A few days ago, we were all in the car coming home from church. This is a pretty rare thing. Not coming home from church. Or going to church, for that matter.

No, usually the whole family isn’t in the car together. Our daughter has her own car and her own apartment, so usually, she’s driven to church by herself or she leaves with her grandparents because we’re all going to end up there anyway and we just need to go home and change.

This day was unusual. We were having company at the time the rest of the family usually goes to church so we went early.

Anyway, as we were driving home, Noah said that some of the kids in his class at school asked him if he was Italian.

This seems to me, based on my admittedly limited experience, a standard Catholic school question. My daughter was asked if she was Irish or Italian. (Neither – she’s Scandinavian. We’re converts so we don’t fit the “cradle Catholic ethnic mold.”)

So, he asked us what to say when he’s asked that question.

Well, clearly he’s black, but it is an interesting question and not an easy one as he was adopted by us when he was 8 weeks old. He has no memory of his “other family” nor any memories of any “heritage” before ours.

Now, in a diverse environment like his school, which is mostly white but with a decent showing of other races, it should be clear that he’s not Italian or Irish or whatever, but he’s in third grade and how aware are kids at this age?

I said, “Sweetie, your mom is half Scandinavian. Your dad is half Scandinavian, and your sister is half Scandinavian. If you want to tell people you’re Scandinavian, I’m totally okay with that.”

What do you think?