I’ve sprinted upstairs to transcribe the following dinnertable conversation with my daughter Delaney, nearly six. The names have been changed to etc:
DELANEY: I was at Kaylee’s house today after school, and she said she believes in God, and she asked if I believe in God, and I said no, I don’t believe in God, and her face got all like this
and she said, But you HAVE to believe in God!
DAD [w/mouthful of grilled pork]: Mmphh fmmp?
DELANEY: And I said no you don’t, every person can believe their own way, and she said no, my Mom and Dad said you HAVE to believe in God! And I said well I don’t, and she said you HAVE to, and I said that doesn’t make sense, because you can’t like go inside somebody’s brain and MAKE them believe something if they don’t believe it, and she said do your Mom and Dad believe in God, and I said no, they don’t believe in God either, and her face did like this again
and she ran into her room and got a book.
DAD [mashed potatoes]: Mm bhhk?
DELANEY: Yes, a picture book, and she said you HAVE to show this to your Mom and Dad, it’ll make them believe in God!
DELANEY: And I said, I don’t have to show them that book, and she said if you don’t show it to them and if you don’t believe in God, you can’t come to my house anymore!
[Mom and Dad’s eyes meet, eyebrows fully deployed.]
MOM [who (having been raised right) swallowed her potatoes first]: Then what did you say, sweetie?
DELANEY: She kept saying it, so I cried. And then I said my dad says its okay for people to believe different things, and you can even change your mind a hundred times! And she said okay, okay, stop crying, you can come to my house anyway.
MOM: And then what?
DELANEY: And then we played.