Are you smarter than a 5th grader? I am NOT!

Today with valiant effort on all those involved, three of my kids and myself were not late to church.  Last week we were late, really late.  I strove not to feel flustered and not to hassle the younger two kids with me, but internally I was busy – ok irked.

I’m barely pulling off the curb, and my child who is going into the fifth grade asked, “Mama, do you think if I could get human DNA, I could put it in a cucumber, and it would be a human in a cucumber?  Of course, I would need to engineer the cucumber to be big enough to be a person?  It could be a baby or a child.”

Me:  Well, I don’t know about human cloning with a cucumber, but I do know plants can be crossbred and genetically modified to get bigger.

C:  Cloning?  What’s that?

Rudimentary description on my part.

C:  You can do that?  Cool!

Me:  Yeah, scientists have done it with a sheep.

Series of questions I could not fully answer.  Disappointment on his point.

C:  Mama, do you think by 5th grade my science teacher will know the answers?  Without using the exact words, he decides certainly a grade 5 science teacher will know all of the details about cloning, genetic engineering, and cross-breeding.

Will you let my bedroom be a science lab?

Me:  Well, you can do that as long as there are no chemicals or fires in the house.  I do hope you will give careful consideration to the ethics of what you are hoping to do.

C:  Ethics – What’s that?

Me:  Guiding principles for decision-making.  How do you discern what’s right and wrong.

C:  You know why I am interested?

Me:  Well, no.  Tell me.

C:  If I can do this, Larry and Bob could become realities.  You know I am going to have to do a lot of research.  Can I keep my notes on your computer?  Well, probably, it won’t be able to hold all I am going to need to learn.

The earnestness of this conversation cannot be overstated.  Then after church I noticed he was hanging with university students who are studying sciences.  Well, the car ride home was clarifying.  Cloning of humans is illegal, but the guys did give him more information on how to start.

How’s a mom to keep up?


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