Conversations with a 3 year old

We were sitting on the deck enjoying supper, surrounded by newly potted herbs and vegetables. Our 1 year-old ambled about, just trained in smelling flowers gently.

Out of the blue, our three and a half year old daughter  asked a real doozey of a question: “Papa, why do bad people hurt good people? In one of those grown-up books on the shelf, there was a bad guy and he was hurting a good person.”

Wow! I felt like I was in a Terrence Malick film or something. I remember being 8 yrs old before I was really asking the question: “why do bad things happen to good people?”

I attempted a flawed response, saying that bad people didn’t know what was really good for them (I had in mind some silly argument by Aristotle). Luckily my wife was there to intervene.

“Well Jane, bad people don’t know how to love. Maybe they weren’t loved, and so they don’t know how to love.”

“Oh,” she said. “But I sometimes do bad things too.”

“Yes Jane,” (pausing awkwardly) “We all need to learn how to love.”

“Oh… well,  sometimes I hit Alasdair on the head.”

“Yes Jane… is that a loving thing to do?”

“No…” (inflected)

Everyone continued eating and smelling flowers.

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