This blog is not going to become a "Kids Say the Darndest Things!" site, but the story of my interrogation reminded me of another time I had to put my diversion skills to the test.
A few years ago, I was a volunteer at an elementary school. Once a week, the other volunteers and I would go to a school and read for 30 minutes with our first grade reading buddies. My buddy was very nice and super cute, but she had the attention span of a gnat. Every weekend, I went to the library and picked out lots of books with tons of busy pictures and few words because that was about all she could handle. And yet, almost every week she would bring her own books that were big and boring with tons of words and few pictures. I would try to get her excited about the picture books that I knew she would like, but she always insisted on starting with her books. After the first sentence or two, she would get annoyed and distracted, and it was a pain to get her back on track.
One week she actually selected a book with a ton of busy pictures. I was so excited that she had picked it out herself. It was a book about dinosaurs. We started reading and naming all the dinosaurs and learning about what they ate and where they lived. Then we turned the page, and there were pictures of different ways the dinosaurs could have gone extinct. One picture was of a volcano spraying out lava.
"Did that volcano kill all the dinosaurs?" my buddy asked.
"That is one theory as to why all the dinosaurs died," I said.
"Is the volcano going to explode again?" she asked, looking up at me with big eyes.
"No, I think we're ok," I tried to reassure her.
"Are we all going to die?" she asked.
"Ummm... don't worry about it. Everything is fine," I said. I tried to turn the page.
"Can I look at the volcano again?" she asked.
I tried to convince her we needed to move on to the next page instead of discussing life and death, but she insisted on studying the volcano some more.
"Why didn't Jehovah save the dinosaurs?" she asked, with trembling lips.
"Everything is fine! Don't worry! We are safe! Let's look at this book about the Berenstein Bears!"
"Couldn't Jehovah save the dinosaurs?" she asked, a little bit calmer.
"I'm sure Jehovah could. Ok! Let's look at the Berenstein Bears!" I said, picturing her going home and telling her mom how she and her reading buddy talked all about Jehovah and why he killed all the dinosaurs and everyone is going to die. But luckily, the call of the Berenstein Bears won out, and we spent the rest of our time learning how the Berenstein Bears joined the Bear Scouts.