At Comic Con last week, one of my most favorite memories was seeing B go up to uber Bad Guys like The Joker, Loki, and Red Skull, and tell them – with all the confidence that a 3-year-old could muster – that he was going to take them down. He pulled out his shield … batted some crazy ninja moves … and in every case, the Bad Guy let him win. The shootings in Aurora were a jarring reminder that doesn’t always happen.
At one point while walking around the Comic Con show, Blake asked me why someone would want to be a Bad Guy. In that instant, I admit I felt pretty proud of the job I’d been doing as a parent. One of the first (and ongoing) things we do as mamas is try to teach our children the difference between good and bad – wrong and right. How they should treat people, and how people should treat them. In a house with two sons, super heroes have offered a simple way to incorporate good/bad discussion into our daily lives.
What would Spiderman do in this situation?
Would Captain America be disappointed if he saw you acting this way?
What would a Good Guy do if his little brother needed him?
When Blake asked why someone would even want to be a Bad Guy, it reassured me that I had done a good job stating the case for being good. Yet being good is only part of the story. One also needs to be able to recognize evil when he sees it. These days (at least outside of comic book conventions) that is becoming increasingly difficult to do.
Each night before bed, my son and I go over the letters of the alphabet. A is for Apple. D is for Daddy. G is for Good Guy. The shootings in Aurora have forced me to realize that outside of the letter G – or a red cape – or a patriotic shield – I have absolutely no idea how to teach my son how to spot the *real* Good Guys – or Bad Guys – among us. As a parent, that’s one of the most frightening things I’ll ever have to accept. I don’t want to teach him to be afraid of everyone he meets – but I struggle with how to teach him that a healthy bit of fear/skepticism/distance is a often good thing. Bad Guys don’t always wear black, or have scary skeleton faces. The truth is that most of us are “good” until we reach the point where we no longer can be. Until the burden becomes too much – the weight too heavy to carry. In truth, the Bad Guys are all around us.
Prayers to the victims and families of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting. Prayers that it really is true that good is stronger than evil – that good will always win out in the end.