When I was seven I noticed that on Sundays, when my dad and I were picking through garage sales, my friends were putting on nice clothes and going to church. My burgeoning sense of missing out on fun stuff drove me to question our Sunday rituals.

Me: Mom, why don't we go to church?

Mom: Because when you go to a church they teach you that everyone who doesn't think like you think is going to hell. And we don't believe that.

That was the only conversation I had about about organized religion with my parents until well past my "you can't teach me anything" years (read: 12). Yet it managed to serve as the basis for my body of beliefs regarding not only religion but equality, tolerance, etc.

My biggest fear of fatherhood is that I won't be able to impart the values I want my children to have. Values that, if absent, are going to make me feel like a failure. Yet my mom, who couldn't of known, probably still doesn't know, the impact of her answer to a child's questions, managed to give me that gift in one afternoon, in one minute.

So it's all just random chance? Is there any hope that when that critical moment comes I will find just the right words?

This is the kind of shit I worry about. And I don't even have kids...I don't even have a girlfriend.