Jesus Started The First Food Bank & Other Math Lessons For Five Year Olds

Jesus Started The First Food Bank & Other Math Lessons For Five Year Olds June 7, 2018


One morning, my little dude, who was five at the time, approached me with his little blonde head cocked to the side and asked me how long ago Jesus started the first food bank.


“Did someone tell you that Jesus started the first food bank?”

“Yes, Ms. Anonymous” This is his math teacher. Math teacher. She is teaching him logical thinking. Lord have mercy on her soul (no holy).

I can’t lie, my blood began to boil at the idea suppressing my simultaneous desire to piss myself laughing. Food banks? Where the flip did she get the idea Jesus began the first food bank? Is this some new book of the bible? The Book Of Canned Beans? Jesus feeds the world, except Africa? Is this a fresh new way to interpret the feeding of the 5000?

Before we go any further, a little background info. My son goes to a private Montessori school. We pay a handsome sum for him to attend. We chose this school because public schools in Canada are geared toward one type of student and one type of student only, while there are many ways to learn. I wanted my son to have the best possible chance of being taught in a way that he learned best and that’s why I chose student-led Montessori.

I did my homework on this school, and we took a trip here before we moved to take a tour of the facility. While my husband and I were shown around, I asked, in not so many words, “Y’all have any Jesus here?”, to which the administrator answered that they were secular. I thought I was free and clear of having to deal with my little one being taught brain crud.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I heard that his math teacher was telling him lies.

“What exactly did she say, sweetie?”

“She said that Jesus lived a long time ago and now he is dead and food banks were his idea”

Goddamnit. No holy.

“You know that’s not necessarily true right?”

“It is true, Mommy! Ms. Anonymous said!”

Now I’m mad. I’m scowling as I picture myself marching into the administrator’s office, blaspheming like satan on Christmas and demanding an answer.

I bite my lip and kneel down.

“Honey, some people believe that Jesus was real and that he was magic. You can believe it if you want to as well. I just want you to know that Mommy and Daddy don’t believe it and there is nothing to suggest that it’s true. Sometimes, even adults can get mixed up about what’s real and what’s not”

He looks at me confused, “but, why Mommy?”

Because they haven’t thought it through, I think to myself, among myriad other colourful things that would be inappropriate to say to a 5-year-old.

I say instead, “because sometimes believing things that are not true brings people comfort.”

His little arms are around me now, my favourite thing in the world. He asks, “like this, Mommy?”

“Exactly! But we don’t need to believe stuff that might not be real for comfort, because we have each other for that, don’t we?”

His little Dennis the Menace cowlick wobbles as he nods his head up and down.

Cue the effing Full House music, I just Danny Tanner’d my way through the Jesus talk, heathens!

Almost five years later, my son would laugh at the idea that Jesus began the first food bank.

How would you have dealt with this situation? What would you have told a 5-year-old boy asking these things?

I’d love to know what sorts of questions your kids have asked about religion and how you answer them! For more posts about Things The Godly Say, click here.

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  • Tawreos

    “She is teaching him logical thinking. Lord have mercy on her soul (no holy).”

    Thank you I needed a good laugh this afternoon.

  • Happy to provide 🙂

  • That was funny! Your poor little dude was probably so confused!

    My kids really didn’t ask me a lot of questions. Some of their friends are Catholic or Jewish, but somehow they weren’t that interested. Their friends would ask about my kids’ religion, and my kids would say “We aren’t doing religion now”. They know that many in our family are religious, and the topic of god comes up sometimes, but my kids aren’t interested.

  • Martin Penwald

    I’ve never heard of it stated like that, but I guess it came from the moment when Jésus multiplied fishes and bread. It’s ridiculous.

  • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

    I guess it sort of works if you take one of the non-miraculous explanations that may not have even happened in the first place. I’ve heard it suggested that as the bread and fish were passed around,people in the crowd who had their own food added to the baskets so that at the end their was more than enough for everyone. I guess that’ kind of like a food bank, but it strips the magic out of one of Jesus’s signature miracles.

  • Martin Penwald

    That’s the explanation I got from a catholic priest.

