At first glance, to someone living my busy-but-comfortable life, the world is a pretty nice place. The trees are green, the birds noisy but happy, the neighbours are friendly, the paper arrives on the lawn every day and food and drink are plentiful.
But you only have to watch the news to know that much of the world isn’t like that. There’s death and destruction almost everywhere. Even ignoring things like the road toll and domestic problems with drug deaths, some of the stuff that happens overseas is just horrific. People can be so downright nasty to each other in a way that I just can’t fathom sometimes.
When should I tell my kids the world’s not very nice? They know about Stranger Danger, but they’re going to need to hear about all the rest of it at some stage. That people are starving. (We do what we can.) That people are killing other people (and apparently enjoying it). That in wars (both just and unjust) innocents get in the way. I don’t generally watch the news when they’re around, but as they grow older, maybe it’s time to start.
Not that it’s all bad. The lady on the train with the crutch the other morning got offered a seat immediately. There are random moments of kindness that happen from time to time. And there are countless people out there doing good deeds. They deserve to know about all that too.