The limey daughter continues to teach me. Often the lesson is simply that as a person, I am impatient and not adequately equipped for the title of father of the year. However, occasionally it’s a valuable life lesson that I wish other members of the human race could learn too. One such lesson was last week and comes in the form of the challenges of relationships, especially ones where there is a fundamental difference in what is accepted as real.
Like all girls in school, my daughter has a friend, a very good friend, her best friend. They have lots in common, including an interest in Minecraft that borders on obsession. One day my daughter confided in me that she was worried about her friend. It turns out that her friend had made a wish, a wish that she would get to feature in a video by their favourite Minecraft YouTuber. Not only that, but the friend had invoked some sort of fairy style ritual wish that requires a full moon and some other special elements and so it was guaranteed to come true.
My daughter was worried that the friend would be very disappointed when the wish failed to come true and she wasn’t sure about how to handle that level of upset because of the consequences in relation to belief.
Well, the allotted time came and went and the wish didn’t come true. The belief wasn’t lost; instead a new wish was made, with greater fervour.
Can anyone see where this is going yet?
The parallels to religion are plain and that didn’t escape me at all.
What did impress me most about my daughter was that in our conversation her overwhelming concern was that her friend was going to be disappointed, upset even, and she didn’t want that and she wanted help in addressing that. My daughter is confident that fairies are a myth, but this was secondary to her concerns for her friend.
Fixing the beliefs of her friend were not the primary motive.
Oh how often I have read and participated in conversations where the overwhelming desire is that each party convinces the other that a certain belief is right or wrong. Whatever happened to care and concern first?
Over the years I have struggled much with religious rhetoric, both for and against. There are many times when I read atheist and Christian comments that I deem as being too harsh or cutting. These conversations with my daughter have brought this to my mind again and reminded me that it is way too easy to dismiss the impossible as preposterous and ignore the person we might be hurting as a result.
Granted adults tend to be more complicated than young school children, however, the principle still matters. Care for the person first, telling them fairies aren’t real can wait.