For sometime I have been fielding questions about what is good or bad and who is good or bad. The other day Dhruv came up and asked me, “Is shut-up a bad word?” to which I replied that it is rude for a person to tell somebody to shut up. Since one answer is never enough to clear the air of confusion in his head, another question popped up, “Is it only rude for older people to say shut up or is it the same for children too?” I answered, “It is rude for both children and adults.” His next, “But, is it bad?” “Yes, being rude is bad“, I said. “No No. You did not answer. Is shut-up a bad word?” he pestered. Realizing the loop I created I told, “Yes, it is.” Finally satisfied, his next tale began about him breaking friendship with a certain boy from the school bus because that friend spoke bad words to him and the bad word was shut up.
Another round of Good vs Bad discussion took place upon watching the movie Angry Birds.
“Is Red good or bad? Is he bad because he likes nobody and nobody likes him? Are the pigs good or bad? Is the King Pig bad because he stole the birds’ eggs? Stealing is bad so he must be bad?“
There were pauses between his questions which I could not fill with my answers the first time he posed them to me. But, the good thing about him is he never forgets his unanswered questions or those for which he does not get satisfactory answers and thus he keeps coming back. The problem, however, is I have subjective answers and Dhruv desires objectivity.
Going ahead with my undesired subjectivity, I explained, “None of them – Red, the pigs or the King Pig were absolutely good or bad. Red was bad for his anger issues and his problems with everyone on the birds island but he saved all the eggs in the end so he was good. The pigs were good because they followed their King’s orders sincerely but since they were part of the stealing the eggs act hence they were bad. The King Pig was bad for destroying the birds island and running off with the eggs, still he was good for the pigs of his kingdom as he got eggs for them to eat.”
Continuing my discourse, “Therefore, you see, nobody is a complete good or bad. Even you and I are both good and bad.” To this he started crying repeating “We are good people, we are not bad.”
On such days I feel how difficult can it be to get things right.
How would you deal with such questions?