Not on the same day, of course. At least, I hope not.
Philosophers Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer have started a project called Help! My Child is a Philosopher! All children are, of course, just as all children are scientists. The issue is to nurture children’s natural curiosity, rather than let it be squelched.
On their forum they shared an anecdote from Daniel Ogilvie:
“When one of my daughters was four years old, she came charging out of her bedroom and down the staircase well after she would normally have been asleep. She was crying. She stood before her mother and me and through her sobs announced that she did not want to be a thing that dies. I was astonished by her announcement. Clearly she was calling out for help. It occurred to me to tell her to shut up and go back to bed. I had enough sense not to act on that impulse and was relieved when my wife responded, “Don’t worry dear, you have a long life ahead of you” and gave her a hug. The words worked wonders. Her emotional pain subsided and she was sound asleep in 15-minutes.”
I had precisely the same experience as a kid myself; one of my earliest childhood memories is of lying in bed and crying at the realization that my grandmother and everyone else I knew was someday going to die. (Apparently it’s a somewhat-common occurrence?)
The fear of death doesn’t go away for most of us, and it’s one of the major motivating factors for people choosing to believe in the supernatural. (Ricky Gervais’s underappreciated movie The Invention of Lying does a great job with this theme.) Even I will admit that the shortness of our lives here on Earth is one of the least attractive parts of a naturalistic worldview. That’s not an argument against it, of course; when we want something to be true, we should take that as a reason to be extra suspicious, not as a justification for believing it. But accepting it is crucially important for constructing a meaningful life in the real world. Might as well start young.
This is not a dress rehearsal, this is the performance. Make it count.