My Three Year Old Is Wiser Than Most Adults

Every time I watch sports, my kids have two questions: What are the teams’ names, and which is the good team and the bad team. The first answer is easy, the second sometimes is, too. When one team is the Yankees, or Cowboys, or Lakers, or Notre Dame, I have no problem explaining that those teams are bad. On the other hand, I have no issues instilling irrational admiration for the Mets, Giants, Saints and LSU. In all other situations, though, I have to waffle.

It’s not just that in most other games, I have little emotional involvement. Like the early SEC game this week – Georgia and Vandy. What’s to care about that? But in addition to my lack of involvement, I really don’t want my kids growing up thinking that in every contest, there’s always a good side and a bad side.

The truth, as it seems everyone except politicians, religious leaders and talk show hosts knows, is that in most contests, the virtues and vices are mixed. Sure, some people and causes are pure evil. The inbreds at the Westboro Baptist Church have no redeeming values of which I can conceive. Neither do the type of people who fly planes into buildings. In most situations, though, no matter how much I disagree with someone, or how stupid I think they are, it’s tough to say they’re flat out evil.

So, during the Florida State-B.C game, I was very pleased to hear my daughter explain to me this morning that neither team was good or bad. I hate Florida State, so I had already told her that the “red” team (FSU) was bad. When she asked about the “white” team (BC), I said “meh.” A few minutes later, she explained, sua sponte, that “everyone on the white team thinks they’re good and the red team is bad, and everyone on the red team thinks the red team is good and the white team is bad.” In other words, she already understands that how most people feel about good and bad has a lot more to do with what team they’re on than with any kind of objective measures. Nice.

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