  • igotbanned999

    Odd that she would say that Jesus is dead if she believes the Bible story…

  • Jim Jones

    BTW, search for Grandmother Fish on Amazon and look at the linked books.

    Then borrow them from your library.

  • Brian Curtis

    Did you ever find out the basis of this ‘food bank’ story? Because if it was the loaves and fishes story, that’s a great opportunity to teach REAL logical thinking in a math class.
    “Divide five fish by a thousand people, how much does each person get?”
    “Umm… half percent of one?”
    “Yes! In the catering business, that’s known as Diddly with a side of Squat.”

  • Steve Williams

    I haven’t got children so I don’t know what I would say. All I can do is relay a couple of conversations I’ve had with kids, one just last week.

    I visited a friend who has a five year old daughter called Chloe. After being there a while I realised it was quiet and I hadn’t seen their dog. “Where’s Rusty?” I asked Chloe. “Oh” she said, “he’s gone to Devon.”

    Thinking of long walks on the beach and the freedom to play in the sea I asked her if someone had taken him on holiday. “No,” she said “he’s dead.”

    You will never know how hard it was to not laugh. God knows how the conversation went between her and her parents about death.


    The other conversation I had was many moons ago with a Mormon paperboy I employed. I asked him if he wanted a can of Coke and he replied that Mormons aren’t allowed to drink stimulants or alcohol. “What about Jesus turning water into wine?” thinking “gotcha!” He said he didn’t know and that he’d ask his parents. He came back the next day and said “my mum said it was non-alcoholic wine.” I did laugh at that one.

  • It also sounds like a sly way to introduce religious discussion into a secular classroom. If that had been my kid, I’d have blown the whistle on that teacher so fast…

  • anxionnat

    I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ve been very close to my nephew since he was 3 months old. When he was maybe 3-1/2, we were out to a park and I was making sure he was playing safely. He turned to me and asked, “Auntie Di, what if, what if you aren’t here?” I was astonished that a kid that young could worry about me dying! So I asked him, “You mean if I die?” He said yes. I immediately said, “Rafi, I will be here as long as you need me.” That seemed to satisfy him and he went back to playing. He’s now 27. Though he got a little religion when he was 7 or so, he is an atheist now. I like to think I had some influence on his thinking. He certainly had enough time for my ideas to seep into his consciousness! He said a few weeks ago that he didn’t remember a time when I wasn’t in his life.

  • McJakome

    If Signature® miracles are like Signature® Pizza from the supermarket, they are innocuous, over-salted, and not a match for the name brand competition except to people who care about price overall, people who drink a lot with their meals and young people with The Hungries;)™!

  • McJakome

    Socialism! Sharing! No Ministerial Rip-Off™ no wonder evangelicals, particularly the clergy, are so against the Real Jesus™!

  • Martin Penwald

    Note that it was in Northern France, and we still have a few of old communist leaning priests.

  • Wile F. Coyote

    About two weeks ago my sister and husband, with their 5 yr old grandson in the car, stopped at the cemetery where our parents headstones lie to place flowers on the graves for Memorial Day. They didn’t know this was the first time the little guy had been to a graveyard. They didn’t see what was coming.

    Why are all these rocks here? Those are headstones, markers for where people are buried. Why are the people buried? Can they breathe? Well, the people are all dead so they don’t breathe any more. How come all the people died? Well, a lot of the people got old and couldn’t live any longer. And some others got sick, or hurt, and they died. You’re old. Are you gonna die? I don’t want you to die. Am I gonna get sick or hurt and die? I don’t wanna get buried, I won’t be able to breathe. And when you die …

    … and it got a lot worse from there, with tears, and wailing, and twenty minutes of drama, while they drove like hell to a nearby Dairy Queen for ice cream. Which seemed to fix the fit. At least, so far …

