As anyone with more than one child can tell you, each has a distinct personality, no matter how much they look alike or how close they are in age.
Among my five girls I have a set of twins. The younger twin is much like her father: loves to read, enjoys the outdoors and everything agriculture-related, and likes catching critters. The older twin is much more of a “girl-girl,” big on hanging out with friends, keeping up with what’s cool and is easily embarrassed by dad’s antics.
Two other big differences between her and me: she has yet to “inherit” my love of history, and she has a gift for gab of which I could only dream. Those two characteristics were in evidence earlier this week.
While driving my four younger girls (ages 12, 11, 11 and 9) to their other house recently, I employed a David-and-Goliath metaphor to describe a situation, to which Daughter No. 3, the older twin, responded, “What does that mean?” I said, “You’re familiar with David and Goliath, right?” She said she was.
Knowing this one pretty well, I pressed her. “Okay, tell me something about David and Goliath.”
“Uh, one of them killed the other.”
“Which one killed the other?” I asked.
“Goliath killed David?” she offered.
I tilted the rearview mirror down so I could look at her. She had a sheepish grin. “Are you telling me that after eight years of religious education you don’t know the story of David and Goliath?”
“I know one of them was a giant and one of them killed the other,” she said. “I’m just not sure who the giant was and who killed who.”
At this point her three sisters had their arms up in the air, eager to answer. I tell them their sibling is going to sink or swim on her own.
“Here’s a hint as to the identity of the giant,” I tell my budding bible scholar, “how many kids in your school are named David and how many are named Goliath?”
Daughter No. 3 pondered the question just a few moments before shouting out: “Goliath! Goliath was the giant.”
“Very good,” I replied. “So who killed whom?”
“David killed Goliath?” she offered.
“Yes, and how?”
“With rocks!” she said, gaining confidence.
“With rocks – what, did he roll a boulder down on Goliath?”
“No,” Daughter No. 3 corrected me, “he pelted him with rocks.”
“Pelted him?!?” I said incredulously. “Did David just toss rocks at Goliath until the latter couldn’t take it anymore and died?
“Yeah, pretty much; David pelted Goliath with rocks until he was dead.”
After a long pause that involved me staring at her while she smiled back at me, I gave her the Reader’s Digest version: “No, the story is that David used a slingshot and bounced a good-sized stone off Goliath’s melon, killing him.”
“Really?” Daughter No. 3 responded enthusiastically. “That’s pretty neat.”
I then asked her about a few other basic bible stories:Her take on Adam and Eve: “They lived in the Garden of Eden and were NAKED!”When I asked her what happened to them, she replied: “They became victims of the forbidden fruit theory.” When pressed for details, she responded, “You know, the FORBIDDEN FRUIT THEORY!”
I asked why the fruit was forbidden. “Because it was poisonous.” What fruit was it, I continued. “A peach?” she offered. When I inquired, “A peach?!?” she replied quizzically: “Peaches are poisonous?” I felt like I was in an Abbott and Costello routine at this point.
Next we moved on to Noah’s Ark, which she described thusly: “God was mad at people so he told this guy Noah to build an ark, which is a boat, and God flooded the world.”
Me: “How did God flood the world? Daughter No. 3: “He just flooded it.” Me: “What did Noah do with the ark?” Daughter No. 3: “He put all the animals in the world on it.” Me: “All the animals in the world? That’s a lot of animals. And wouldn’t the bears fight with the lions, and such. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, and what about the smell?” Her: “I don’t know; I wasn’t around then.” Me: “How big was the ark?” Her: “56 feet.” Me: “56 feet? What, 56 feet long? 56 feet wide? 56 feet high?” Her: “Yes.”
Finally, I decided to throw out what I thought would be a softball question and asked her to tell me what she knew about Moses.
“He had brown hair and wore a gown.”
“Yes, a gown – a red gown. It was more like a nightgown.”
“Do you mean a robe?”
Indeed, at that point it worked just fine.