Bad guys and Good guys

In our little 3 yr. old boys mind, everything is bad guys or good guys. It’s all about logic. There is no grey area. If we try to explain something that would fall in that area of “uncertainty”, it is usually followed by a waterfall of “why’s” and…down the rabbit hole we go.

I have to share a recent proud mindful parenting moment. As we all know, the “wins” are sometimes few and far between.

The most recent concept our son has brought up is: love and hate. In our house we do not say “hate” because it’s “bad guy” word. We have a list of “bad guy” words that we don’t say because, well, we like to think we are the “good guys” right? Words such as: stupid, hate, and kill fall on the bad guy list. Our son was talking to Daddy the other day and said that he hated something. Immediately, my husband tells him that it’s a bad guy word and we don’t say it. When our little man asked “why?” he passed the baton to me so I could chime in. I threw together the best explanation I could on the fly and here’s how it went:

“Okay, little man, let me explain this the best way I can. Did you know that your heart is filled with love? And that love is a bright light in your heart. So, your heart and the heart of every good guy is filled with light. Every time you say you hate something or feel hate, your heart gets a little dark spot. If you hate or use hateful words, you get more and more dark spots on your heart.”
“Do the bad guys get dark spots, too?”
“Yes. Most bad guys start with light in their heart and the darkness takes over. Usually something bad happens to them.
It was like a lightbulb went off. Then he says to me, “So, can a bad guy get the light back into their heart?” and that stopped me. After a pause, and a “mommy?” I said to him, “Some can and some cannot, but you can always try to help put the light back in by being kind and show them love.”

He is such a keen little boy. After that brief talk, he told me that he won’t say “hate” any more and will be nice to bad guys, too. Then he said that “they just don’t know any better.” I melted.

I am not a mindful parenting guru or expert. I’m more of an advocate. Like most parents, I am learning as I go. The important thing is to let go of the fails and celebrate the wins. This was a win!