It’s truly astounding to watch as the two of them communicate, this brother and sister pair before me. Though just barely a year old, I watched as she pushed the bowl of cheese curls just out of reach of her older brother. He gave her his best three year old frown and reached to grab it back. Quick as a rabbit she pounced forward grunting an infant’s version of “mine, stay away or else”. Funny thing is he listened, in fact he left the bowl right there and came running to ask for his own bowl. There were no tears either – almost as if he just understood that his sister was a girl, and therefore by default, was kind of always going to get her way. Resistance is futile and so he opted for option “daddy”.

Lost in Translation?

This got me thinking about quite a few things regarding our interaction with members of the opposite sex. More specifically I started thinking about how my son knew what his baby sister meant with her little grunt. And what prevented him from retaliating? Why did he not just play the older brother card and snatch the bowl back? Was it something he instinctively knew or was it something he had picked up from watching his parents interact? Considering that neither his mom nor I eat cheese curls, that cancelled out the latter. So what was it then?

I heard something very cute earlier while visiting with family. My son was in the garden, doing what boys do when they’re in the garden and need to wee-wee…they find the nearest tree. My friend’s mom was appalled and demanded that he rather use the loo in the house. “No mom, relax,” my friend said, “it’s holy water, he’s a child and they’re innocent.”

The holy water analogy was quite profound I thought. And the more I mulled the comment over in my head, the more it started making sense – my children were gifts from God, they were untainted innocence – holy in a sense. I smiled.

So when do they become less so?

When children are born they don’t have any belief system and they certainly are not born into any particular faith or religion. They simply pick all that up from their parents when they are old enough to understand what we tell them about either the Bible or the Quran or whichever religious text we decide to educate them with. Before then, they inherently do no wrong, besides of course the usual naughty kids stuff like playing with the ornaments or tampering by the plugs even though you told them for the millionth time not to. But that’s not a sin. It’s not even mildly bad. Based on what we have kind of established then, could it be argued that children only start sinning once they know what sin is? Do they only start discerning between good and evil once they have religion instilled in them…once they have tasted of the tree of knowledge? Remind you of someone?

But back to the Cheese Curls

Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach our children the accepted ideologies, because let’s be honest here, we don’t want our children to be ostracized in kindergarten for not agreeing with the other children and their mommies and daddies. I’m merely saying that it seems to me that without the complexities of religion, or even speech for that matter, just know how to be good, kind hearted people. I might be wrong, but judging by the cheese curls, I think I’m on to something. And I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with msg.