12 February, 2007

Like parent, like child?

My job involves working with children of military personnel. Of course, the "type" of person who signs up for military service does it for a variety of reasons. But today I couldn't help think the apples didn't fall far from the trees I have known...

Four 5-and-6-year-old boys were playing with the giant, interlocking plastic tiles. They had created very-impressive plane-like structures, which some boys were obviously riding. Others were carefully placing large numbers of dinosaur figures into enclosed portions of the structures. I asked what they were doing, and received the following community reply as several boys pitched in to flesh out the story for me:

"We're putting the little dinosaurs in the spaceships because the big dinosaurs were killing them."

Another kid piped up, "Yeah, the big dinosaurs were bad. They kept trying to attack the other dinosaurs. So we attacked them!"

"Where are the little dinosaurs going?" I couldn't help but ask.

"They're hurt. So we're taking them from Uranus--that's where they used to live--and taking them with us to the hospital so that they can get well."

I expressed my approval of the humanitarian instinct present in their plan.

Another voice piped up, "When they get well, we'll take them back to Uranus and make sure there aren't any more bad dinosaurs there. If there are, we'll get rid of them."

I couldn't help but smile. Apparently it starts young; they've already got that justice-oriented, protective instinct common to the best of our fighting men and women. I have to admit, my heart felt a bit of a tug...