Archive for January, 2011


As the first in the Houses of Prayer series will be published next week, I thought it appropriate to first explore the fundamental question (asked by my son):  What is God?

It’s a very difficult question to answer.  Really, how do you distill such a complicated topic into a 60-second snippet?  The way I chose to explain “God” to my son reflects my own beliefs, of course, that “God” is everywhere and in everything – very Vedanta.   “God is energy,” I told him, “that is inside everything – all the animals and plants, in our house and inside you.  It makes things move and feel and love.”  And that we have different names for this energy (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi…) that we can pray to for strength, but that they are all the same thing. 

Interestingly, in the vast expanse of mythological stories out there for Hindu kids – about Krishna, Rama, Ganesh, etc. – none of these successfully answer the singular question of who God is and how kids are supposed to relate to Him.  Such an elemental aspect of spiritual education – the foundation of forming a relationship with God – yet it is often a neglected question.  So what else can we tell our kids about “God?”  Here are some interesting perspectives:

Curious post from Newsweek: What Do Children Understand About God?
A Jewish perspective: Explaining God to Children with Tangible Stories and Ideas
An Agnostic/Atheistic perspective: Explaining God to Children
An essay from an 8-year-old (very cute):  Explain God
From Muslim Kids Radio:  Who is Allah?

Image of The Helix Nebula by NASA, referred to as The Eye of God

Memory Jar
Author: Aruna

Something about starting a New Year that evokes relentless nostalgia – like I didn’t do enough to capture all the things that happened the year before.  As though the memories were slipping through my fingers – like water – and in the end, what was I left with?

One of the things I resolve to do this year is to be a better documentarian of my kids.  I saw this idea for a memory jar sometime last year – where you scribble something funny or memorable that your kids said on a piece of paper and put it in a jar.  Somehow, this simple project always got pushed down on the choses a faire, but I finally grabbed an old jam jar, cut up some paper and made our little shrine.

The first note that made it into the jar was something my son said last year when we were talking about planets (he had been learning about them in his preschool).  I said Pluto was my favourite planet, and he had to remind me, “But, Mommy, Pluto’s not a planet anymore.”

Tears to my eyes, I tell you.

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