen (my close friend, a teacher and a spiritual lady) called to enquire if our son was upset. Daniel had told her about his conversation with our son regarding entry to heaven! I told her that we had a good discussion with our son, and he wasn’t upset anymore. Helen told me that she had a similar conversation with Daniel about accepting different ways of worship, and he understood.
The matter was resolved sensitively, without affecting our close friendships.
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As I returned to the living room, our five year old who we thought was busy playing during our explanation to our son, ran into my arms. Her round face was crumpled with disbelief.
My husband and I looked at each other and wondered what now! She said tearfully, “Dad told my Dada, (her older brother) that he has to be a good human BEAN. I don’t want to be a bean, like a black-eyed bean. I want to be a little girl!”
Trying hard not to smile, we gathered our cute little “human bean” in a hug and promised her that we wouldn’t ever want her to grow into a bean.
And prepared ourselves to explain in simple words what is “a Good Human BEING!”