My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

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jfro18
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My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:34 am

Maybe this belongs in mixed faith, but yesterday I was driving with my 8 year old and we were talking about dinosaurs and he was saying how there were no humans during dinos.

I said no, there were no humans until about 1.5-2 million years ago and that we can't even imagine how long ago that was. He then said that we are all related to two people and I asked if he meant Adam and Eve.

He said yes and then I explained that a lot of people believe that, but a lot of people also believe that Adam and Eve were not actually the first two people, but a way to explain how humans came to be. I briefly explained how those stories were passed down for at least hundreds if not thousands of years before being written down, and that back then they had different ways of trying to explain the world as they saw it at the time.

I tried really hard to say that a lot of people believed it, so I held off on any real criticism of the story itself, but I asked him if he knew there was a talking snake in the story. He shook his head no. I asked him what he thought of that and he said snakes don't talk. I explained that I took a DNA test that showed I had part neanderthal in me, and that scientists believe that they were before humans as we know them but we still have some of their DNA which is unique... he seemed to think that was cool, but I didn't go into anymore detail because... he's 8 years old. :lol:

Anyway I felt really awkward because it was just me and him, but I know my wife is teaching him Bible stories and constantly will use phrases like "I wish I could have seen that" or "This is one of my favorite stories that happened."

I wish it was easier... I feel so dirty just explaining that there is an alternate idea of where humans came from than the Adam and Eve story, which a lot of Christians even admit is a mythological story. And now I worry that someday he's going to say "dad said Adam and Eve are made up" or something even though I was really careful not to do that but to say that a lot of people also believed humans came in different ways.

So frustrated sometimes... I had posted on Facebook about scientists uncovering a 1.4 million year old handaxe made from a femur bone, and a friend recommended I watch NOVA's Becoming Human series, which I might do (after the little one is asleep) although I have a feeling DW will not be appreciative of me watching it.

Have any of you had to deal with that at all? I feel like this is Santa but in a very meaningful way... and we still need to have the Santa talk with him later this year!

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Mormorrisey
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:38 am

jfro18 wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:34 am
Maybe this belongs in mixed faith, but yesterday I was driving with my 8 year old and we were talking about dinosaurs and he was saying how there were no humans during dinos.

I said no, there were no humans until about 1.5-2 million years ago and that we can't even imagine how long ago that was. He then said that we are all related to two people and I asked if he meant Adam and Eve.

He said yes and then I explained that a lot of people believe that, but a lot of people also believe that Adam and Eve were not actually the first two people, but a way to explain how humans came to be. I briefly explained how those stories were passed down for at least hundreds if not thousands of years before being written down, and that back then they had different ways of trying to explain the world as they saw it at the time.

I tried really hard to say that a lot of people believed it, so I held off on any real criticism of the story itself, but I asked him if he knew there was a talking snake in the story. He shook his head no. I asked him what he thought of that and he said snakes don't talk. I explained that I took a DNA test that showed I had part neanderthal in me, and that scientists believe that they were before humans as we know them but we still have some of their DNA which is unique... he seemed to think that was cool, but I didn't go into anymore detail because... he's 8 years old. :lol:

Anyway I felt really awkward because it was just me and him, but I know my wife is teaching him Bible stories and constantly will use phrases like "I wish I could have seen that" or "This is one of my favorite stories that happened."

I wish it was easier... I feel so dirty just explaining that there is an alternate idea of where humans came from than the Adam and Eve story, which a lot of Christians even admit is a mythological story. And now I worry that someday he's going to say "dad said Adam and Eve are made up" or something even though I was really careful not to do that but to say that a lot of people also believed humans came in different ways.

So frustrated sometimes... I had posted on Facebook about scientists uncovering a 1.4 million year old handaxe made from a femur bone, and a friend recommended I watch NOVA's Becoming Human series, which I might do (after the little one is asleep) although I have a feeling DW will not be appreciative of me watching it.

Have any of you had to deal with that at all? I feel like this is Santa but in a very meaningful way... and we still need to have the Santa talk with him later this year!
It's posts like this that makes me very, very glad that my truth crisis came when my kids were much older, so I didn't have to go through any of that. That's a tough minefield to navigate with your believing spouse, and I wish I had more advice for you. Now that my kids are all adults, it's just so much easier; they ARE adults, and we just have to respect their views. I have some kids who are TBM like Sis M, and some that are NOMish. And that's just cool with us both. Well, at least on the surface!

But with an 8 year old? I can't even imagine trying to deal with fables vs. science with young kids. My only thoughts? If and when they go to school, I think they tend to work out a lot of these issues. I didn't really have to say a whole lot about my truth crisis over the years, they came to a lot of their own conclusions by themselves. That's still rolling the dice that your kids will buy into what your wife is selling, but I think if you teach your kids critical thinking skills, they will use them.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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jfro18
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:04 am

Mormorrisey wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:38 am
But with an 8 year old? I can't even imagine trying to deal with fables vs. science with young kids. My only thoughts? If and when they go to school, I think they tend to work out a lot of these issues. I didn't really have to say a whole lot about my truth crisis over the years, they came to a lot of their own conclusions by themselves. That's still rolling the dice that your kids will buy into what your wife is selling, but I think if you teach your kids critical thinking skills, they will use them.
I constantly tell him to always ask questions and never be afraid to question something I teach him if it doesn't make sense. I feel sometimes like I'm pushing "critical thinking" on him, but I figure if I really try to help him think things through that are not church related that he'll also be able to do it with church related stuff.

