“Be careful with the pages, Daddy.”
I looked at her and smiled. She looked back and raised her eyebrows to remind me that she was serious.
It was time to prepare Annabel for the next day’s eighth-grade religion quiz. As I flitted from one page to the next in her immaculately penciled spiral-bound notebook, I finally landed on the proper starting place: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways (also known as the arguments for God’s existence). As Annabel shifted in her seat, I began to ask her questions about motion and causation, contingency and degree. I started to probe a little off script (as it had been quite some time since I had read Aquinas). Though she wanted to stick to the quiz material (after all, we all wanted to watch The Office), Annabel engaged me with spirited explanation that transcended the bullet points on the page. As her eyes lit up, you could literally see her mind at work thinking logically, critically, about the most important things in the world. This was eighth-grade religion class at her Catholic middle school.