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Water on Their Wings

March 31, 2007

Yesterday, my husband and I were sitting around the dinner table with our three children and our niece, all between 5 and 9 years old. My 9 year old has just begun studying dinosaurs at school and my other two just finished studying them. My niece is a self-proclaimed expert (age 6) who “just knows” because she reads about them.

I made the mistake of asking about the name of the ones who fly (come on, mom, don’t you know that?). My 5 year old immediately said “Pterodactyl”. Then they started talking about a movie they have been watching at school where some Pterodactyl tries to fly from one ocean to another but gets really tired and barely makes it. At this point, my 5 year old again speaks up. “Mama, Pterodactyls ate fish, but they didn’t like water on their wings. They could dive down and eat fish and never get water on themselves!” “Really,” I say. “And just how do we know these creatures did this?”

Before she can answer, my second-grader starts telling his father all the various class opinions on how dinosaurs came to be extinct. “My teacher’s opinion is that they all died when Noah’s flood happened, Daddy. But Mama and I had the same question. We thought Noah was commanded to get two of every mammal and bird (his classifications) on board the ark. But my teacher say the ark was big, but not that big.” He follows this announcement by saying he thinks “it got too hot” and “they died.”

My daughter pipes up again: “The reason the dinosaurs are ‘tinct is the sun was too close to the earth and they couldn’t live.” I ask the kids why the dinosaurs died because it was too hot, but people didn’t. Our self-appointed expert, aka my six year old niece, completely ignores her uncool aunt and says, “Listen, I know this. I read about this. The sun was too close to the earth and all the plants died. The plant-eaters didn’t have anything left to eat, so they died. Then the meat-eaters had nothing left to eat, so they died too.” I ask her if she was taught this in school. “No, I just know. I read about this stuff.” I ask again why humans didn’t die if it was so hot. With a look of exasperation, she says, “Nooooo…like a hundred million years ago!” My second grader says, “My teacher thinks the earth is 200 million years old.”

I ask the kids what God says about how long it took to create land, light, plants, animals, people, water…after an answer of “a couple of weeks” (really, we have studied the creation account many times), I remind them that God said he created the earth in 6 days and rested on the seventh, so there were not millions of years between the dinosaurs and people. I ask the kids who we should believe, God or their teachers. With a look of confusion, they say that believing God is right.

At this point, my husband tries again to emphasize what he has been saying intermittently throughout the conversation–we can’t know if the pterodactyls disliked water on their wings or not, because we don’t know anyone who has seen a dinosaur, and we don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has seen dinosaurs, and their teachers are not even scientists. He points out that some large animals were mentioned in the Bible that we do not know much about, but we cannot make as many assumptions as are currently being made over finding some bones that are old.

With a reminder that we need to respect our teachers–they are trying their best to teach us what others have learned, and they are in authority over the children during the day–I remind the children that everything that teachers say is not fact. In fact, *gasp* everything we see in movies is not a fact. I find all too often that if my children see something in a movie, particularly if it is not animated or is supposed to be educational, they accept it as fact without thinking through it.

I have to ask myself, was my worldview shaped much like theirs? Am I a thinker, or do I just accept whatever a person I respect says with no questions asked?

There are many theories about many things out there…I just hope we can teach our children to reason and believe things based on the filter of God’s word.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. EmmyJMommy permalink
    March 31, 2007 4:30 pm

    OOOOOOOOoooooo, So many good things to get into…and I have to go to the grocery store…but be assured…I’ll be back!

  2. Ben permalink
    April 3, 2007 8:45 am

    you are rolling out some blogs, lately. i don’t show up for a few days and wham, 4 posts.

    we have this great lecture from Answers in Genesis that talks about dinosaurs a bit. you guys could borrow it… but I am not sure your kids would last through it? it is 45-50 minutes.

    and by the way… Noah took baby dinos on the ark. there was room.

  3. Bamadawg1980 permalink
    April 3, 2007 11:58 am

    Em, I’m looking forward to your return visit and additional thoughts.

    Ben, we read our daughter some information from a publication put out by Ken Ham that says much the same as what you are saying. Apparently, based on average size of animals, it would only take the first floor of the ark to get all 75,000 or so species alive at that time into it. Also, it maks sense that younger animals would be taken rather than older ones because they would be all that is left to procreate after the flood. Another interesting thing…apparently lizards keep on growing long past sexual maturity (therefore older crocodiles are bigger crocs) so we don’t know how much smaller these younger dinosaurs would have been.

    I’d love to borrow your CD–the two younger ones probably wouldn’t last through it, but our oldest would, I think.

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