Conversations With Kids
A blue sky, a golden field, three children and a mud path make for the perfect, socially distanced Sunday morning walk. The privilege of such bounty a few short minutes from our front door and our success at making it out early enough to avoid others fills us with a unique sense of accomplishment.
Looking down at our walking boots, a happiness seeps in, a brief chance to banish all thoughts of a novel coronavirus. That word, novel, is pestering me. What’s fresh is supposed to be fashionable, right? And what’s strange is sought after. Except when it’s not.
The children are running way out ahead, conspiring with each other about things we will never know, and then sprinting back with mischievous smirks and cryptic gestures.
They are imagining now, their words an all-access pass into everything that is concerning them.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could fly? Just put on our jet packs and soar to wherever we wanted?” Says our six year old.
“A jet pack would cost a lot of money” responds his older sister, ever the voice of reason.
“Well, if Allah wanted, He could make a pile of money appear right here in this field. Allah can do anything!”
We all stop to consider that yes, this is true, but even if the money appeared, would we be able to take it? Some deep contemplation follows and then this sad acceptance:
“We can’t take the money because this isn’t our field, just like we can’t take anything that grows here either. It belongs to the farmer.”
Silence and regret. If only that money had appeared in our living room instead.
Then some hope, from the six year old again,
“Well, if Allah wanted, the Earth could have zero gravity RIGHT NOW and it would be for EVERYBODY.”
We all agree how cool it would be to experience zero gravity.
“And instead of a jet pack, if Allah wanted, I could just lift my arms up and have the ability to fly into space.”
“That’s not going to happen” My eldest responds firmly – clearly the ability for her brother to fly is less likely than the elimination of gravity and I absentmindedly decide to nudge this logic.
“What do you think it would really be like though, if we were going through our day and all of a sudden there was no gravity?”
“It would be great!” The six year old jumps up.
”We would all get to float and spin around and zoom to each other.”
Oh, the irony of wanting to zoom around in these days of seemingly endless virtual ‘zooming’.
“But what if you were driving? What if you were doing something important?”
“Yeah,” my eldest again “what if a doctor was performing surgery and everything started floating? What would happen to her patient? What if she was removing something delicate?”
“That wouldn’t be good” the six year old admits.
No. It wouldn’t be good.
“Just like,” he adds soberly, “it wouldn’t be good if the Earth stopped spinning.”
“Because then we wouldn’t have night and day. Even though Allah could do it, if Allah wanted.”
We think through this new possibility.
“Why do we need night and day?” I’m not at all certain where this is going but the answers come quickly.
“So we know when to go to sleep”
“So we can see the stars.”
“So we can see the clouds.”
“So we can find the moon.”
“So we know when to make Maghrib”
Thank goodness, they’ve retained something from all our learnings on prayer times.
“So the flowers know when to blossom.”
We are almost back home now.
“It’s nice to know what’s going to happen isn’t it?” I say aloud, squinting up into the sky “Nice to know that every morning the sun is allowed to come up.”
“And that gravity doesn’t disappear” adds the eldest.
But the six year old, getting ready to race for the front door, is quick to reminds us,
“Even though it could.”