“Mom, why don’t we like Obama?”
As I stood in line at the super market and heard my then three-and-a-half year old son’s question, I actually said a little prayer that no one else had. It wasn’t that we liked Obama or that we didn’t like him for the wrong reasons. Oh no. In fact, we, as many other conservative Roman Catholics living in America, cringed at the idea of this man taking office and the consequences it would have for the pre-born (among others, but I digress). I wanted to tell him that we don’t like Obama because he supports the murder of babies in their mother’s wombs. I wanted to tell him that we don’t like Obama because he doesn’t think all of God’s people deserve the same right to life. I wanted to tell him that there were almost too many reasons to count why we don’t like Obama.
Looking around at the faces of the people nearest me at the checkout, I could tell that they had heard the innocent question. Whether or not they realized it was innocent is beyond me. I took a breath, and did what I always do in situations such as this: I prayed. I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me in my answer so that I might impart the truth of God’s love and honestly answer my child’s question. Then, I looked into my son’s face and told him why we don’t like Obama: “We don’t like Obama because he thinks it’s OK to hurt babies while they are still inside their mommies tummies and that’s just not right.” “Oh,” he responded, and went back to inspecting the items in the cart and on the belt. I could feel the eyes of those other customers on my back, staring me down, or maybe I just imagined that part, (although I doubt it). We payed, collected our groceries, and left the store.
On the walk to our car I replayed the scene in my head a hundred times, trying to think of other ways I could have answered his question that would have been as honest and as respectful of his innocence. I don’t think there was another way that would have worked for either of us. I am sure, in fact, that in his young mind, my explanation meant that Obama thought it was just fine to walk up to random pregnant women and punch them in the belly (because this is what my son told me one day while describing how he and his brothers’ could not wait to grow up so they could be knights who protected women from Obama, but again, I digress). What I did not do, though, was think of ways I could have avoided the topic altogether. You see, as a mother, I think it’s my job to teach my children, to “raise” them up to God in our Faith, and to encourage them to think about things, even things that may be a little beyond their grasps from time to time. This philosophy has gotten me into some uncomfortable situations from time to time, I admit, but it has also helped my children to grow in their Faith by asking about things they don’t quite understand and opening the door to conversations I would not otherwise know they wanted to have. So I encourage other parents to keep answering those questions that seem almost unanswerable. Ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance and He will always be there for you. I mean, He was there for me when my toddler asked about Obama, and even when one of my sons asked a question about how, exactly, God puts babies in my belly, in the middle of Sunday Mass. Be open to His inspiration and go with it. It will never lead you astray.
By the by, my answer to the second question was “Love”, in case you were wondering.