Yesterday morning was an early one.
A little before 6AM I was awoken by some commotion next door, and try as I might, I just could not head back into dreamland. As I struggled to fall back asleep, I noticed that EZ had crawled into our bed at some point during the night, and was snuggled up against me, his little face buried into the pillow.
It was sweet, peaceful, and quite joyous…while it lasted.
About 20 minutes later, the whole bed was awake. MD was off to shower for work, and EZ started stirring. It was still much too early for me to properly function, so I hoped it would be one of those slow-to-fully-wake up type mornings.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Only minutes later, I heard his scratchy-from-sleep voice pierce the quiet.
“Do you think that bad people know that they’re bad? Or do you think that they think what they’re doing is good, and that we’re the bad ones?”
Too philosophical a convo to happen before 7AM.
I knew where his thoughts were coming from, at least. Lately, he’s really been into the concept of good vs. bad. He sees the world mostly in black and white as far as those concepts go, and I always try my best to instill in him the notion that there are lots of shades of grey when it comes to good and evil. Yet, his fascination with the idea that “bad people” exist really weighs on his little brain.
This manifests itself mostly in his play, as he has a bunch of police LEGOs (and the robbers that accompany those sets). He also will pepper me with hundreds of questions whenever we see police officers around town. However, despite knowing where his curiosity stemmed from, that didn’t make me any more prepared to dig deep into heavy questions before my eyelids had really even fully opened.
So I went with my trusty parenting trick that I save for such occasions…
“What do you think?”
He hemmed and hawed and tossed and turned. We snuggled a bit as we both thought it over. And between the two of us, we came up with a decent response. EZ came to the conclusion that sometimes bad folks do bad things knowing that they’re bad, and they just don’t care. I added that even if they know it’s bad, maybe they feel like they have no other choice.
He then went on to say that other times, bad guys might really think that what they’re doing is actually good and we’re the ones who don’t understand. When he voiced that opinion, it really gave me pause.
While EZ started chatting with MD about something else entirely (showing the power of the short-attention span), my mind couldn’t let this whole concept go. I kept thinking back to the whole cookie-boycott business.
Not that it makes their actions any more excusable, but I’m sure the cookie-boycotters truly feel that they are in the right here, as hard as it is for any of us to understand that perspective. Clearly this is more complex than good versus evil, but that early morning reminder from the kiddo did make me think: How do we go about trying to change the minds of folks who spread misinformation and hate, especially when, in their minds, they are the good ones?