"Do you have a god?"
Was the first thing my eight year old client asked me last Wednesday. He was wondering if I believed in a god because he had observed that I was the only teacher who never prayed before sessions.
I'm not sensitive about discussing religion, but such discussions usually take place after three bottles of beer and five shots of tequila; never at three in the afternoon, never at work, and never with the kids. Needless to say, I was caught speechless.
I didn't think it would have mattered to him if I told him that I'm not really "that" kind of teacher (the kind who teaches Calculus at school and whom no one listens to because everyone knows people don't really graph functions in real life), nor did I think it would have mattered if I explained to him that praying is to a Catholic school as an alma mater hymn is to a regular school.
Instead, I just asked him, "What kind of god do you think is there?"
There was an unforgettable confidence about him when he answered, "Oh you know, the old god. He can't walk so he just stays in the skies. And when people don't pray, he gets sad."
He looked at me with this cute, critical look of his and asked, "Do you know how to pray, Teacher Ariane?"
I remember giving him a sort of nod and a sort of shrug answer. This caused quite a confusion which lead to his declaring, "Here, I'll teach you."
So that was how our Wednesday session turned out, with the "Teacher" getting schooled on practicing a religion.
As for the original, provocative question of whether I had a god, I decided to go about it the way I did last Christmas when he was blabbing about Santa Claus and I had disclosed his North Pole address.
I wish he'd never have to grow up.