Without getting into a philosphical dissertation thereby losing both myself and my daughter into a convoluted and complicated cat and mouse discourse that is best to have over a few sniffies of brandy and cuban cigars, I simply said............"Uhuh........."
I was also braiding her hair and was trying to concentrate on wrapping the right strand around the right strand......a trying exercise for someone who has only ever done this task on herself (that would be ME) years ago while standing in front of a mirror, thereby doing the task inside out and backwards. As much as I'm a multi tasker extraordinaire, braiding hair, discussing evangelical fundamentalism, and defining free will WHILE the ballgame is on TV AFTER a long day of work and cooking dinner.................. "Uhuh" seemed like a safe answer.
Free will, according to Martha, is the reason she has an interest and a belief in God. Free will allows her to be both independent and dependent on God. And it is free will which gives her the invitation to question religion, to wonder about God, to look around and see the different faiths out there, to take control over how she will do on her Math test.
She shared a few conversations she had recently had with a couple of friends, one specifically who is a Quaker. They had spent 2 weeks sharing a cabin in the summer at camp and it appears that they spoke a great deal about Quakerism, Unitarianism and about Protestantism. It also sounds like they shared their opinion on the Dalai Lama, and on God and touched a little bit on trying to figure out why so many religions fight against one another.
Fascinated by where she was taking me....................I became a meticulous braider.....slowing the process down so that we would have uninterupted time.......an aside...................cause it seems to fit in my thinking right now anyways
When Martha was 5 years old, she informed her GrandMim, her aunt and I that she wanted to work as a missionary in Africa. I was thinking of that conversation......remembering how her aunt dismissed it outrightly.........all the while Martha was trying to explain what she wanted to do......how she saw herself. IN her kindergarten thinking, she hadn't connected it to any religious group, though she knew churches sponsored people to go. Rather, she knew at that age that Africa was in need. She wanted to be there to help those in need. She debated her aunt over this desire for a long time while we were all making dinner one night.......and I was amazed at how much thought had already gone into her decision at age 5.
She was so young that when I bring it up now with her, she has only vague memories of it. I don't! It was a truly an eyeopener as to how deep my daughter's thinking and compassion dwell. She is one who was born with that gift. She may not have had all the words and the ability to debate it at 5, but she had a keen sense of her desire to help others.