Today, as I am driving Caroline and her friend Sarah to gymnastics, I hear Caroline say to Sarah:
"Except for the no faces thing, what does it mean when you're Catholic?"
We have just picked Sarah up from her school, the local Catholic school. Several of Caroline's friends go there, although she goes to the public school a few blocks away.
I was puzzled by the no faces thing, but opted for silence.
"Well, I like my teacher," Sarah replied.
I couldn't contain my curiousity. "What do you mean, 'no faces'?"
"When we draw pictures of people, we're not allowed to color the skin on the faces or the arms or legs," Sarah answered.
"And when you draw animals, you have to draw them their true colors, like you can't make a blue horse, right?" Caroline added, having heard the coloring rules from her friends Lily and Selena who also go to the school.
I had to interject again, still puzzled. "Why can't you color the faces or arms or legs?"
"Because," Sarah answered, with exaggerated patience, "there are people in the world with skin that is different color from ours and we don't want to make them feel bad."
We are all silent as we ponder this concept. I'm thinking, so you leave everyone white? Then Caroline (with her beautiful asian skin) jumped in. "I'm glad I don't go to your school. I want to be able to color animals any color I want, even blue."
Sarah turned to Caroline. "Do you believe in God? Catholics believe in God." She's 7, by the way.
"I'm not sure," Caroline answered. "I know one thing..." I started to cringe in anticipation. "I believe in horses."