Why I tell my daughter ‘God is a tree’

Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? But when it comes to children, isn’t it the most simple explanation?

Eleven years at a Catholic school taught me a lot. I learned about compassion, understanding, generosity, love and kindness. I also learned a bit about the bible… which I made a very educated decision not to follow once I left school. The term ‘non-practicing’ wouldn’t quite fit how I view Catholicism now, I would be more inclined to say I am an ‘ex-catholic’. There were many parts of the church, the bible, the context and the reality of the story of Jesus I didn’t resonate with and I couldn’t pretend to believe in something that I just couldn’t get my head around.

After finishing school, I found myself much more interested in the history of the Earth and human consciousness. I became one of those people who would watch endless videos about the universe, reincarnation, consciousness and anything that was remotely related. It became a bit of an obsession for a while actually, I think I began to enter an existential crisis…

Now, at age thirty and after countless hours of researching religion and consciousness, I do have a very open and new outlook on the world. I also have two little girls, one of whom has asked me about God and Jesus. As a girl who grew up in a Catholic household, I only knew one answer to the question ‘mummy, who’s god?” and I didn’t want to give her the standard man on a cloud crap that I was raised on. I didn’t want to lie to her and tell her something I didn’t believe. I told her everyone has a different version, their own version, of God as did I, and they were all different. “God is a tree…”. You should have seen the look she gave me, like I’d just lied straight to her face. My daughter is a very smart 6 year old, she wasn’t going to go for the tree thing… she never has. Apparently, God is a man… a man on a cloud, actually. And, I am very wrong. So, basically, she thought I lied to her regardless.

This opened the gates to a conversation that I was never going to win. 6 year olds don’t understand what perception is, so that was also a dead end. Was my daughter destined to grow up thinking a man who lives on a cloud is more believable than a tree being a semi-conscious? Yes, she was.

My personal view is that God is everything. God is the name of the process in which life happens: the flowers growing, being born, the birds singing… the process of everything. I believe God is an invisible force of energy running the world from behind the scenes. This isn’t a view I struggle to explain to my mum, so I’d probably confuse the shit out of a 6 year old.

This is why I use the ‘God is a tree’ line…… I’m not lying to her but I’m not confusing her, either. Saying this leaves the doors open for her to make her own mind up one day, as every religion would agree in some metaphorical way that, God is in fact, a tree. I’m definitely not brainwashing her, she thinks I’m crazy. If I’m totally honest with you, though, I’d rather tell her going to church is being in nature than see her eating a rice cracker that symbolises a persons body and drinking wine symbolising their blood.

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