This morning?s Conversation On The Train with my 5 year old was a corker. Friends will know that because we moved house at the end of the school year, my dear Small Boy now goes to school 14 miles from our front door. Not being a driver means we stroll out of the door at 0730 in the mornings and join a gaggle of commuters on the train. It?s usually here that he chooses to ask some pretty big questions; so far we?ve had ?If I marry a boy can I have a baby?? ?How many moons are there in all of space?? and my personal highlight ?Does nobody want to marry you Mama??
J: ?Mama where did the first people come from that growed all the people??
Me: ?Oh this is a LONG story. Do you want to hear a long story??
J: ?Yes! Yes I love stories!?
Me: ?Okay. Well, you know in church sometimes you hear stories from the Bible??
J: ?Oh yes! The one you said about the man made from mud and the woman made from a rib!?
Me: ?Yep. Well that?s a story about where the first man and woman came from. But because the story was written many many many years ago, some people think it?s just a story, and some people have different ones? Some people think the world was made in seven days, by God who was the father of Jesus. Some people believe it was made in six days, Muslim people who call God ?Allah?.?
(J likes this one and pronounces ?Allah? a few times.)
Me: ?Some people believe the world was made from breaking an egg-?
J: ?AN EGG?!!?
Me: ?Yep, a great big world-creating egg, and some people believe it was very carefully made out of wood ? these are Hindu beliefs and their creator?s name is Brahma.?
J: ?What about the bang??
Me: ?The bang??
J: ?Yes like on the Big Bang Theory.?
(Me, laughing hysterically, bursts into yhe theme tune): ?Well?. the whole universe was in a hot dense place nearly 14 million years ago expansion started?.?
Both: ?WE BUILT THE PYRAMIDS! And Maths, Science, History, unravelling the mystery, that all started with the big BANG.?
Me: ?And that?s another story.?
J: ?What story do you believe is true Mama??
Me: ?All of them.?
J: ?ALL of them??
Me: ?Yep. Because I like stories. And there could be a bang and an egg and a carpenter and six days of hard-God-work to make the world and it could all be true.?
J: ?But what do you think God is called??
Me: ?God, and Allah, and Brahma, and Buddha? (he?s 5, cut me some slack?)
J: ?But my friend at school says there?s only one God and he was having an argument with my other friend.?
Me: ?Yeah some grown ups do that too. But I think of it like this. You know your Mama is called Jack? And Tommy?s Mama is Evelyn, and Faith?s Mama is Kyla??
J: ?Yes! So wait so some people?s God is called Jesus and some people?s is called Ballah-?
J: ?Allah and some people?s? What are some people?s Gods called??
Me: ?Brahma, and Zeus, and Artemis (I was floundering a bit here at 0745 and dragging up my Greek heritage?) and oh, there?s loads. Maybe even as many names for Gods as names for Mamas.?
J: ?And they?re all right??
Me: ?I think so. And I think it?s nice to hear other people?s stories, and listen, and collect them in your head like the Gruffalo or the Hungry Caterpillar ? because we don?t fight over whether THEY?RE true, do we??
J (giggling): ?No!?
Me: ?Well then. And anyway, what?s more important than being right all the time??
J: ?Being FRIENDS!?
Me: ?Exactly. And besides, imagine if the world was made from an egg! Next time I make you scrambled eggs let?s look real close and see if there?s a little tiny world in our frying pan.?
(And then we got off at Basildon. The end. My A* half-GCSE in Religious Studies might have been useless for getting into 6th form 12 years ago, but I knew it would come in handy one day. Still holding out for Pythagoras though.)
Jack. Instagram/Twitter: @MxJackMonroe