Last night our son approached us with a huge look of concern on his face. He was suddenly terrified of tornadoes. The questions spilled out of him, catching us off-guard as they have in the past. We did our best to keep up.
What happens if a tornado comes?
That would be very rare. We don’t really get them here, so don’t worry, okay?
Could a tornado take our house down?
We have an old, strong house – it’d be fine. Besides, we don’t get tornadoes here.
But where would we go if a tornado came?
Well, the weather experts would be able to tell us way ahead of time if a tornado were coming, and if it were, we could drive to safety or go down to the basement.
But if we were in the basement, what if the tornado took away the kitchen floor [the basement ceiling]? Then it could get in!
[wasn’t sure how to answer that one, but that was okay because his questions kept flowing]
What if it came when we were sleeping?
Honey, the weather experts know really far ahead of time when storms are coming. We’d have lots of warning, we’d know days ahead, and could travel to safety if needed.
But what if we were driving away and the storm came in the direction we were driving?
What if someone only had wood walls and the storm came? What would happen to them?
Well, they’d go to the basement. But if they didn’t have a basement, they could drive somewhere or go to a neighbour’s house with a basement.
Then… the questions took on a more spiritual/religious/philosophical flavour. *sigh* My husband and I consider ourselves spiritual rather than religious, so we did our best to answer his mind-expanding questions on-the-fly, not having consulted with each other in advance.
When people die do they become angels, or are they just ghosts?
They become angels. The good people become angels.
Do they help God?
Yes, they help God and they help the people here on Earth.
When I die I’m going to stop tornadoes. I’m not going to help God with them. Why does he make tornadoes?
[I was pretty perplexed at this point, so I’m not exactly sure how I answered that one.]
How did God begin? How did the earth start? When was it just space out there? How long ago was it that nothing was alive on Earth?
[Kid, people spend their entire lives exploring questions like this. How the heck would I know? – Okay, I didn’t really say that, but seriously?!]
I’ve decided that nothing – no education, no experience – fully prepares you to answer (well) questions like these from a concerned six-year-old.
By the time I tucked J into bed, he thankfully (though strangely) felt much calmer and fell quickly into a deep sleep. My mind, on the other hand, was reeling…