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CodyTalks at the...
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"How the Internet is like a Small Town"
...Twitter is coffee shop of the world... the whole world can now know about the good or bad thing you did just like it's always happened at the small town coffee shop.
"where are all the bad people at?"
"Cody....ok....put this one out there....How do answer this question to a 5 year old..."WHERE ARE the bad people?"
It kinda struck me... made me think.
The first thing that popped into head was... "I love that this 5 year old has that question" ... it's very cool that this kid doesn't know and is inquisitive... my 12 year old asks me a million questions a week... it leads to good thinking, smart kids.
Then I started really pondering what was going on in that kids mind and what I felt an appropriate response was.
I gotta make assumptions... actually understanding the mind of 5 year old is truly an impossible task.
I assume this child has lived in an environment that has not lead to being around people normally classified as "bad"... this is a good thing! I am not a fan of sheltering older kids/teens from the potential evils of the real world... but at 5... yes... its ok if the warthogs on kung-fu panda are the most evil things they have been physically exposed to.
I am also assuming that this child's parents have discussed things with them about "not talkng to strangers" and other mandatory parenting phrases... I am assuming that is where the question derived from.
Ok assumptions out of the way... it's very interesting to me to ponder good and bad ways to answer kids questions.
I don't know the answer to how to answer this little one's question... but I wanna discuss some things I think are do's and don'ts.
Don't lie to the kid: I don't think you should tell them "don't ever worry about it" or "There's no bad people in our world." It's good the kid is wondering, it's a natural instinct in children to wonder how things work, it's how they learn and become smart productive adults. But, if you lie to them... they became dumb adults, misinformed adults. Not saying you have to go into details with them about the bad things people do, or FBI National Crime statisitics... but it's good for the kid to know our world isn't all cartoons and reality shows. (A few of the bad people are on reality shows)
Do stop everything else and converse with the kid: I see so many people (and have been guilty myself) of giving the over the shoulder dismissive response to children asking questions like this. The kid yells out "Hey Dad why do you have to got to work everyday?" and Dad nevers takes his eyes of the T.V. and yells back "because my boss says so"... conversation ends and the kid just got dumber instead of smarter. Take the time to face them, get on their level and converse, discuss the question. In my opinion the single best parenting trait I have is the willingness to say to my kids "I have no freaking idea, but Google might" we break out a phone or laptop and try to figure out the answer to every question we can. I'm pretty dumb... so my kids are masters of research... Plus I get smarter in the process... Me likes being smarter.
Like most of my posts... as I get to the end... I have no idea what the hell I am talking about here... but its was fun talking to myself as I typed.
I think my response would have been:
"Well buddy, there are some bad people in every place in the world... and we have to be aware of that, but always remember that in every place there are more good folks than bad. So trust your instincts and find the good folks you can trust and be a good trusting person to them" ... I imagine the 5 year old would have said "What's instincts daddy?" and I would said... "don't worry about that... I will be here to be a daddy til you figure that out" ... or something like that.