A guy was playing with a little boy. The guy was pretending to be a monster and they were pillow-fighting with stuffed toys. Suddenly the little boy didn’t want to fight anymore, so he blurts out, “You’re not a monster! You’re human, too! Humans are good!”
Some time after that remark, there were more pillow-fights, several piggyback rides, and a whole lot of Spiderman videos when everyone was tired. But I still couldn’t stop thinking about what that kid said.
Of course, he didn’t mean to be deep about it. He probably got tired of the pillow fight. Or maybe he wanted to play something new. In any case, what he said still rings true: Humans are good. Humans are supposed to be good.
Kids can only see the world in two frames: black and white, good or bad. So for this kid, the game was simple: in this story, there are heroes (himself included), and there’s a villain (in this case, a monster) that has to be defeated. Of course, the kids want to be the good guy; they want to be the one who wins. That’s how it is in a kid’s world, the good always wins.
It’s only when we grow up when we realize that there are greys to the spectrum and exceptions to the rule. Somewhere along the way, life becomes ‘complicated.’ Lying becomes okay, exploiting others becomes normal, cheating your way through life becomes necessary – all of which our kid counterpart would have told us to ‘go to your room and think about what you did.’ But apparently, there are new rules for grown-ups. Apparently, grownups are allowed to become monsters.
I don’t know when, where, how, or even why the transformation happens, so even if we want to, I don’t exactly know how to reverse it. Somehow it becomes part of growing-up – ‘maturity’ if you’d like to call it that (I don’t). I guess it comes as a consequence of living in an imperfect world. Reality hits even the most idealistic, and from then on, it’s a kid’s world no more. In this world, the monsters are more subtle, more evil, more difficult to overcome. The monsters can be people superior in rank, people who protect us, people we know and love, and that alone makes it harder to be brave.
It takes much more effort, but I hope we can strive to be kids again. I hope we can still tell the difference between right or wrong, to be brave enough to choose the right, and to do something about the wrong. I hope that even when we catch ourselves becoming monsters, we can learn to stop ourselves, that we can choose to be the good guys.
I know it all sounds too eutopian. As imperfect humans in an imperfect world, we are bound to make mistakes. Nevertheless, I think it would still do the world good if we at least learned to try. I hope that, according to a kids’ world, we can at least try to be humans. Because indeed, humans are supposed to be good.
P.S. To the kids in this world, may you be in no hurry to grow up.