Good Guys and Bad Guys–Teaching My Children About Peace

Fox in Bath

The Lil’ Buddha

“Daddy, are sharks googuys or baaguys?” my three year old son asked while he was taking a bath.

It’s a legitimate question. I don’t want my son to classify all sharks as bad, but I also don’t want him to pet a shark because he thinks it is his friend. I heard a story of some little girls who got mauled by a bear because they ran up to it thinking it was a Care Bear.

My older son rescued me, “Sharks are not guys, right Daddy? Plus, there are no good guys and bad guys.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Reve...

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith (2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months earlier, my older son asked me if Anakin Skywalker was a good guy or a bad guy. Although I hated what George Lucas did to the Star Wars franchise with the introduction of Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen, I have to admit that he demystified good and bad with Anakin.

“Anakin becomes Darth Vader, Son. There are no good and bad guys. Sometimes people make bad decisions, but that does not make them bad.” I heard my voice crack, perhaps from a guilty conscience. “Everyone has good in them. Don’t ever forget that.”

I don’t want my sons to judge others as bad people. I want them to love all beings, even their enemies.

“When you look at the dark side, careful you must be…for the dark side looks back.”~Yoda, Dark Rendezvous

Yin Yang - Symbol

Yin Yang – Symbol (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

When they get a little older, I want to teach them about yin and yang–how in all darkness there is a little light and in all Light there is a little darkness. I want to let them know that this relationship is always in movement.

At every moment we can choose the light or the dark. Part of us will always be attracted to the dark because part of us is dark. But we can always choose the Light, no matter what the circumstances, what others say, or what has happened in the past.

Nowadays, my sons don’t ask me about good guys and bad guys anymore. I hope that means that they view others as a part of the whole, but I suspect that they are tired of hearing me preach about onelove and forgiveness.

My new strategy is just to put on some Bob Marley.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

Do you see the world in black and white? Why or why not? Please share.

82 comments on “Good Guys and Bad Guys–Teaching My Children About Peace

  1. merbear74 says:

    “There is no try, only do.” Best Yoda quote ever. I agree that there is dark and light. I know for a fact, because I swing between them constantly. I think kids are like sponges. You teach your children well, Kozo. {{Hugs}} Merbear

    • Kozo says:

      Go into the Light, Merbear. Not the TV, the Light! haha.
      Yes, my kids are like sponges which is why they love Bob Marley, Samurais, Star Wars, and Kung Fu movies. Can you say “brain-washing”? Please don’t call Child Protective Services. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  2. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Great Post Mr. Kozo

  3. […] Good Guys and Bad Guys–Teaching My Children About Peace. […]

  4. goldfish says:

    You and your kids are adorable. 🙂

  5. Denise Urena says:

    Love this. The Anakin character has always intrigued me so I love that you mentioned him here. The character fascinates me because he was good inside and out, but he was very ambitious and didn’t want to be held back, not even from the Jedi counsel. So, it almost seems like it’s not that he was bad, he just felt that was the only way to reach his limitless potential – he was almost too passionate and that made him make a bad decision turning to the dark side. But, then… in the end you can still see he’s good inside. It’s just interesting if you think about it and makes me think how some “bad” people might be like that as well – going down the wrong path in life because of intense desire, love, or some other reason. We just never know and all along they might be a very good-hearted person.

    Great topic!

    • Kozo says:

      Exactly, Denise. I would combine your reasons to say that some “bad” people are going down the wrong path because of intense desire for love. Some “bad” people are searching for a love that they never got. They may look for love in domination or the promise of eternal peace. We are all just looking for love. I like to believe that everyone is “good-hearted.” I’m not sure I would want to live in a world where some people are born bad just by chance.
      It amazes me that George Lucas had this character developed when he released the original Star Wars. He saw the good in Darth Vader. That is pretty revolutionary.
      Thank you for reading, commenting, and following. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  6. csroth3 says:

    I see evil as being something completely different from Yin and Yang, something that goes against the healthy give and take of Yin and Yang. Like you said, bad decisions that go against the flow of goodness.

