A couple of weeks ago, a few days after Hannah’s 15th birthday, I knocked on her bedroom door late in the evening to say goodnight. Upon entering, I discovered Hannah in an awkward moment: she was lying in Katie’s bed, i.e. the bottom bunk, with the blankets pulled up over her knees, with a King James Version of the Bible propped against them, opened to the book of Lamentations.
“Hannah, what are you reading? The Bible? The King James Version? What book are you reading? Lamentations? Why?”
You can imagine my dismay.
Now, of course, some of you parents immediately begin to think that I’m offering this anecdote as another version of parenting arrogance, indicating how my kid is better than your kid – a teenager reading the holy scriptures without coercion, and all that.
However, you shouldn’t have to consider that scenario for long before realizing that, since my daughter was reading an obscure and fairly whiny and depressing book from a challenging translation of the Old Testament, this isn’t really bragging material, especially considering I was surprised to find her reading the Bible at all.
The truth is that we don’t really push our kids to read the Bible. I’m not saying that’s good – or bad, for that matter – but that’s the truth. We do read the Bible with them and around them, but we don’t really ask or expect them to read it. Funny thing is, at least occasionally, we “catch” them reading the Bible. I attribute that to one of the following issues: a) that crazy church we attend and all of its influences, b) their crazy grandparents, or c) that crazy God.
Of course, we also catch them playing video games, scamming ways to get more candy, watching dumb TV shows, reading comic books, and fighting with each other, and I attribute these issues to their mother.
After talking with Hannah for a few minutes that evening, though, my “concerns” were relieved, relatively speaking, and we had a decent conversation about a couple of verses from Lamentations. Hannah’s actually writing a song that includes some of these lines in the lyrics.
I’ve decide I like that. I’m not sure I understand it, but I’m not certain I understand Lamentations anyway, and especially after it is translated through a 15-year-old mind, but I like it.
Turns out, there is something quite meaningful and beautiful in the sadness of Jeremiah’s words from that traumatic period in Hebrew history, especially after it’s translated through a 15-year-old mind. And that kind of beauty, I figure, is worth sharing even if it could be conceived as parental arrogance.
Truthfully, I love Hannah’s poetic, musical, somewhat melancholy, satirical approach to life. Furthermore, I love that Hannah considers the Bible as a reasonable source of material. Furthermore, I love Hannah.
These are verses that hit home for her, and on further consideration, I’ve discovered they speak volumes to me. From now on, they’ll always be favorites of mine:
Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street. (Chapter 2, verse 19)
…for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? (Chapter 2, verse 13)