The subject matter in this post from week 7 of my Questioning Faith Journal came up again recently. A Catholic friend warned me that I was “opening a door and introducing your children to the spirit of the Antichrist” because I let my kiddos read and watch the Harry Potter stories. Sigh. This fear and censorship of stories is something I am so happy to have out of my life. Dragons welcome!
Stories have power to teach VALUES, not religion. (Also, spoiler alert: Harry Potter is a good versus evil story. Good wins.)
Week 7, Entry 1
“I like dragons,” my little Ella Bella said to me tonight as I kissed her soft cheeks over and over.
“I like that you like dragons,” I returned.
And I do. What I don’t like is the guilt trip from Christendom that she shouldn’t like dragons or magic like Harry Potter. I don’t like the idea that I have to somehow shut down her imagination to be a good Christian parent. I remember my sister asking me to read Harry Potter years ago to see if it was okay for her son to read the stories. I remember my own mother purposing to read every book I expressed interest in to ensure its spiritual acceptance – only to give up when she realized she’d given birth to a bookworm.
Forget all that.
Forget all of you who think that kids shouldn’t be free to explore the boundaries of their imaginations and beyond. I’m done with pew-sitting adults who think it’s the “right” thing to handicap children’s intellect, who believe that “shielding” them from imaginative explorations of magic and alternative universes and time travel and extraterrestrials and foreign worlds and untested concepts is a “right” thing.
It is not a right thing.
It is not a good thing.
It isn’t even a loving thing.
Even if you believe in an Intelligent Designer, surely you can entertain the idea that you don’t know everything about everything. Surely, surely, you can – for just a moment – allow the notion that you may not have the right answers for every situation in every occurrence. Possibly, you may fathom that there is an enormous existence outside your ability to imagine or comprehend, but inside the realm of childhood envisioning.
Kiddos get the concepts of creation and imagination.
(Robert Benson wrote some about this in his amazing book Between the Dreaming and the Coming True.)
Kiddos are free of bills. Free of responsibility. Secondborn is 7. She has no notion of car payments. Mortgage payments. Life insurance. Groceries. Heck, I doubt she knows what her school uniforms cost – much less how that relates to her parents’ income. In her mind, life is limitless. Existence itself has no boundaries.
I will not rob her of that freedom.
I will not tell her that magic is sin. I will not introduce to her unfettered mind that there are limits to the realms of imagination or creation. I will not speak to her of boundaries that limit her understanding and thought patterns and ability to comprehend or explore.
I will not.
I will show her pictures from NASA of stars beyond our ability to visit. I will show her universes that are outside the realm of her own. I will tell her she is made of stardust, for that is Truth. It is Truth! I will challenge her to be worthy of that stardust, to accept that in the trillions and trillions of living entities she is special and uniquely indescribable and therefore has a responsibility to create positive impact that is special and indescribable.
If she does so with magic, okay.
If she does so by loving dragons, okay.
I do not care how my gifted child chooses to embrace the inexplicable combination of her own heart and intellect. I only care that she knows she should. She must. Not because a non-existent god told her to and will be mad on judgment day if she does not. That is a ridiculous notion. No.
I want her to know herself – to embrace the enormity of who she is and can be and do – because the mother who loves her more than words can say asked her to. I call this out in her.
I grew her in my own broken body and I birthed her with enormous effort. I love her and hug her and hold her and bind her wounds. I feed her – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I invest myself into the beauty and gift of her. She is more than I am or will ever be. She is better. She holds potential beyond my own – and, if I am honest, my own is not insignificant. But this child – this beautiful, intelligent, empathetic, aware child – has more capability than I ever possessed.
Fly with dragons, Baby Girl. Soar with them. Study the shimmering scales of their bodies. Explore their worlds. Their morals. Their ideas. Marvel at them and consider how they could be a part of your existence. Get mad when their kind ones are harmed by their self-serving ones. Demand justice when their weak ones are hurt by their strong ones instead of helped. Let that guide you toward even more empathy and kindness in your own life.
Explore, Little One. Consider. Fully. Think. Let your mind roam. Read the stories. Take it in, deep into your being. Let those stories be a part of you the way they have been a part of me and millions of others.
You will love it, Special One. Truth will resonate within you. Falsehood will strike a clanging chord.
Because you are made of stardust and love.
There is nothing purer known to mankind.