Religious Miseducation

We talk about religion quite a lot. Luca loves church buildings and mosques, Sonny is fascinated by the Hindu temple we occasionally drive past.


Despite being an Aetheist I like to think I treat them all equally and with the respect they deserve. OK, so likening God to the Wise Old Elf wasn’t one of my better ideas, and I’ll admit to being more than just a tad nervous about our next wedding invitation, but generally speaking I think I’ve handled it quite well .


I took responsibility for the Christian biggies like Christmas and Easter, while those I’m less well versed in have been more than adequately covered by Nursery and my teaching assistant Miss Google.


Like most subjects, when faced by the ignorance of a toddler, I speak with the enthusiasm of Brian Cox, and with a level of confidence that borders on cockiness.


And that remained true until a couple of weeks ago. You see, in the comfort of the house or car, and without an audience, I am the all knowing. The boys believe my every word. If anything it’s a little too easy.


Then, two weeks ago,  I entered a lift with the delusion of being a religious scholar, and left a broken man.


Here follows the transcript of what broke me….



Sonny:      “Why is that man hiding?”
Me:           “He’s not hiding, and it’s a lady”
Luca:         “I can see you!”
Sonny:      “Is he playing hide and seek?”
Me:            “SHE is not playing hide and seek, you’re being really rude, now quiet please.”



Sonny:       “Is he wearing a costume?”
Luca:         “Like Batman?”
Me:            “No. It’s not a man, and SHE is not wearing a costume. Shush please, we’ll discuss this later.”


(C’mon now, why is this lift stopping, no one is getting in!)

Luca:         “Is she a Power Ranger?”
Sonny:      “Is it Emily?”
Me:            “I’m really sorry! No she’s not a Power Ranger, she’s wearing something called a Burkha, now be quiet PLEASE!”


(Seriously, why is this lift stopping on every floor?)

Luca:         “What’s a Burkha?”
Me:            “It’s something people wear.”
Sonny:      “Can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No.”
Luca:         “I want a Burkha too!’
Me:            “You’re not having a Burkha. You’re not a girl, or a Muslim.”



Luca:         “Do you want a Burkha Sonny? I want a Burkha. Daddy, can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No one is having a Burkha, now quiet! PLEASE!”
Sonny:      “Burkha’s are silly. What’s a Muslim?”


(Who the hell is pressing the buttons? Every damn floor?)

Me:           “We’ll talk about this later. I’m so sorry!”
Luca:        “I want to be a Muslim”
Me:           “It doesn’t work like that.”
Sonny:     “What’s a Muslim?”
Me:           “Someone who believes in God. ”
Luca:        “Granny likes God!”
Sonny:     “Is Granny a Muslim?”
Me:          “No … do you know what, yes, yes she is!”



Sonny:      “The Wise Old Elf’s a Muslim.”
Me:            “No he’s not.”
Sonny:     “But you said he was!”
Me:           “No I didn’t.  Right, out of the lift boys!”
Sonny:     “This isn’t our floor. You said we were going to the 1st floor!”
Me:           “OUT! NOW!”


The whole episode has left me with a phobia of lifts. Actually, that’s not strictly true. A phobia is an irrational fear and my fear is anything but irrational!


  • notimeforironing

    Brilliant, I love the idea of The Wise Old Elf. Of course I’m only smiling and being positive about this experience because I wasn’t actually there myself ;-) Very well handled!

    • Mark

      To be honest I’m a little relieved they didn’t get a place at a Catholic school. Not sure how long it would be before I was called in.

  • Actually Mummy…

    Oh that’s just wonderful! I don’t suppose you could see whether she was laughing or frowning…?!

    • Mark

      I have thought about that since. I still can’t decide whether her eyes suggested laughter or she was wincing. I’m hoping the former.

  • Notmyyearoff

    Hahaaaa oh that’s so funny!! I love the Batman one!

