Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday's Religion

The Sunday night pot roast was a hit, even though we all back away from the meat a little these days. It had been a while since Janie made such creation out of the love and tradition passed on from her grandmother and likely their grandmothers before that. The recipe, as simple as it is, being one that Janie has recreated a hundred times for our small family, another several hundred times for the lineage dating probably back to the caveman days as far as I know. That is a lot of meat if you think about it. I grabbed a bottle of red from the basement, a plumby Zinfandel from a wine tasting I had taught at Missouri Valley College a couple of months ago. The roast needed a half cup. It isn't like we could do anything else with what was left...

We eat out a lot. Can't help it. So when Janie announced at the breakfast table Sunday morning that we would have pot roast tonight, a familiar October family memory popped in: a cool wet early evening, football on the TV, Natalie at the computer doing homework, clicker in hand, surfing, the warmth and smell from the artificial log in the fireplace. It was a great idea and we were looking forward to reliving the family moment that, out of tradition, would be quite meaningful.

It would be one of those nights. While I sipped on the remains of the bottle of red, Natalie sat and talked about school and the classes that she looked forward to taking next semester and the following year at St. Louis University. Psychology being something that she enjoyed more than biology; but not wanting to take as much biology for reasons that she found hard to explain..."tends to limit a certain spiritual acceptance and I am not really wanting to go there" she said. My mouth dropped at such a statement. She had arrived at the steps of philosophical perspective. I thought, "game on". I can finally spar with her on philosophy and hopefully later rely on her as a source for some of my own...processes. I straightened up, lowered my chin and began...a process.

I asked if she was troubled by the concept of religion, spiritualism, logic, science, psychology?--was she more comfortable studying the logic rather than the science because of dis-loyalty, a struggle of some kind, what was the problem? What was it that she didn't want to embark upon?--why would it matter? It occurred to me how interested in this stuff she was-- understanding and putting into perspective the combining of scientific fact with spiritual knowledge, how challenging it must be for her at this age and at this point in her education.

I was taken aback for a moment, realizing that my daughter is really quite smart, different than some of the other kids she knows. Smart like my sister in some ways. File recall smart, not like me with all my connecting of the dots. And I soon found myself in a state of "I don't know what the hell I'm talking about". I realized that I need to know more about this or I will miss out on her stuff, the good stuff. I want to move along with her a little bit as she figures it out. I want to learn a thing or two also, get some of that value added residual "learn on" from the education that I am payin for. Word!

I am delighted and proud to see that she seeks to improve her understanding of this sort of thing, particularly as she embarks on her education. If she seeks to change the world someday, this is a good start.

Btw, I believe our conversation was on the topic of Esoteric Science, or the integration of science, psychology, spiritualism and religion. I studied this for a short time while working on another story a couple of years ago. Little did I know that I would come face to face with my own offspring on the topic. She with more horsepower than I. Me with the spiritual fulfillment of a Sunday family pot roast wine buzz...

1 comment:

Carolyn Bodkin said...

Two thoughts... one, you are a terrific dad. It's heartwarming to know you want to take the journey with her, even if it requires some extra work.

Two, it reminds me of an "awakening" moment about my own daughter and their world several years ago when she went to her first dance. I asked her how it went and if she had fun dancing, etc. She replied, with sort of a snarl, "I don't dance, Mom."

"Why not?!," I questioned. I loved to dance at school dances when I was in high school.

"It's all just bumping and grinding, Mother, and that's inappropriate for kids our age," she informed. IS inappropriate.

"I'm proud of you, honey." (And saddened that those are the issues you're dealing with when you're sixteen...)

Now she's 22 and she asked me this summer if I thought her new swimming suit was immodest. She had decided it probably was and was going to save it for only her future husband to see.

It's an amazing and wonderful thing when you recognize the strength and potential in your children and get a taste of what your adult relationship with them will be like. Ahhh... life is so sweet!

Loved your thoughts, Ralph. Keep 'em coming!