Thursday, March 22, 2018

Moments in the life of a rule-following child

Me: Will you stop at the produce store and get me a lemon on your way home from school?
Him: We're not supposed to go into stores on our way home.
Me: The school doesn't want a bunch of kids going into the convenience store right after school. But this is just a lemon. At the produce store. For your mom.
Him: I'll get in trouble.
Me: How? By whom?
Him: The crossing guard.
Me: What will he do?
Him: Tell the principal.
Me: Really? The crossing guard knows your name?
Him: No.
Me: Then how will he tell the principal?
Him: He'll look through the yearbook until he finds me.
Me: The crossing guard will sit in the office and look at pictures of 500 kids because you went to the store to get a lemon.
Him: Yes.

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Me: Here's a hard question. There's no right answer. It's supposed to make you think about power and responsibility:
Chris and Alex (insert any gender-neutral names here) live in a castle which is surrounded by a moat. There is one bridge, which is guarded. One day Chris leaves the castle, telling Alex that if Alex leaves the castle, Chris has instructed the guard to kill Alex. After Chris has left, Alex decides to go visit a lover outside the castle. In the evening, Alex needs to return to the castle, but the guard is waiting at the bridge. Alex goes to a boat captain and tells the captain the problem, begging for a ride across the moat. The captain asks for money, which Alex does not have. Alex goes to a friend, asking for money to pay the boat captain. The friend says they don't want to get involved and refuses to give Alex money. Alex returns to the lover looking for help, but the lover refuses to be involved beyond an afternoon tryst. Finally, desperate, Alex tries to cross the bridge to enter the castle before Chris returns. The guard kills Alex.
Here is the question - Who is most at fault for Alex's death? Chris, Alex, the guard, the lover, the captain, or the friend?

Him: (Look of relief on his face) I thought you said it was hard. It's Alex. Because Alex broke the rule.

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Me: (Pointing to the left corner of the table) Over here are people who always follow the rules. They never cross against the light. They always drive the speed limit.
(Pointing to right corner of table) Over here are people who don't follow the rules. They want something, they steal it. They don't like someone, they punch them in the face.
Where do you think most people are on this line?
Him: (Points to a spot near left corner)
Me: Where do you think you are?
Him: (Points almost to left corner)
Me: Where do you think Martin Luther King Jr. was?
Him: (Points to air to the left of left corner)
Me: Nope. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't like the rules. He broke them so he could change them. He went to jail. He was here (Pointing to spot partway down on table).
Him: (Mind blown)

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