Morning Smoke

| March 16, 2010 | 6 Replies

Several weeks ago I was getting my son, Ben, up in the morning to go to school. Ben is 8 and in the third grade. I walked into Ben’s room as he slept and announced that; “Here’s everything you need this morning” (to get up and dressed for school).

A sleepy little boy voice said: “Did you bring me a drink?” The voice quickly continued: “How about world peace, Daddy did you bring me World Peace?”

“Uh, no,” I said.

“Then you DIDN”T bring me everything I need, did you?” said Ben. “Daddy, you need to be more precise in your language.”

Truer words were never spoken out of the mouth of babes. After I had finished giving my schmarty-pants son some noogies, hugs and kisses and getting some of my own, I replied. “How many times has daddy said that to you, Ben?”

“At least a Hundred Million Times!” said Ben. “But, now I GOT YOU!” Ben gloated. “HAH!”

I left Ben to finish his dressing and went downstairs and found my daughter Bella (short for Isabella) watching TV. Bella is 11 and fascinated by whodunits, often getting the culprit before I do. Bella was watching a DVR’d episode of “Bones” which features a beautiful brilliant woman forensic anthropologist, a hunky FBI agent and a bevy of interesting other characters who solve murders using human remains as clues. They all work at something called the Jefferson Institute.

“Daddy, why does “Bones” give the FBI guy trouble for believing in God?” said Bella.

“Bones is an atheist,” I said.

“What’s that?” Bella asked.

“A person who doesn’t believe there is a God.” I said. “Bones is a scientist, a professional skeptic who doesn’t believe in things she can’t see or touch or smell or verify by testing.”

“Are all scientists atheists?” she inquired.

“Nope,” I said.

“It sounds like being a skeptic helps you be a good scientist,” Bella said.

“Absolutely,” I exclaimed. “One of the best things to be as a scientist.”

“I’m going to be a scientist but, I’ll still believe in God, daddy” said my daughter. “May I have some cereal for breakfast?”

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Category: Religion, Science

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

Comments (6)

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  1. Derek says:

    Interesting post. I suppose it raises the question of parenting and in what direction your hand points with your children in these matters? Not being a parent myself I cannot say, but being raised in a family that seemed to foster logic in all situations helped shape who I am today. My parents never required anything of us as far as religion goes, but I know they answered whatever questions we might have had on our way. I can't recall them steering their answers one way or another. In the end none of my six siblings or two parents are church goers, all the boys are agnostic or atheist and the girls beliefs are rather weird. None of them have any firm beliefs in God, and don't attribute anything to the Christian god, I don't think, maybe one has some faint belief in Jesus.

    I guess I will ask others what their take is on the subject?

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    I tell my two daughters that scientists have no sacred cows. They ask rigorous questions about all aspects of human animals, including the question of why some human animals believe in God. I tell them that to be good scientists, they will need to have the courage to study themselves, because absolutely nothing should go unexamined. I don't yet know whether they agree with me. Time will tell.

    They like cereal too.

  3. Ben says:

    It sounds like they are ready for "The Talk".

    You know, the one where you gently explain that Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and certain Gods likely do not actually exist — except as tools to make children obey. And that they, just like their father and almost EVERY AMERICAN, got a big (steaming) dose of Heyzeus poured into their young impressionable minds.

    Or you can let them learn for themselves, if it is not too late already.

  4. Tim Hogan says:

    Guys, Ben still believes in Santa Claus. Santa has brought Ben stuff he wants (Legos Star Wars, etc.). Mom and Dad get Ben stuff he needs (clothes, books, science stuff).

    Bella figured out we were Santa at 7 when she was rooting in my basement closet and noticed the wrappimg paper she sees on hers and Ben's presents every Christmas was there.

    I admit that I'd like to believe there is an all loving and generous person in the world who does good things for little children. I want to be that person.

    As for God, I do believe and send my kids to our Parish School of Religion, where my wife has taught.

    I made a promise before my God, my Church and friends to raise my children in my faith but, also make sure they know there are other faiths and people who don't believe in God, and that it is up to each of us ultimately to choose. I have chosen my Roman Catholic faith. It remains to be seen what my children will do.

  5. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    Are you guys talking about my sainted great-great-great… uncle Nick?

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