Wednesday, April 1, 2009

good guys and bad guys

As we all know, good guys have blue light sabers and bad guys have red light sabers. Except for Mace Windu, who has a purple light saber, apparently for no other reason than that Samuel L. Jackson thought it would be cool. (Allegedly, Windu's saber handle says BMF on it, echoing the letters on the wallet of Jules, his character in Pulp Fiction.

So every time my son starts blathering about good guys and bad guys, I blather back about how in real life no one is all good or all bad. People just make good or bad choices. Am I the only parent who does this? Is it doing any good? Am I taking all the fun out of it? Am I just flapping my jaws to no effect at all, either way? I tend to think the last, but I retain a faint hope that my blathering will make it less likely that my son will grow up to not bloviate about "evildoers" or say things like, "If you're not with us, you're against us."

1 comment:

kate said...

I think it's a concept worth insisting on, though at this age he may not be developmentally ready to grasp it. I also think that perhpas the mythic dimension of good vs. evil is innately appealing to children (and, um, to presidents) and it also has a place and a usefulness.

On the other hand, I just had a very similar coversation with my 4yo. MIL (who is a bit alarmist, and has an extremely flimsy grasp of the concepts of nuance and perspective) often talks about the "gamberros" (I guess delinquents might be an okay translation) who are responsible for things like grafitti, vandalism, and all manner of other crimes. So they figure strongly in the kids' imaginations.

The other day after seeing some evidence of gamberrism (I think it was a melted trash bin) E was talking about it and I tried to explain to him that they weren't "bad guys," just people who made some bad choices, but that maybe next time they would make different choices. To which he responded, "No they won't, because they like being bad." Which, to be honest, may actually be true, even though we know that "being bad" isn't a fixed trait and is actually highly relative.