Today’s kids have it a bit more difficult.
Each generation of children in the past have had a clear enemy.
A country, philosophy or a face that could be pointed to as the definition of evil.
For generations children have played with that definition and identified good by it’s absence.
I do not mean to discount the fact that there is definite evil in the world right now, or belittle the effort to erase it. It just seems more complicated.
Evil co-existing smack dab in the middle of a bunch of good.
Evil pretending it is good.
It has probably always been that way to an extent, but these days we seem to be aware and sensitive.
Aware, sensitive and appropriate.
I can’t even describe scenarios of kids’ play themes of the past without inwardly shuddering at the complete un-political correctness of them or worrying that they would offend.
And that is where I am with my children. If I can’t fully describe the enemy in a way that they understand and can appropriately express it in public then I am better off making evil less physical and more theoretical.
But theory doesn’t make a good play opponent.
I have left it up to them to find an adversary.
After trying out several different foes (some got vetoed by adults and some got discarded by the kids), they have settled on the ultimate bad guy…
Burglars are evil.
Who likes burglars?
No one is pro-burglar!
Burglars work well for any game where good fights evil and wins.
But this opponent is not without it’s quirks, Rhett(5) was curious why burglars always dressed the same and wondered why the police didn’t just go round up everyone wearing black and white stripes.
Reid(8) was horrified at his little brother’s lack of burglar wardrobe knowledge and stated with an eye roll, “Rhett! Burglars do NOT dress in real life like they do in Legos.”
And so in play, my boys wage war against the evil burglars.
Down with burglars!
Which will be fine until someone delves into burglar psychology and finds that it isn’t their fault that they are burglars and we all become sensitive to it.