"Come on, Ian. Let's go see Jesus." It creeped me out when I first heard it. One of the teachers said it as I was dropping Ian off at day care. No one ever talked about Jesus in the infant room. Sure there were a few "Jesus loves you" posters around and they made elaborate gifts for the Easter holiday but that was the extent of the whole thing.
But in the Toddler Room, every morning they greet the children as they come in and carry them over to a window static that has a picture of Jesus. They trace a cross over him and then put the child down to go play with the others. It's just weird.
Ian looks dubious about it. Then again, he looks dubious about most things before 9am (that's my boy, the non-morning person). I wasn't really sure how I felt about it. Are we ready to make decisions on how we want to explain God to our son? And who is this Jesus character? I told myself there was no harm in it. They were just saying hello to him. No other expectations.
It's a day care run by a Catholic church. This should not be a surprise. But how much Jesus does a toddler need?
When I was five, my mother signed me up for vacation bible school at the local church. We were never religious people, but my preschool had tiny classes (eight kids?) and she wanted me to experience something larger before I went to kindergarten and had 20 classmates. It seemed okay at first. But one day my oldest brother was walking with me and told me to be careful and not get run over by a passing car. I cheerfully told him, "that's okay because if I die I'll get to see Jesus."
When we got home my brother told Mom, "She's NEVER going back there!"
So when this woman told my son to "go see Jesus" it caught me off guard. I'm not ready to talk about Jesus with my kid who still meows at the dog. And kids can be such rules lawyers that I don't really understand the concept of teaching them about Jesus and miracles and the like. When I was five I would have gone to the mat to defend Santa Claus' existence and that he drives a sleigh in the sky. I don't want to hear the same adamant proclamations about Jesus.
I've been mulling this over in my head for weeks now as I drop Ian off every day at day care. What will they talk about in the 2,3 and 4 year old classes? Will Ian one day start correcting me about Jesus? As Meryn Cadell sang, "accept Christ into my heart? I didn't even know the man."
Yesterday we made our way into day care from the parking lot. My arms were full with toddler and diaper bag and lunch box and little jacket as we shuffled our way to the door. As most day cares do, there are decorations everywhere for every possible holiday. Shamrocks in March, hearts in February and various window statics of pilgrims, pumpkins and a giant turkey this month. As we reached the big glass door, just like the one in his room, Ian cheerfully reached out and slapped at the turkey in front of us. Apparently, going to see Jesus and going to see the turkey are not much different for him.
And for now, that's just fine with me.