When my wife will teach Bible stories, I almost never say a word... one time she taught the creation story and he asked what other religions believed and I was able to explain that every religion has their own origin story and even non-religious people look at it scientifically. My wife did not seem pleased but she did not say anything about it.

At the same time he usually accepts anything she tells him as literal truth, although I think as you said that changes once you get older and are presented with history in school that goes way beyond what the Bible tells us about human life and all that.

I had that weird hope that the pandemic would allow things to feel more normal with regards to church stuff but it's been quite the opposite, but I read and listen to historians and scholars that explain why the church is not true and she reads/listens to the dez nat people who are effectively the alt-right of Mormonism, so it's not an ideal situation. :lol:

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Red Ryder
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:27 am

When these types of conversations came up I usually sat back and listened to my kids talk then gently asked them “what do you think?”

It taught them to think on their own and that I valued their thoughts and opinions.

It also allowed me to introduce other opinions and viewpoints they may not have thought about.

8 years old is still considered a young age so don’t beat yourself up too much. You want to be a safe place they can discuss things with. If your not then they will always go to mom and get the church answers.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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græy
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by græy » Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:48 pm

jfro18 wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:34 am
Have any of you had to deal with that at all? I feel like this is Santa but in a very meaningful way... and we still need to have the Santa talk with him later this year!
I struggle with this too. Our kids range from 3 to 10. DW enforces scripture study every night. Sometimes we will use a Latter Day Kids video (short 3-5 minute animation coinciding with the weekly CFM lessons), but often it is a few verses taken out of the actual CFM lesson. Tonight's lesson and LDK video was on Alma 36:6-7 (small and simple things --> great things).

After the video I made a comment about how things sometimes look very difficult, like jumping over a curb on a bike (5yr old moved off of training wheels). But if we take small bits at a time and practice, we can grow to accomplish great or seemingly difficult things. I thought it was a really great lesson!

DW couldn't let it stop there, though. She interjected that each of our kids should be taking time every night to read scriptures, say prayers, and think about Jesus so that those small moments could grow into great testimonies of the gospel. :|

DW's father is a geologist and regularly talks about the Earth's evolution over billions of years, and even owns and displays a few million+ year-old fossils in their home. Given that, DW seems to believe evolution is a thing, though she still won't 100% accept it since she doesn't want to draw a line where evolution stopped and "children of God" began.

When the question of literal Adam and Eve came up from our kids (they had discussed evolution in school) it was on a day I was already particularly frustrated with the church. Before she could say anything I answered that many of the stories in the scriptures were written thousands of years ago by people who were guessing the best they could as to how things happened. Today, we have found many valuable lessons in those stories, like learning about love and loyalty when Adam chose to stay with Eve. But even if there are things we can learn from them, that does not necessarily mean they were real people or real events. DW agreed that we should always look for the important lessons in scripture stories, and that night's conversation ended there.

There are still times where my kids say things that indicate that they believe in the literalness of the events in scripture. There are other times when they will straight-up ask if that is one of the stories that is just a story. Depending on circumstances, my response is often just, "I don't know. What do you think?" Sometimes I am a little more straight-forward. When it seems like they are believing things I wish they could see through, I have to stop and remind myself that our older kids are still trying to decide whether the tooth fairy is real or not, and that is despite the fact that we told them point-blank she is not. They are young, and I need to give them space to learn at their own pace.

The one thing I won't do is lie and tell them I believe in something I do not. I feel bad for kids stuck in mixed-faith marriages. It must be confusing. Though it will still be better for them than for those of us raised with blinders covering both eyes.

TL;DR - You're not alone jfro18
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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jfro18
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by jfro18 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:03 pm

Thanks RR and græy

DW does not focus on the Book of Mormon so that's why I typically just let her do her thing because I know she wants to get into Mormonism with him. The trouble is when he asks me something and I want to be really honest but know that if I'm honest about it that it will completely destroy DW's teaching him.

Mixed faith marriages are really tricky and the last few weeks or so have been particularly frustrating, but it's even worse when you feel like you're doing something wrong by answering a question honestly. Especially something that has a lot of scholarship behind it such as the origin of the story of Adam and Eve.

Wonderment
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by Wonderment » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:16 pm

Mixed faith marriages are really tricky and the last few weeks or so have been particularly frustrating, but it's even worse when you feel like you're doing something wrong by answering a question honestly. Especially something that has a lot of scholarship behind it such as the origin of the story of Adam and Eve.
They're your children too, and it's completely understandable why you would feel dirty about talking to them about it, especially if you think it would contradict the teachings of your wife. But, they are your kids also. Why should only one spouse be allowed to teach the children? That's not fair, nor just.

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moksha
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Re: My 8 year old brought up Adam and Eve... it's so awkward.

Post by moksha » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:45 am

Perhaps Adam and Eve can be approached in a similar way to how a parent handles the story of Santa. After a certain age, you child is at a real disadvantage if he has a toddler-like belief in Santa. It helps if we all have familiarity with various creation stories, but we should never let these stories displace reality. The child could grow up listening to PragerU or wanting to bless Donald Trump. ¡Ay, caramba!
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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