    • Kozo says:

      interesting take, Cheryl. My father-in-law who is a qiqong master would say that Yin and Yang encompass both good and evil. There is nothing that is separate from Yin and Yang. Health and Disease are both part of Yin and Yang.
      I do agree that bad decisions go against the flow. I often think of the phrase, “All attacks are a cry for help.” I want to teach my sons to make the choice they know in their hearts is right. We’ll see what happens. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  7. Flo me la says:

    Quoting Yoda and listening to Marley is usually a pretty solid strategy. 😛

    • Kozo says:

      Ahh, you found out my secret. Star Wars and Marley are what my blog is really about. haha. I agree. I’ve been playing Bob Marley for my sons since they were born. They love singing, “Everything is going to be alright.” {{{hugs}}} kozo

  8. theINFP says:

    I think you handled the good/bad guy question well. All you can do is to offer a balanced view until they are old enough to make up their own minds 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Balance is crucial, Robert. What balance means to me is that I try to take out all my prejudices, preconceived notions, and ideologies. Pretty tough, but I’m trying. Thanks for the observation. I need these reminders. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  9. runningonsober says:

    Wise man, be you, indeed…
    Yoda and Marley in the same post, very awesome!
    You know, I’ve been mulling over the Nietzsche version of looking at the dark side / abyss for my weekend quotes post, but I love your Yoda choice as well. I may include it with a link to this post, if that’s cool with you? (Pretty please?)
    Truly loved this one, Kozo!
    ~ Christy

    • Kozo says:

      Of course, Christy. I can’t wait to read your post. Nietzsche and Yoda, wow, that has a kick in it. You might want to add Marley to tone it down a bit. 🙂 Make sure you let me know when it is up. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • runningonsober says:

        Many thanks, Kozo. Most Saturdays I put out a themed quote, music and poem post; they’re just “fun” little pieces really. I know Yoda will be a big hit with everyone! Hugs back, Christy

  10. Lets melt and splash all the colors in the Crayola box onto the black and white canvas of order! PS. I love that yoda quote!

    • Kozo says:

      Yes, a technicolor yawn. I used to love the Counting Crows line, “Gray is my favorite color.” I also love how my son goes to town when he colors and totally disregards the lines. Let’s get messy. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • Yes! Go all out of the lines because we can think in the box but, its far more fun thinking out of the box!! Your sons are so cool!!! Hmmmm just like YOU (((Mega Super Dooper Hugs)))

  11. C.K. Hope says:

    I just had a conversation with my 8 year old about Anakin a few weeks ago where we talked about people having both good and bad inside and they had to decide which to use. Cool to know I’m not the only one using Star Wars to teach these things! I believe the world is a symphony of colors. Nothing and no one is simply black or white; except, of course, the Yin and Yang symbol 😉

    • Kozo says:

      Yeah, C.K., there is a great lesson to learn there. Too bad the last three Star Wars films were so bad; otherwise, the world might be a different place. 🙂
      I love the image of the whole world being a symphony of colors. If only we could get in tune, imagine the beautiful music we could make. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  12. Dieu says:

    I was just thinking along these lines yesterday. I was thinking how a person can be really sweet to you one moment and then the next be a total jerk. I thought to myself, “why can’t people be more consistent!” Then I said, “Dieu, people are contradictions and complex. We have a mix of the good and the bad, and sometimes one side wins out over the other.” I think awareness is what is important – if we are aware of those moments when the darker side of our natures come out, then at least we can try to compensate for or work on letting more of our light shine through. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I love synchronicity, Dieu. This is exactly the point I was trying to get across. I totally agree that awareness is key. I have had times in my life where I knew that I was not being true to my heart, but I have had other times where I was just clueless how my actions were harmful to others.
      I also think if we “let more of our light shine through,” then there will be less darkness in our actions and lives. Thank you for shining on this blog. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  13. Geo Sans says:

    as an artist

    I’ve started to understand


    black is absence of all colour in light

    black is all colours put together in painting pigment


    white light is created by mixing red, blue, green light (our TV, computer monitors)

    white paper is the absence of all colour


    we see the world

    in millions of colours

    why should we limit our perspective

    to the limitations

    of binary logic

    in black and white


    I wrote a poem

    a while back

    thinking similar thoughts …


  14. rarasaur says:

    Love it! 🙂 I agree with you on your analysis of good guys and bad guys– Star Wars is great for teaching that lesson! 😀

  15. electronicbaglady says:

    when we got the good guy/bad guy question we always asked the kids if they could tell by looking at someone whether they were good or bad. Then we droned on about it was what they did, and that everyone did good and bad things. By the time the kids were comatose we reckoned we were moving onto subliminal programming 🙂
    The best bit was hearing them quote it back at their friends when playing!