  • Jess @ Catch A Single Thought

    This is brilliant! I hope she saw the funny side of it all :)

  • Kim Carberry

    hahaha!! That is so funny….Obviously not for you at the time but…Ohh dear! Kids love to put us in those awkward positions….lol

  • Cathie B

    So So SOOOOO pleased you wrote this. When you first tweeted about this, you know I wanted to hear more. Am crying with laughter and my OH has actually stopped James Bond to read this too – my favourite post in AGES XXX

  • Me and the tiny three

    Haha I love this this is the exact reason I hate lifts with JR

  • The Secret Father

    First class, proper laugh out loud post. And damn that lift!

  • Luci –

    Love it!! Hopefully she saw the funny side! My friend’s little girl once referred to a woman in a burkha as a Ninja Turtle, which left said friend crimson!

  • Charly Dove

    Proper laugh out loud post. I’m not sure whether it’s awkward questions in a confined space, it stopping at every floor or the Wise Old Elf. Very funny read :)

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    I remember when you tweeted, with the pain still fresh :) I cried with laughter reading this – I am so glad it wasn’t me in that lift! I don’t think I’d have stayed quite so calm :) Absolutely hilarious!

  • Judith

    Utterly brilliant! I shudder to think what my two are going to come out with once they are both that articulate. Kids just seem to have the most incredible capacity for remembering exactly what you said and bringing it up again at just the wrong (or right) moment.

  • Iona@Redpeffer

    Children are just guaranteed to maximise public embarrassment. Funny though, not for you obviously!

  • John Adams

    That made me laugh. I can feel how awkward that was for you. I shall also never look at the Wise Old Elf in quite the same way ever again.

  • Stephanie

    Oh this is hysterical! Probably not so funny for you at the time mind you. You tell it so well though. Popping over from #pocolo – love the look of your blog

  • Daisy Broomfield

    Hilarious! Think I may never venture into a lift with my two boys now- at least when they start making personal comments in a supermarket you can run away! My 4yo son came into the kitchen wearing a Union Jack t-shirt the other day and announced it was to remind him that Jesus died on the cross. Think going to a CofE school may lead to some tricky discussions.

  • Harrovian Mama

    Found this through #PoCoLo! So funny-I think every parent can sympathise!! I’m sure the woman understood, a Muslim friend of mine is always happy to talk about her headscarf to my daughter when she asks about it.

  • CommonSenseMum

    Love this! Really made me chuckle (especially as an RE teacher who would still not know what to say!)

  • Verily Victoria Vocalises

    I’m sorry but this is utterly hilarious – I am lying in bed reading and just woke Ross up by laughing so much. Kids really do put us in some awkward situations but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Religion really is a difficult one isn’t it?! Thank you so much for linking this post to PoCoLo :)

  • adayinthisdadslife

    Oh the poor lady. Oh poor you, but you gotta love kids they say the best things at completely the most wrongest of times. Well handled though I would of jumped out and left them behind tbh.

  • Louise @All The Camping Gear

    Fabulous. We have a similar attitude to religion as you do but haven’t covered religious dress as part of our staple explanations (although my formerly-a-teacher mother did a great job of explaining Hinduism and Buddism after a recent trip to Nepal).

    I giggled a lot at the Wise Old Elf. Oh, and it was me pressing all the lift buttons. Sorry

  • Jane

    Brilliant!! Gotta love the innocence :) Mine have been doing the same about death recently. Such a joy…

  • Afra

    Oh I laughed and laughed at this. I am a devout Christian but am so gonna compare God to the wise old elf in one of my children’s services soon.
    Did the lady not say anything! Funny funny funny!

  • Steve from Cool Dads Club

    Absolutely brilliant. As a fellow “non-believer” I’m concerned about what to tell my little guy when he’s older. This has doubled my fears. Thank you.

    • Mark

      Thanks, and sorry, I’m a pretty good example how how not to deal with it.

  • Jhanis


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