Good guys and bad guys

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The other day my almost 4-year-old invited me to play a pretending game. He said, “I wanta be the good guy, so you hafta be the bad guy.” I hesitated, but agreed. (I’m not a very exciting bad guy; I soften the story line and morph the weapons, rendering them harmless). I heard myself say to my son, “OK, I’ll be the bad guy so you can be the good guy.” That phrase stuck with me afterwards. Isn’t that what we do as parents? We are not “bad guys” in the actual sense, but sometimes we have to intervene in ways our kids don’t like in order to teach them. We have to feed them vegetables, get them to go to bed, and remind them to say “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” Though it’s not so fun, at times we may need to be the “bad guy” to help foster goodness in our children.