Given the events of the week (or any given week in America), many people are talking to their kids about politics or asking how much they should discuss politics together. One thing I have learned as a pastor is people don’t like being told how to parent, but I personally don’t believe in catechesis through US electoral politics. When asked earlier today I tongue in cheek responded, “my five-year-old is worried about Pharaoh and Herod, is that politics?” As we recently read the Massacre of the Innocents from Matthew’s gospel at home, I hope my kids can first learn to inhabit the narratable world of the Scriptures before I thrust on them whatever is captivating our current moment. If they can learn enough about the Pharaohs and Herods of the Bible, when it comes time, they’ll be able to discern what that means in their own political moment. Earlier today I was glad to read a different take on this from Austin Kleon. Here is an excerpt, however I encourage you read the whole thing:
W.H. Auden, in his essay about Iago in The Dyer’s Hand, makes this life-changing distinction: Instead of asking yourself, “What can I know?” ask yourself, “What, at this moment, am I meant to know?” Our boys (now 5 and 8 — age makes all the difference when you’re talking about “children” or “kids”) don’t do Zoom school and we still don’t watch news on the TV, so they have no idea, really, about what’s going on, other than what we tell them. And we don’t tell them much. I realize this is an enormously privileged position to be in. “I am trying / to sell them the world,” Maggie Smith wrote in her poem, “Good Bones,” but I’m not trying to sell my kids the world, I’m trying to make them a world. I am trying to give my kids the sanest childhood I can. I am trying to give them an experience of a safe, non-judgmental home, full of love and books and art-making, arranged so that they can spend maximum time doing things like drawing and playing and dreaming. Because I think a good, healthy childhood is something that can’t be taken away from you. Knowing that you are safe and loved is something you can carry forward, no matter what happens.