The other night, my very precocious 6 year old rolled over and said … “Mommy, where is Great Grandma?” My grandmother died over the summer in 2018 and we’ve talked a little about death since then. So, I reminded him that we’d talked about Great Grandma being in heaven. We talked a little about who else is there with her. We’ve had some cats die so the concept of death is a topic we’ve been over a few times.
As we talked, a particularly satisfied expression showed up on his face and when I asked him why, he told me “Mom, it’s just like in Roblox. When someone dies, a wispy cloud floats out of them and into the sky. That’s the soul, right?”
For those of you who don’t have Roblox obsessed youngsters, it’s an online world made up of legos where a player can complete tasks or quests, talk to other players, build and create worlds and quests and generally demonstrate creativity and ingenuity. Yes, I’m aware that there are adults playing alongside children and we monitor both our boys’ activities carefully. They never stumbled upon the S&M area that some enterprising adult set up and many children entered accidentally with no knowledge of what was intended by the gyrations of the lego people.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that my Generation Z (Z?, is that right!?) boys are learning about a variety of things as they navigate online worlds. They are also at the developmental stage when they are open to learning and accepting a variety of concepts because they don’t have anything competing for attention in that arena. They believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus and in the various characters in their online games.
I stumbled upon Dr. Meg Meeker sometime ago in my parenting experience and I particularly enjoyed “Strong Mothers, Strong Sons; Lessons Mother’s Need to Raise Extraordinary Men.” Among the variety of good, foundational lessons, she opines that it is the believe in God, in a power outside themselves, that sons need from their mothers. The idea that there is a power over and for them is extremely important in helping boys to build a worldview that will grow with them into manhood, is something that has informed my life and my husband’s life.
I suppose I could be termed as “fertile” ground for this type of concept since I’ve been doing my best to have these conversations with my boys and making sure that God and a relationship with Him is part of their childhood. My childhood when it comes to religious instruction was very different from my husband’s; at the same time, the instruction was definitely there for both of us. When we talked about having children, we did consciously blend the best of the two experiences. Dr. Meeker discusses frequently the need to provide children A foundation, not that the particular foundation is better over another, but that children are given something to build their beliefs on. She further opines that all children rebel in some way and giving children something to rebel from helps them to build their own belief system.
It’s hard to know if there is an empirical “best” method of teaching children a belief system. So many different people think they have THE answer. Until we find THE child-rearing answer, we will continue with our particular brand of teaching, Roblox included.