Part of being a teacher is stepping out of your comfort zone. I was raised Catholic, have become...I don't know what you would even call it...maybe something like Universalist, but not exactly. The Universe and I are BFF...there should be a name for that. Law of Attractionist? I don't know.
Anyhow, among the many things I have to teach is Hinduism. I don't know much about Hinduism in my personal experience, as you might imagine, but if you have to teach it, you have to learn it. Because it's such a dense and confusing religion, I need to make sure that the kids understand Hinduism as its absolute basics.
Clearly, I have sucked at this.
The assignment was: Pretend a Kindergartener has asked you, "What is Hinduism?" Explain it in terms a 6 year old can understand. They needed to include the following concepts: reincarnation, Brahman (the sort of big-cheese god with its three main god-parts), karma, puja (how they worship), and the caste system.
Here are some actual responses from today:
There are 2 kinds of karma, bad and good. Good is mostly when you have an awesome soul, bad is when you are rude, mean, nasty and etc. (No shades of grey here, clearly.)
The whole goal of Hinduism is to be reincarnated so many times that you reach the Batman. The Batman is the force in the universe that makes up everything, including all of the people and the flowers and the animals and Mrs. Browne’s coffee cup. When you get to the Batman, you don’t have to have any more lifely troubles. (She means Brahman.)
The Ghandis River is very sacred to Hindus because they say it washes away your bad feelings. Like Ghandi did. (He means Ganges.)
Good karma will help you reach the Brahman, which is beyond this world of suffering, where the true essence of life is found. Once you have reached this blissful point, you don’t ever have to be reincarnated on this stupid Earth ever again. (I have referred her for counseling.)
In India, people do not think of death as an ending or the beginning. It’s a ferris wheel, but it’s also a fun ride because if you get good karma, then each spin around is better than the next. (Take that, Slumdog Millionaire.)
I'm better at teaching...well, everything else. I promise.