There are several questions I just don’t want to field when I’m elbow-deep in a particularly odious toddler nappy-change. “Could you get the door?” is one of them. “Wait, did I just see a worm in there?” is another. Last week, care of my four-year-old son, I added a new question to the list. “Mummy, was Jesus a real person who was born a long time ago, and then died, and then came back, and then went on a cloud up into the sky, and is he alive now and walking around?”
Well. Still occupied with digging out a fresh nappy for a toddler intent on rummaging through his old, soiled one, I shoot a look at my husband that said: “A little help here?”
“Ah no,” my husband’s amused glance seemed to twinkle in reply. “I will have no part in this, but I am very interested to hear your response, so please don’t say anything until I have returned with some popcorn.” Awful man. I hereby reverse my position on his attitude to vasectomies.
Before asking his question, our son had been sitting on his own for a little while, uncharacteristically quiet, his little forehead furrowed in contemplation.
“What’s made you think about whether Jesus was real?” I ask him. He’d been learning about “Jesus stories” in class, he tells me, “Like when he turned dirty water into yucky wine at that wedding.” Right. I wasn’t quite expecting this, especially as his last “Is this real?” question concerned The Avengers (“Well,” I hedged, “Maybe, but I haven’t met any of them.”)
My son goes to a Church of England primary school, but not the sort where parents have to start pretending their house is called ‘The Nunnery’ on postal addresses or anything. It teaches religious values, accepts children from all religious backgrounds and, honestly, my son seems to be having a blast there.
“Bit Jesusy, though, isn’t it?” whispered my husband during our first open day. He was raised in a church-adjacent family (no contact with religion save...