Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Girl



The Girl was looking at one of her history books -- at pictures of Vikings burning a village long ago -- and grew pensive.

“Papa, if you could make it so everyone in the world would have to obey one person, who would it be?”

Someone who would immediately give up that power, I said – and there aren’t many people like that.

“I thought if I had that kind of power, I would make everyone do only good things,” The Girl said.

Yes, but if you made everyone do that, you wouldn’t be good, I said.

“But I know how the world works -- about what’s getting destroyed,” she said; she and I talk a lot, on a child's level, about what sorts of things people are doing to the world, and why we should know how to be self-sufficient. “I know what people should do to make the world better.”

That’s the problem, I said. Everyone else in the world thinks they know the same thing.  It's not enough to be right, I said -- you have to be better.

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