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Talking to Your Kids
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James Lileks talks to his daughter after she watches an episode of Veggie Tales.

After the show was over she wanted to have a theological discussion. "So first came God and then dinosaurs and then giant beetles then small beetles then people."

"Yep." You can have those conversations forever, and we’ve had them before. But they take unusual turns.

Okay, let's stop right there.

First of all, if I had kids, they probably wouldn't be watching Veggie Tales. But if I had a daughter and she came to me and said something like this, and even if I'd brought her up believing in god, I wouldn't give a pat answer like this.

Maybe he was bored, or lazy, or whatever. But this is the great thing about young children...they tend to be insatiably curious, and eventually if fed enough lazy pat answers, their curiosity is blunted.

How would I have answered the question?

Well, we really don't know very well what came first. It was a long, long time ago. But little, simple plants and animals came first, then dinosaurs, then people.

And then I'd probably see if she wanted to look up some pictures of little animals, or dinosaurs, or some sort of timeline, either in a book or on the internet.

I mean, the kid obviously wants to get clear in her head the order of things, so why blow her off with a "yep"?

I know you don't always have time to make every conversation a learning experience, but if you do, shouldn't you try to make the time?

Hell, maybe my kids would think I was a supergeek blowhard and would stop coming to me if they thought I was going to turn everything into a lecture or something. But I'd at least friggin try.

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