Monday, December 10, 2007

Jam and spoon please



This is a real recording of schoolchildren who are presumably Catholic but I don't really know, primary (infant) pupils in an inner city Dublin school telling new testament stories in their own words.


Give it a minute to download and then listen to the wonderful innocence of it all.

You realise that we adults have religion and our attitude to living backwards. We should learn about religion until we are teenagers and then get kicked OUT of the church as adults not confirmed in.


Kids have their relationship with God sorted, it is grownups who pervert it for their own ends which very rarely have anything to do with peace on Earth.


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40 years ago Stuart Hample asked just one question to a Nun.


In 1961 Hample was an author talking to students at St. Augustine's School in Larchmont, N.Y., about his book called 'The Silly Book' which had just been published. As he was leaving, he said to one of the Sisters "What do you think would happen if I asked them to write to God?" She didn't have a ready answer for him.


A couple of weeks later and his first set of letters complete with the Children's answers arrived from that same Nun. Hample went to the town's synagogue to ask for more. He went on asking in other schools, churches and houses.


"Maybe it was the hand of God. I don't know," said Hample, looking back on the start of what was to become an amazing journey. The questions--and comments--of small voices became Children's Letters to God, with editions published in 1967, 1968 and 1991 and sales of about 1.5 million copies.


"I wanted them to confront God as only a child can do," he said. "They're very open and truthful."


His publisher, Simon & Schuster, was dubious, refusing to give an advance, just royalties. The last laugh is on them as Hemple is still receiving royalties from that first 1967 edition.


"The first quote here is his personal favorite:


"Dear GOD,Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones,why don't you just keep the ones you have?--Amy"


"That went right to my sense of mortality and life," Hample says. "We would never say that. We would be afraid to, but we would think it.

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It was one of the tragedies of my adult life to realise I no longer had the clarity and logic which are the thought processes of a child. "I eat jam because I like jam" suddenly develops
into "I don't eat jam because jam means toast which means carbs which mean getting fat which means I have to get bigger jeans which means I have to find the money for that. You know sometimes, I should just eat the damm jam with a spoon and forget about everything else.

What does it say of a mindset that pollutes pleasures with consequences?

The Irish poets WB Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh may have been at odds with their description of the Irish countryside of the early 20th century. Yeats described it as romantic and metaphysical. Kavanagh (who grew up working the land) described it as earthy and harsh.

.... but they both agreed the loss of innocence is something worth mourning.


Yeats wrote of his open jealousy of a small child dancing carelessly on a beach in 'To a Child dancing in the Wind ';

"O you will take whatever’s offered
And dream that all the world’s a friend....

.....But I am old and you are young,
And I speak a barbarous tongue"



Kavanagh wrote of how bitter the loss of the innocence by sheer fact of over-living reduced the novelty of all new experiences in life in 'Advent';

"We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder."



Today I am just going to eat the jam .... as soon as I can find a clean spoon but then I should really do all the washing up and not just one spoon. If I am going to wash, I should do the drying too and if I am going to do all that, I should clean the crockery presses, I've only been putting it off for six months.

Perhaps I'll take the jam to the park and eat it off my fingers.

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Below follow a section of of my personal favorite "Dear God..." quotes

Dear GOD,Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.--Larry

Dear GOD,I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.--Nan


Dear GOD,In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation?--Jane


Dear GOD,I read the Bible. What does "begat" mean? Nobody will tell me.--Alison


Dear GOD,Are You really invisible or is it just a trick?--Lucy


Dear GOD,Is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?--Anita


Dear GOD,Did You mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?--Norma


Dear GOD,I went to this wedding and they kissed right in Church. Is that okay?--Neal


Dear GOD,Did You really mean "do unto others as they do unto you?" because if You did, then I'm going to fix my brother.--Darla


Dear GOD,Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.--Joyce


Dear GOD,It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about You that people are not supposed to say, but I hope you will not hurt him anyway. --Your friend,(I am not going to tell You who I am.)


Dear GOD,Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest.--Tom L.


Dear GOD,If You give me a genie like Aladdin, I will give You anything You want, except my money or my chess set.--Raphael


Dear GOD,My brother is a rat! You should give him a tail. Ha ha!--Danny


Dear GOD,I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over.--Tom


Dear GOD,Of all the people who work for You I like Noah and David the best.--Rob


Dear GOD,My brother told me about being born but it doesn't sound right. He's just kidding, isn't he?--Marsha


Dear GOD,I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.-- Love Chris


Dear GOD,We read Thomas Edison made light! But in Sunday school they said You did it. So I bet he stole your idea.--Sincerely, Donna


Dear GOD,The bad people laughed at Noah-, "You made an ark on dry land you fool." But he was smart, he stuck with You. That's what I would do.--Eddie


Dear GOD,I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.--Eugene

2 comments:

Violet said...

those poets make immortality sound like an undesirable thing.

Ivan said...

You know God is a cool God when he makes kids who think like that :)