loud claps of thunder announced that the skies were about to open up yesterday during our independent reading time in my first grade classroom. i was settling in to have a reading conference with one of the little ones i've worked with for three years now. he has both learning and emotional disabilities, but we've made a lot of progress in the last two years. the last burst of thunder made him whisper,
"rain is 'cause god wants to water the flowers"
"i like that" i said, "that makes me like the thunderstorm and not be scared"
"my mommy told me that"
"she's a smart woman"
the little girl sitting beside us looked up from her book. she sat with perfect posture, her braided pigtails slowly swayed on either side of her head, her hands were crossed in front of the henry and mudge book she had been engrossed in. she looked like a model first grader.
"thunder is from the devil" she explained, matter-of-factly.
"the devil use to be an angel but he wanted god's power. so he took god's bad powers and went to hell. when jesus comes again we don't know if we will go with jesus, or with the devil. i think the devil gave us thunder to scare us."
my little one with learning disabilities looked at her with wide-eyes.
"god wanted to water the flowers?" "he said again, this time filled with doubt.
how did a thunderstorm become a theological discussion within the span of 3 minutes?