She is only four months old, but when she is sitting right next to you and she is hungry she has lungs and vocal cords that rival Pavarotti. There is no doubt about what she wants.
He is five and he is playing with his six-year old cousin. It’s Legos all around. The forts are made and the armies are faced off against each other. “You be the bad guys.” “No, I don’t want to be the bad guys. YOU be the bad guys.” “But I don’t want to be the bad guys, either!”
“OK, then … Let’s both be the good guys.”
“OK … but who are we going to fight?
“We will fight the bad guys.”
“Who are the bad guys?”
“You be the bad guys and I’ll be the good guys.”
“But I don’t WANT to be the bad guys.”
What if, before any shots were fired or missiles launched or IED’s exploded, everyone had to sit down and decide and agree who was the good guys and who was the bad guys?
What if we only screamed when we were hungry or we needed a change of clothes or felt sick?
A friend of mine who recently traveled in Italy posted a quote by Bill Bryson – “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
What if everyone began the new year with a childlike hope and a willingness to be curious rather than right?
“Shhhhhhhh,” whispered the four-year old, “the baby is sleeping!”
Nobody wants to be the bad guys. Nobody wants to be responsible for waking up the baby. The fights only last about two minutes, and most of the wars are actually pretend because everyone wants to be the good guys.
It wasn’t a bad way to end the old year. It’s not a bad way to begin a new one. Let’s do this year for the children.