Every now and then parents get a peek at what their teenager is thinking. For us, it happened on Sunday. We were sitting around the breakfast table reading the paper. The radio played Sounds for Sunday in the background. Bug, our thirteen-year-old son, had been reading the sports section of the newspaper.
"Hey Dad," he said. "Is this Big T singing?"
"Yeah," said Hubby. "It’s Thurl Bailey."
"Hey, I could have him for a role model."
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of my son as an inspirational singer. Basketball player, maybe. But a singer? "Besides," I told him, "you’ll never be black."
"I could be like Michael Jackson except go the other way. I’d go from white to black," he said.
That’s when my husband piped in, "Yeah, Bug is always asking me, ‘Do you think I have slow twitch or fast twitch muscles?’"
I’m laughing, but the guys are still talking basketball physiology. Bug asks, "Hey, if I visualize myself being tall, do you think I could grow to be 6 feet 2 inches?" Then he wants to know, "Who would want to be white?"
After a few moments of contemplation Bug asks, "Do you think Jesus plays basketball?"
Clearly, the combination of Sounds for Sunday and the Sunday sports section has taken our conversation in a bizarre direction.
"I bet Jesus could school those street ball players that played at Sky View," said Bug.
"You really think He knows how to play basketball?" asks my husband.
"Well if He didn’t, He could pick it up in about two minutes."
This last bit of cogitation leads to new train of thought.
"So," Bug asks, "what would happen if you have a bunch of perfect people get together to play basketball? Would the score be over 200, or would the score be super low?"
While Hubby and Bug debate the possible outcome of a game of resurrection basketball, I begin to reflect on just what our strange conversation might mean.
First of all, it’s clear that Bug loves basketball, and he’s been thinking about what kind of person would make a good role model. I’m impressed with his choice of Thurl Bailey. But is he serious about wanting to be black, or did he say that just to see our reaction?
Is Bug a little obsessed with being tall? Should I be trying harder to help him be satisfied with himself? I guess we’re lucky that he feels comfortable telling us about his basketball dreams, but isn’t it a little sacrilegious to mention Jesus playing basketball? Or should we take it as a sign that he’s applying religion to his personal life? I suppose that to a thirteen-year-old boy, playing basketball must be part of perfection.
One this is certain, having a teenager has introduced me to things I’d never thought before!