Wednesday, February 24, 2010


StinkyMan posed a question yesterday that hurt my heart on a couple of levels.

"Mommy, how come some people hate some people?"



That is such a hard question to answer and it makes me sad that at the ripe old age of almost 5, he even knows anything at all about hate. We don't use that word in our house. It's a punishable offense.

I tried to think fast, tried to frame my answer on a preschool level and tried to remember that his version of "hate" is the kid who takes your playground ball and not Nazis and terrorists and hate crimes.

"Well...." I said carefully, trying to be truthful and simple all at once. "I think some people have too much energy and time to think about what they don't like. And all that energy and time turns into hate. If they spent time and energy thinking about what they like about someone, they might make friends instead. Like if you don't like somebody, you could think 'I don't really like that guy, but he has a nice smile.' "

He looked confused, so I pressed on.

"See, you don't have to love everyone. You don't even have to like everyone. It's OK not to like somebody. But when you don't like someone, just don't worry about them. Find something else to think about, like what you are going to have for lunch or what game you are going to play on the Wii when you get home. Hate takes a lot of energy and makes you an unhappy person. It's such a waste of your brain and your heart."

"It's not nice to hate somebody." He said solemnly from the backseat of the car.

"No, it isn't." I looked at my boy in the rear view mirror. "Who do you know who hates somebody?"

"Nobody. Everybody I know is nice."

"That's good, Bub. I'm glad you have such nice people around you."

If only it were that simple for the world, no? I wish all of us, especially the children, could never know hate. I wish there were more tolerance for differences. I wish my children would never have to learn that the world is filled with hate and hateful people. I wish no one hid their hate behind "tradition" or "religion" or "history" or "culture". I wish we could all just think about what's for lunch or what Wii game we want to play when we get home. I wish that we could all learn to appreciate each other and understand that while we may not understand everyone, we all have to exist together on this planet and that differences are part of what makes our world interesting.

And I wish that everyone was nice, just like in StinkyMan's world. Don't you?

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