  16. jessicanix says:

    Every person and every situation is unique and needs to treated as such in my mind. Nothing is ever as simple as black and white. Someday’s I wish that it was since it would make life much simpler ;).

    • Kozo says:

      Yes, exactly, Jessica. Judgment is usually made without all the facts and nuances–and often without empathy. We judge Darth Vader because he wears all black and breathes funny, but deep down he just wanted a mother’s love.
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      p.s. A simple life would be a boring life in my opinion.

  17. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Great post Kozo 🙂 I like the way you handled it. I very much subscribe to the Albert Ellis school of thought on this matter. That no one is good or bad, only people can do good and bad things. What is a bad thing? An action that is deemed bad by the prevailing culture or the people the act is perpetrated against.

    Basically any kind of cruel, inhumane or needlessly humiliating, debasing or torturous act.

    Everyone has the capacity to engage in cruel and kind behavior, and all of us will engage in both during our lifetime. It’s all a matter of degrees 🙂

    I posted my B4Peace post today. My take on this month’s subject was pretty heavy, but I think it’s stuff that has to be said so that we can remember the importance of showing kindness toward others, and children in particular 🙂

    Hugs Kozo, all the best!


    • Kozo says:

      Love the Albert Ellis take, Rohan. Yes everyone has the capacity to engage in cruel and kind behavior. I believe that everyone is just trying to find love and happiness, as well. Sometimes we look in the wrong places, but that does not make us bad.
      Can’t wait to read your B4Peace post. Thanks for being a friend and mentor. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  18. Great post. I think that the less we can learn to label anything as good or bad not just people, but experiences and happenings as well. Just like people there can be a touch of darkness in the lightest situation and vice versa. Labeling people or things as bad or good really doesn’t change those things. Thank you for the thought. All I know for sure is that you are one of the good guys Kozo!!

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Jon. I haven’t always been a good guy, which is why I teach my sons this lesson. I have acted like Darth Vader in my day, but deep down I believe I am a loving and compassionate soul. I hope my sons can see the same thing you do, Jon. Love, Kozo

      • You know better than me, your past does not define who you are today. It was just the path to get you here. 🙂 All of that is let go and really what you do today, with the time you have is what is important.

  19. Sunshine says:

    the world is a rainbow with radiant ☼light shining through even during those cloudy dark black and white days…so that is how my eyes see it. 🙂
    i agree with jonathanhilton…you be one of the good guys…even if your voice sometimes cracks (i was so laughing about that sentence!!)
    love this message that we all face making choices to either seek the light or play around in the dark doing evil…or another way, go outside and play in the ☼light or stay drinking in the dark sleezy bar room. okay…enough drinking, hahaha…time to go outside and stay there!!! ☼sunHUGS!!
    (never heard the bobmarley song but i like it! 🙂 )

  20. kasturika says:

    For quite some time I viewed the world as black and white – and even now there are times when my initial reaction to certain situations is like that. And then I have to tell myself that there are lots and lots of shades of grey too – and nothing is ever truly white or black.

    Even the phrase black and white has such a racist connotation, which I absolutely am against. Why should white mean good, and black mean bad? They’re just different…

    • Kozo says:

      Since my skin tone is deemed yellow or brown, I have to agree full force with you, Kasturika. Black and white does limit our ability to see beyond difference. I think it limits our ability to love. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  21. Sarah says:

    Simply awesome. Love the photo! What a cutie!! How true that we all have good and evil within us. My son asked me this morning how many bad drivers there were. (I hope that’s not a reflection on my daughter’s new skills!) I said that there were fewer than you’d think. That while you might see many instances of bad driving, even excellent drivers make mistakes. If you’re only judging people on their worst moments, it can look pretty grim. Same with everything. Hugs to you. s. xo

    • Kozo says:

      What a wonderful lesson, Sarah. I love the line, “If you are only judging people on their worst moments, it can look pretty grim.” What if we judged people on their best moments? Or maybe even their potential to do great things? Reminds me of Louis Armstrong “what a wonderful world.” {{{Hugs}}} to you my dear friend. Kozo

  22. BroadBlogs says:

    Love the Li’l Buddha.

