"What's a Godmother?" comes the chorus from the back.
I try to explain. "Well, it is the parents' responsibility to introduce their kids to spiritual ideas and make sure that their spiritual needs are met - like you would ensure that they had food to eat or clothing. Parents appoint Godparents so that if they die there is still someone to ensure that this continues. The Godparents make sure that the kids grow up learning about whatever religion the parents had. So, Christians will choose Christian Godparents, Jews will choose Jewish ones... it all depends on what religion you are."
From my 5-year-old, Kai: "What religion are we?"
"Um... well... I have my own beliefs, but you guys are free to choose any religion that you like."
To which Kai responds: "I want to be Buddha".
You go girl! I couldn't think of a better way to sum up spirituality. It's all very well to choose a religion, but how often are we simply adding a label to our self-image - I am a Christian, I am a Hindu, I am a New-Ager, or whatever. But how many of us actually strive to be Buddha or to be Christ-like?
I think that all too often we have an idea of what a spiritual person "should" be like and we adopt these spiritual "markers" without getting to the essence of what they're supposed to represent. It is easier to "be a vegetarian" than to feel compassion for another living being, it is easier to get rid of all our possessions than to let go of attachment, it is easier to sit in the lotus position for hours than it is to truly be the witness to our minds as we go about the business of life.
Children have such a knack for hitting the proverbial nail on the head, and I think most of this is due to a lack of pretences, and not yet having crushed their belief in themselves to attain the best in life.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all had the noble goal of not being Buddhists, but of being Buddha?!