Existential Talks With The Kids



“Is Superman real, dad?” My son, six, asks.

“No. He’s not real.”

“I feel like he’s real, dad. But I know he’s not.”

“Me too. I always wished he was. I always wished I could fly and have super strength, you know, growing up.” He pauses and I assume he’s listening.

“Are we real?” He follows up.

“Real as can be, bud. Real as can be.”


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“Dad, are yellow jackets evil?”

“Well I don’t know if bugs can be evil, but they don’t do anything for us, and will sting us and not die right away, so they’re sort of like psychopaths.”

“What’s a psychopath?”

“Someone or something that does harm to someone and is well aware of it, and does it anyway, and likes it.” I muster together, with authority.

“Yeah, yellow jackets are psychopaths.”


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My daughter, four, and I were at a little pool of water at Wingaersheek beach, and she was busy digging holes, as she is wont to do, and the wind kept pushing water toward her.

“Look, love, the wind loves you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well the wind is pushing the water to your little digging area. The wind and the water love you.”

“And the sand too?”

“The sand too.” I agree. Of course.

She smiled, pleased with herself, and asked why they love her.

“They just do. Of course they do. All of Creation loves you, the waves and the rocks and the clams.”

“How do you know daddy?”

“I just do.”

“And do the water and wind and sand love everyone?”

“I’m not sure, but they probably should.” I didn’t know what else to say. But she remembered this next time we were digging holes at the beach.


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