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Blood, bombs and bugs

Originally Appeared in : 9723-11/9/17

As part of our continued efforts to “divide and conquer,” Magan and I have made a point to always bring at least one tag-a-long for quick errands. It’s an opportunity for them to feel special, and it also protects the sanity of the parent left behind with the remaining five munchkins.

 

One particular weekend morning, I needed to swing into town for something and decided I’d take Jesse along for the ride.

 

As an extra treat, I allowed him to ride shotgun while we took the two-mile ride into town.

 

Little did I take into consideration the fact that Jesse is a master interrogator, and in that time he would be able to ask no fewer than 45 meaning-of-life questions that had me this close to throwing out the universal parent retort of, “because.”

 

“Why does a roach’s blood look so yucky and slimy?” came out of his mouth before I had pulled out of the garage, leading me to offer, “Well, God made every creature’s blood different to help them live.”

 

That was followed by, “Why doesn’t our blood look like that?”

 

“Well, our blood is red because of the food and air inside of it.”

 

“The food is the little red dots, right?

 

“Yes. Those are red blood cells. You also have white bluuh…”

 

“Why is it when germs get in your mouth they start trying to eat you?”

 

“No, that’s what I was trying to tell you: White blood cells help your body fight germs. They’re like knights with swords.”

 

“Or like Army men.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“But why is it they use needles to poke your skin?”

 

“Well, that’s because sometimes they have to get the medicine into your blood quickly. And that works better than you swallowing the medicine.”

 

“How does it close back up?

 

“God made your body so it would fix itself. Just like those white blood cells fight off the bad stuff.”

 

“I don’t like needles.”

 

“Me either.”

 

“What if it left a mark on your arm, and then people started teasing you about having a mark on your arm?

 

“Then they wouldn’t be very nice.”

 

“How many birthmarks can you have?” (staring at his own on his left leg)

 

“As many as God meant for you to have.”

 

“Why are bombs good?”

 

“Bombs aren’t good. Bombs are bad.”

 

“But what if they’re used by the good guys?”

 

“Well, killing is always bad.”

 

“So what if a good guy goes to throw a bomb at a bad guy, but it slips out of his hand and then explodes on good people?”

 

“That’s why bombs are never good.”

 

“See that house?” I said, trying to turn the tables. “It’s over 100 years old.”

 

“How old is our house?”

 

“Only about 20.”

 

“So that house is like me, and our house is like you,” I said. “How old are you going to be, like 100 or 200?”

 

“Daddy, nobody is that old.”

 

“Adam lived to be almost 1,000 years old.”

 

“That’s not in my children’s Bible, daddy!”

 

It would be easy for any parent to dismiss their child’s questions with “because,” “I said so” or “I don’t know, ask your mother.” If we are truly going to embrace our role for what it is, though, as a God-given vocation, then it is our responsibility to raise up our child(ren) in the way(s) (they) should go (Proverbs 22:6) by doing our best to offer up answers to their many...many...many questions.

 

In a world more and more consumed by individualism, narcissism and egotism, all of us blessed to be parents must make a more sincere effort to be invested in all aspects of our children’s education and understanding...even blood, bombs and bugs.

 

It is not just our responsibility, as the Bible shows, it is our duty: “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”

 

Keeping that in mind makes it easier to handle questions, or comments like, “I feel sorry for the cows, but I do love burgers.”

 

“Me, too.”

 

Jason Halcombe has five sons and a daughter. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.

 

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