  • Shane Pruett

    I haven’t pushed my own fairly anti-religious perspective on my now 10 year old daughter, but I’ve also been very up-front about my lack of belief or faith. She’s waivered back and forth from a young age due to the antipodal perspectives of home (very secular) and school (until fairly recently very religious due to our living in the deep south). We too had our kid in a Montessori school for many of the same reasons but was quickly clear that given our geography there was no secular expectation to the school. It was our best option so we simply “home-schooled” our responses to what she was told by religious teachers, while on a couple of occasions letting them know that we didn’t send her there for religion. At the same time, my family is fairly religious and she gets it from there as well, though they are mostly respectful of my rule that she isn’t to be dogmatized, stigmatized, or shamed or that’ll be the end of unsupervised visits. But bless their hearts (no holy – BTW I loved that!) they just can’t help but buy her books sometimes. I cull as I can, but somehow she came out yesterday with a Noah’s Ark book from some years back that I’d missed. I felt mixed emotions… Though very intelligent she doesn’t enjoy reading so any reading she initiates is a bonus. WHY THIS DRIVEL?!!! Sorry… As my anxiety increased with each page quietly turned, she finally looked up at me and said, “Daddy, I just don’t see how this could possibly be true. I mean… we’re still discovering animal species that we didn’t know about, but Noah knew them all? And how big was this ark? Dad, you can’t drink salt water… how did they carry enough water?” And on it went. I was giddy with exhilaration over her critical thinking.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    ““She said that Jesus lived a long time ago and now he is dead and food banks were his idea”

    She obviously isn’t familiar with the Bible.

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    Genesis 3:19 You will sweat and work hard for your food. Later you will return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust, and when you die, you will return to the dust.”

  • Steve Williams

    Ouch, that’s a brutal introduction, I feel for all three of them. My first brush with understanding death was my dad forcing me to watch him flushing my beloved goldfish down the toilet when I was five. My sister used to scream every time my parents said “when we die” forcing them to say “if we die”. This didn’t stop until she hit her twenties. The irony is that she died before they did. I still don’t know why he flushed the goldfish away 🙂

  • Otto

    My 8 yr old daughter was distraught about not being baptized, she was the only one in the family that wasn’t (We baptized her brother and then around the time she was born deconverted). I sat down with her for about an hour or two and answered any and all questions. I had the Bible close and explained how in the Bible women were considered more like property than like people. I also explained how the religion often teaches that people that don’t believe in the religion are deserving of eternal torture. I told her I believed this stuff when I was her age, and I don’t believe it or agree with it anymore…and I refuse to teach her these things. I think being straight forward and blunt is the way to go, just like you did.

    I also had to deal with a situation where my son’s middle school teacher (public school) was telling the kids that the reason people should not lie, etc. was because “people that do that go down there (hell) and you don’t want to go down there do you?”. Having gone to Catholic school and being taught about hell, and knowing the effects it had on me, made me furious. I marched into the principal’s office and while I waited I noticed she had a Bible passage tacked to her bulletin board, I knew I wasn’t going to be talking to someone impartial. Still, I let her know in no uncertain terms that I considered what the teacher was doing amounted to child abuse. She was taken aback, and obviously disagreed but she knew she couldn’t argue what the teacher was doing was wrong.

    So how did you handle the school?

  • McJakome

    Aren’t there some right wing Catholic priests as well? I seem to remember a virtual schism with Rome in mid 20th C. Someone named Fevre, perhaps?

  • Martin Penwald

    Monseigneur Marcel Lefebvre was bishop who was against the reforms of Vatican ll, and was excommunicated for a time. He has been reinstated by Ben XVI.

    But in the 50’s, noting that workers were often non-religious, some priests chose to get close to the workers and a few worked with them (voir « prêtres ouvriers » , “priests workers” i guess). The thing is that a lot of these priests were influnced by leftists message, that was for them close to what Jésus preached (love your neighbour, share your wealth, etc), and the Vatican was often hostile to the concept.
    Northern France was, since the Industrial Revolution, a workers country, and up to the end of the 1970’s an area very strongly unionised. Coal mines and steel were major industries then (for an example, « Germinal » from Émile Zola is a good read).
    That’s why I said old priests, because left leaning people don’t go to priesthood nowadays.
    I know that one of them said to a parishonner who was worried by the right wing turn of Ben XVI, that she had to follow Jésus (the socialo-communist hippie), not the Pope, which is technically a damn heresy.