    Good thoughts. No good/bad guys.

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Georgia. I wanted to do a section on how we always say good “guys” and bad “guys,” which makes men active and women passive or non-existent. Maybe I will do another post just on that topic. Thanks for reading and commenting. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  23. diannegray says:

    The good/bad question is a really difficult one to explain to children and you’ve done a great job of it, Kozo. What a brilliant daddy you are 😉 {{{hugs}}}

    • Kozo says:

      Sometimes I feel brilliant, and sometimes I feel like Darth Vader, Dianne. We are all works in progress–us and our children. Here is to life-long learning. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  24. […] Good guys and bad guy – teaching my children about peace B4peace how do we raise children to be peaceful Out and about at 13 Bloggers for Peace […]

  25. Lada Ray says:

    Great post, Kozo – you are a wise man and good father 🙂

  26. 1EarthUnited says:

    Ooooh nice technique, kids can definitely relate to Star Wars analogies. And I’m sure they comprehend the yin/ yang relationship. Kids are just super bright these days, it’s amazing what they understand, esp. being raised by an everyday guru. ♥ That’s right…
    Grow dem kids on a steady diet of Tuff Gong and they’ll be right as rain! 😀
    Bob Marley quotes:
    “Tell the children the truth.”
    “One love, one heart, one destiny.”
    “My music fights against the system that teaches to live and die.”
    “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”

    • Kozo says:

      I looove the Marley quotes, Maddy. Have never seen some of these quotes. I mostly listen to the music, but it looks like I’m going to have to read some biography. The last quotation needs to be a permanent fixture on this blog. My sons send their Auntie Maddy a big wet kiss and cheek filled {{{hug}}}. Love, Kozo

  27. […] though I think I prefer Yoda’s quote, discovered via Kozo at Everyday Gurus in “Good Guys and Bad Guys–Teaching My Children About Peace” […]

  28. Le Clown says:

    I’m new to your writing, but from what I have seen so far, your kids have a loving father who is teaching them how to make the best choices with the best of their abilities. They are lucky boys.
    Le Clown

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks,Eric. I consider myself lucky to be a father of two wonderful boys. I’ve made some bad choices in life and I don’t want them to follow suit. Teaching them compassion and empathy are key, imho. Great to see your famous red nose here. I am honored. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  29. […] Good Guys and Bad Guys: Teaching My Children About Peace […]

  30. […] to thank. Rebecca Fraser-Thill from Career Avoidance 101, Jon from Jonathan Hilton, Kozo from Everyday Gurus, Lisa from Latebloom Lisa, Ashley from Chaos and Words, Clark from Clarkkent07, Nazima from […]

  31. Very sweet post, Kozo ~ I just love to hear about your boys! and thanks for the pingback – funny thing, though ~ this pingback didn’t appear in my comments, and wasn’t in spam either. Maybe because I approved if for you once before? Cyperspace is still a mystery sometimes ~ cheers! tomas ♥

  32. Oh, now I see why… you linked my article to Francine’s… if you click on Heartflow2013 in your related articles, it takes you to Francine’s blog 😉

  33. […] list (don’t worry I was on the list too lol, I love my assholes ) were Kozo from Everyday Gurus, Georgia from Broad Blogs and Miss Four Eyes from…well Miss Four […]

  34. […] Good Guys and Bad Guys – Teaching My Children About Peace […]

  35. lauriesnotes says:

    Your commitment to peace is really cool.
    When we can embrace our own darkness, we don’t project it out to others..closer to peace.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great point, Laurie. Embracing our darkness can often shed light on the matter and lead to acceptance and compassion. Thanks for the insight. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  36. Jayden says:

    Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
    Many thanks!

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