Ah, to be young again. At least then there is an excuse for not understanding things. Let me back up and explain that my children, for reasons that won't fit in this columnar space, are home schooled. Like everything else, there are pro's and con's. One of the pro's is that when students are curious about a topic, we run with it as far as our resources allow. Which takes me to where I was last week - at work, muddling over my notes on school bus drivers, millage rates and statewide law suits. My thoughts were interrupted by my cell phone ringing. It seems the cells traveled all through space to bring me the voice of my middle-schooler who was less than one block away. My eighth grader was studying ancient Egyptian mythology, and found it to be ridiculous. To him, the stories sounded so ridiculous that he wondered if "Egyptians could still be that stupid?"
Now I don't have a personal relationship with any Egyptians, but I assured my son that they are not stupid. He wasn't satisfied-"what do they believe today?" Well, look it up, I told him. Which took him to Sunni Islam via the internet, where the newly-turned 14-year-old read the term "Shi'ite" for the first time. That word was too interesting for any adolescent to leave alone. My phone rang again.
"Grandma is here. Is it okay if she sees this?" he asked, worried that the word sounded a bit too risque for his old-fashioned grandmother. Since she was there to help, I was tempted to let Grandma explain the world religions to her pride and joy, who was still snickering over the new "s-h" word. But comparing Shi'ites to red-neck-Baptistry may be more than Grandma bargained for when she offered to help that day. So, contrary to every thing I have ever preached, I took the easy way out and suggested he drop history for the day.
My adolescent's day was just getting better - or so he thought. "You mean I don't have to do any more school?" he asked, a bit too eagerly. I burst his bubble, sending him back to work as I beat the childproof lid off the pain reliever.
My stress grew as I considered how much research would be required before I could understand the subject myself, much less put it in his terms. Thankfully, when I got home that night, he had disobeyed his mother (let's not think about that one) and read some more of the religious descriptions on the worldly-wise web. Unlike his mother, who goes overboard with everything, he read just enough to satisfy his curiosity. Impressively, he was able to narrate his findings back to me. Unfortunately, he didn't put it in my terms. So, if you have questions about 'lams or 'ites, I am clueless. But I do have a cell phone number that could help.