Life isn’t black and white.
It’s not purple and pink or blue and green either, it’s all different shades.
But for little kids, most of the time it’s very much black and white. It’s good and bad, yes and no, up and down. There isn’t a lot of room for the in-between.
Recently, Little P has developed a very defined sense of ‘good guys and bad guys’. She’ll point out who the good guys on a TV show or movie are and has very strict ideas about who the bad guys are. But life, much like fiction, has a lot of variety, and trying to explain to a three year old that yes, that person is being mean at the moment, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad guy or conversely, that the good guy can do things that are bad, is not an easy task.
M put it rather well the other day (even if it was way over the head of a three year old – heck, I’m 40 and I still had to take a moment to work out what he said). We were watching a movie with her, she said ‘oh, he’s a bad guy’ and I replied with ‘well, sweetie, he’s not really a bad guy, he’s just making a bad decision.’ To which M immediately adds ‘P, you will come to realize that movies and other fictional literature, much like real life, is full of characters that are morally ambiguous.’
Yup. Morally ambiguous.
I’m not sure if she got the whole ‘morally ambiguous’ comment, and I doubt if she will relax her opinions of what a good guy or bad guy is anytime soon, but I’m glad that she at least has a concept of what it takes to be one or the other. The fact that she thinks that Momma and Daddy are ‘good guys’ certainly doesn’t hurt – although I have no doubt that the time will come when we will most definitely be the ‘bad guys’.
But hey, that’s what being a parent is all about.
Till next time, may your cape always say ‘good guy’.