Today’s kids have it a bit more difficult. kids at the lake 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 hiding. 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. 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.

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  1. Yeah we are anti burglar here also – we are very into super heroes at the moment so I guess I could say we are also anti – anyone who wants to take over the world.

  2. Last year, I took my daughter to see a musical version of The Diary of Anne Frank. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond when she and her friends started playing Jews and Nazis…
    Burglar sounds like a good game to me.

  3. My son says robbers, which drives me crazy. I try and give him the actual definitions of burglary vs. robbery every time.

    Right now our evil is people who don’t wear helmets when riding bikes. My son basically says, mama, see that person…no bike helmet…they are going to hit by a car and die…ya, he’s a bit dramatic.

  4. It’s definitely a different world now. It’s such a confusing time…but I think we can always find a good vs evil…and robbers seems like a great way to do it 😀

  5. I definitely see where you’re coming from. You should teach your kids to play Mafia; it only works with a big group (the bigger the better), but it’s GREAT for kids ages 5+. And it’s all about sleuthing out the bad guys, what happens if you falsely accuse the good guys, etc.

  6. Cops & Robbers was a staple in my childhood:)

    I don’t worry about political correctness in my kids play. I worry about historical context. If they want to play cowboys & indians that’s fine, as long as they can tell me what they were fighting over. Expect a lecture & pop quiz on your subject before battle can commence.

    Which is why the kids around me tend to stick with fictional heroes & villains. 🙂