  • Mags Crowder

    I guess one could call “Jim Casy” the traveling preacher in The Grapes of Wrath a “worker preacher”.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Im not an Atheist or a Christian. I strongly believe that religion should taught as a comparative class. It will come up whether you like it or not. I considered Montessori when i was younger, but i would have been the only non white going there. No thanks. It sounded promising, and it sucks that Christians are trying to inject Abrahamic faith into every subject.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Might makes right. personally id put them in a different school. Not my kid, and its your decision to make though/

  • You sound like a wonderful Auntie. Well done!

  • Death is a tough topic to take on with a little dude.

  • She’s a smart girl – they will all get there with the right sort of encouragement.

  • Oh, that would make me furious!

    My son’s school: I left it to see if they taught him any other religious crap and they have not since. It was a one-time thing and I think I countered it okay at home, so I didn’t feel the need to speak to them. However, since then, they’ve done other things that made me furious. He’s headed to a different school next year!

  • anxionnat

    It turns out I have had more influence on my nephew than I thought. I always treat him as if he was a real learner. I don’t dumb stuff down. When he was three or so, I remember using the word “pedestrian” with him. I know that’s not a word that little kids know or use. But I did use it, and explained what it meant. He loved (still does) to feel out the contours of words, and how and why they are used that way. I defined the word and where it came from, then he asked questions to clarify: “Is a cat a pedestrian?” “Is a dog a pedestrian?” “Is a fly a pedestrian?” and so on. It’s so much fun to talk about things like this! I really recommend the practice. Once, when he was about 3, we were at the local library for a Reading Time for pre-schoolers, and the children’s librarian was reading an ABC book, with all sorts of exotic animals. She came to “F is for Flamingo.” My nephew piped up, “Flamingos are pink because they eat pink shrimp.” The librarian looked at him in astonishment. “That’s right,” she said. After the session was over she followed my nephew over to where I was sitting, and told me that she didn’t think he was speaking yet, as he had not said anything in the reading time since we started going probably 4 months earlier. And here my nephew was speaking with full sentences, and coming up with an esoteric piece of information! She said, “Where did he get that?” I told her my nephew probably got that from me, as I’m a biologist. I don’t think anyone who is a caregiver of a kid knows what they will pick up, and how they will use the information. He was (and is) a wonderful person!

  • (((GC)))

    Susan Blackmore suggested (in The Meme Machine) that the Bible’s “adaptability” [i.e. self-contradiction] may be a reason why we still pay any attention to it some 1600 years later — people can use it to support just about anything.

    “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” (Acts 2:44-45, NIV)

    “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had … that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” (Acts 4:32,34-35, NIV)

  • C_Alan_Nault

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

    And let’s not forget these words of sage advice:

    Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    … or these ones….

    Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

  • (((GC)))

    A verse contradicted in the very next verse!

    God really needed to hire a better editor.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Yes, I found the juxtaposition of the 2 verses hilarious.

    When I get into a discussion with a Christian about the Bible, they regularly use the excuse that I am taking a passage out of context. This is especially amusing, since many of them haven’t actually read the Bible, they only know the bits & pieces they have been fed at Sunday school ( after suitable editing)

    When they try that stale ploy, I ask them what the dorrect context of Proverbs 26:4 is?

    After they answer, I ask them what the correct context of Proverbs 26:5

    And don’t get me started on the 10 commandments! The Bible thumpers get most of those wrong.

  • (((GC)))

    Which 10 commandments? Isn’t there one of several sets of 10 that mentions observing the festival of first-fruits, and not cooking a kid in its mother’s milk?

    Even the well-known set is given twice, with differences such as “remember the Sabbath day” and “observe the Sabbath day”. (The traditional Jewish teaching is that God miraculously said both words simultaneously.)

  • C_Alan_Nault

    According to the Bible, there are 613 commandments. There is only one group from the 613 that the Bible calls the ten commandments ( Exodus 34:14-28). ( the ones usually called the 10 commandments are from Exodus 20, but the Bible does not refer to that list as the 10 commandments )

    From Exodus 34, these are the Bible’s 10 commandments:

    Thou shalt worship no other god.
    Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
    The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
    Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day rest.
    Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
    Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.
    Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
    Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
    The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
    Thou shalt not seeth a kid in his mother’s milk.