In a three-year-old’s world, a “bad guy” is anyone who stands in the way…
My son tackled his little sister, so I made him sit on the couch.
“She’s bad!!!!” he yelled, angrily.
Yesterday, he decided to climb on top of the car, instead of into his seat as instructed. This got him in trouble.
“You’re bad!” he hollered at me.
But my favorite example of Good-Guy/Bad-Guy confusion came when he was playing a video game at his grandpa’s house.
“HELP ME, GRANDPA!!!! THE BAD GUYS ARE SHOOTING AT ME!” Collin exclaimed desperately.
The “bad guys” were actually the Sherriff’s men, coming to arrest him for terrorizing towns people.
“I’m not going to help you,” my dad told Collin. “I warned you that they would come arrest you, if you started shooting the good guys.”
I added: “You made a bad choice, Collin. And now YOU’RE the bad guy!”
Nobody wants to think of themselves as the “Bad Guy.” From our own perspective, we’re always the hero–always right.
I had a conversation with Collin at church yesterday which confirmed he still thinks this is true.
“I’m the Good Guy already!”
It’s only other people–like his mother and little sister–who are “bad” and need to change.
Again, this is normal for a not-quite-four-year-old. But it makes me wonder why some people never grow out of it.
Time will tell whether Collin comes to understand… or if he grows into an adult who still believes he’s perfect.
But, if the day ever comes when he changes his motto from “You’re bad!” to “I’m bad,” there is hope for him yet…
There’s “I’m sorry, that was wrong” and “Please forgive me” and “I want to do better.”
For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.