Last night, as I put her to bed, I talked to my 4-year old daughter, Lý, about God’s love. God loves absolutely everyone, I told her.
“Even bad people,” she half asked, half proclaimed.
Yeah, that’s true, I told her. God loves even bad people.
But be careful when you call someone bad, I continued, because we’re all a little bad. The only real difference between good people and bad people is how much bad bad people have done.
“You’ve done some bad stuff too, right?” I asked her rhetorically.
She looked away and started shaking her head at this point.
You’ve misbehaved sometimes, I said. You’ve disobeyed. You’ve whined. You’ve been mean to your friends and your brother. You’ve said things, sometimes, that weren’t true.
I paused. She had stopped shaking her head.
“I think you might be saying something right now that isn’t true,” I said and smiled.
She turned to me, held her best poker face for a couple of seconds – and broke out in a big mischievous grin.
“And you know what, bad people are good way inside,” I then explained. “Sometimes stuff happens to them that makes them really angry or really sad, and they choose to do bad stuff, but really, inside their hearts, they are still good.”
“Just like Darth Vader,” my daughter replied.
My genius of a lovely, beautiful daughter replied with a Star Wars reference! I guess I am doing something right after all!
We have watched episode IV together (with the rest to come) and I’ve explained how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. How the pain of losing Padme Amidala and his anger towards the Jedi counsel, etc. was what made him turn to the dark side. And how in the end, he kills the emperor to save Luke, proving that deep inside, there was good left in him despite his evil. It’s actually a pretty good example to use to illustrate the complex interplay of good and bad in people. I’m happy she has such good stories to help her sort through her experiences with people, and herself.
We then talked about Star Wars for a while before I prayed and left her to fall asleep leafing through a book of fairy tales for little princesses.
Kids are lovely.