Sunday, May 23, 2010

May17_RedNose

We entered a wonderful age of “what if?” here. Anna runs all kinds of scenarios by me, and usually I am able to either give her an answer or to help her come up with an answer on her own. But sometimes she manages to stump me. Here is our conversation from a couple of days ago:

  • Anna (after playing sword fights and pretending to be “a bad guy”): Mama, what if I grow up to be a bad guy? What if I steal if I grow up?
  • Me: Well, you won’t grow up to be a bad guy. You are a good person. If you work hard and are kind to others, you will grow up to be a good guy.
  • Anna: Well, I work hard on my art projects… But I am only kind to people I like. I don’t want to be kind to people I don’t like.
  • Me: Umm… Er… Well, sometimes we don’t like people, because we don’t understand them. There is good and bad in each of us, and sometimes we need to get to know people better to find something to like.
  • Anna: Do you know any bad guys?
  • Me: Not really. All people I know are good people. Most people are good people.

I always find those moral talks interesting and a little difficult. Am I kind to everyone? Not really – I avoid people that I don’t like, so I don’t have to interact with them. How about you? What would you say to your child about being kind to others.

15 comments:

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

That one is easy to answer - maybe harder to live out, but Jesus answered it with the parable of the good Samaratin (Arch Books has a children's version). You have some background in this, so I don't know if your familiar with the story, or not - but for anyone who isn't, the gist is the same as the golden rule - "Do to others as you want them to do to you." Even if someone doesn't like me, I would want them to be kind to me - so if I turn that around, I would have to be kind to people even when I don't like them.

Autumn said...

For me, the answer is simple: the Bible teaches that we are to be kind to everyone, even if they are bad. We are not to return evil for evil, but are to be good even to those who hate us. Our model for this is Christ, who even though we all on earth are sinners, did the greatest kindness to us, which was to sacrifice himself so we could believe in him and escape a forever death.

This issue comes up *a lot* since we have two children. I'm constantly teaching Tommy that he can't do something bad to Ben (like hit or yell at him) even if Ben did something unkind to him (like knocked down his building). If Ben does something to bother Tommy, he is to calmly say, "Ben, stop doing that.", and then if Ben keeps doing it, Tommy can come to me for help and I'll deal with the situation.

There's an amazing story I once heard from a missionary from some very poor part of Mexico. They had church services every Sunday morning and every week there was a group of Mexican boys who would show up just to cause a ruckus. Instead of making the boys leave or telling them off (like I would probably do), they showed them kindness by inviting them into church and bringing out some drinks and food, week after week. After *months* of this, one day the missionary found the boys sitting in church, quietly, waiting for the service to start. When he asked them why they were there, they said [something like], "You've been so good to us, even when we were we were mean to you. We want to see what your God is all about." Just goes to show how powerful it can be to be kind even when people are mean to us.

Debbie said...

Interesting topic of discussion. I totally agree with the other posts. I however also think to explain this concept to a child we must explain that through life we will run in to both good people and to bad people, and those we don't know, but a kindness goes a long way. That doesn't mean we have to friends with bad people, but we don't treat them bad for this reason. I suppose that is where our teaching our children to be true to the values we instill in them is the most valuable lesson in this type of situation.

Joyful Learner said...

I love everyone's answers thus far! It was a good reminder for me too.

We've had the same issues here but JC is more concerned with people being "different" than she is. I've read books and talked to her that everyone is different and the same but to no avail. The only thing that seems to work is more exposure to different kinds of people and a close relationship/friendships with people that are "different" from us. Therefore, modeling seems to work best. In the end, even I will fail to live up to the expectations so it's very important to have God as our model. Hopefully, His love will transform our hearts.

Christy said...

Wow, she certainly throws some tough questions at you!

I love all of the answers you got. We read a book about The Golden Rule recently and it was difficult for my kids to grasp. I have to remember to revisit it.

Ticia said...

I have to admit I put off answering this morning because I was curious to see what answers you would get. I'll probably subscribe to comments to see more.
So, this is where my being a Christian comes in handy, because I can say this is what God wants us to do, God wants us to treat everyone as we want to be treated. Which like you said is hard because I don't necessarily want to treat that person nice. And like several people brought up, there's the story of the Good Samaritan (if you can find the Veggietales episode about being different, or one of their ones on friends, they've got some great explanations right at her level).
But ultimately for me it comes down to I do this and teach my children to do this because that is what God says to do, and because He showed me kindness first.
Hmmm..... this has me thinking of an interesting post to write.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I've been thinking, too, since I commented earlier, that when my little ones ask about "what would happen if" involving a crime, I usually tell them, that if they break a law, there's a penalty. So, "What if I become a bad guy?", "Well, honey, if that happens, I'll come visit you, every week in prison." :)

Joyful Learner said...

ha ha..I like your answer above.

Debbie said...

I love your answer about visiting them in prison. We actually have a friend who is a police man, while he was visiting I made Selena ask him what it was like to be a police man, boy he handled the situation and question really well, especially considering they homeschool their children. He basically told Selena you will face fines and jail if you don't do what the laws tell you to do, and it is my job to see that you are safe, and follow the rules.

Pathfinder Mom said...

Wow - that's quite the complex conversation. I'm not sure exactly how I'd handle this one personally since Tornado Boy loves EVERYONE - too much so at times. I think that you gave her an excellent, age appropriate answer.

Ticia said...

I'd have to say this is one of those fun posts that you write, and I'm really enjoying seeing what everyone says. I like Leah's answer about bringing up what happens if they "become a bad guy." I'll visit you in jail, good answer.
Thanks for posting this, and hopefully we haven't frustrated you too much with all of these answers.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I think your answer sounds good!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I envy religious households sometimes - it does make it easier to answer ethical and moral questions. I liked the twist on jail visits - I wonder how Anna would have reacted to this. I am thinking of trying another pass for Bible focusing on New Testament this time and discussing moral lessons. We'll see how it goes.

MaryAnne said...

We try to talk about people who make good and bad choices rather than good and bad people. Preschoolers definitely know how to ask questions that get parents thinking =)

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

B is in a very rules focused stage, and so he knows there are consequences for both good and bad behavior. We focus on kindness as a good trait that results in good consequences, whether that is making someone happy, or helping someone, or having something good happen to us!