Tonsils and Bad Guys

So, the other night, I visited with my Nephew, who just had his tonsils out.

As can be expected, a three year old who doesn’t feel well is a bit cranky.

He informed us that he was going to walk home. (Long, LONG walk that would be!)

He got fussy. He started to cry. He wanted to GO HOME.

So he needed some distraction.

I had been in the area from attending a continuing legal education seminar that day with the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. I’d forgotten to take my name tag off before I went into the hospital. So I asked him if he remembered what Aunt Addie does at work.

“Catch bad guys,” he said.

“Well,” I told him, “my name tag says ‘Aunt Addie, Bad Guy Locker-Upper.” (Although, I guess, technically, it should be Assistant Bad Guy Locker-Upper, since I’m not the boss.)

His eyes got real big. “OOOOHHHH.”

“I spent today with a bunch of other Bad Guy Locker-Uppers.”

“Why?” (a three-year-old’s favorite word).

“So we can learn new ways to catch bad guys.”

“Why?” (Again).

“Because if someone figures out a new way to catch bad guys, it helps if we tell others how we did it, so that they can go catch bad guy themselves.”

“Ooohhhh.”  He seemed impressed.  And then it was on to something else.

And he was distracted from his fussiness. We talked about his Mater socks. I had brought him a tractor to play with. He ate a popsicle. We talked about his Lego videogame. The nurse told him about a play area at the hospital. He asked for some iced tea. (Yeah, really. I can’t believe how much that kid likes tea.)

He’s a good kid. And he’s doing really well.

Someday, I’ll explain to him that being a prosecutor (or an assistant prosecutor) isn’t just about locking up bad guys. It’s about searching for truth, for what really happened. It’s about protecting the public. It’s about protecting victims. It’s about enforcing criminal laws. It’s about talking to victims. It’s about being ethical in following all the rules and procedures that are required in the justice system. It’s about talking to attorneys and judges and witnesses and going to court and talking to police officers and reviewing reports and writing motions and writing briefs and all kinds of other things.

I’d like him to understand that being a prosecutor isn’t about conviction rates, or trial wins, or notches on a proverbial trial “belt”, or the number of people behind bars; because it’s really not. There’s no way he’s going to get that yet.

And getting him to understand that I’m not the one “catching” them? Well, I’ve tried telling him that the police catch them and I take them to court. That doesn’t seem to be getting through. The idea of me actually trying to physically catch them? Funny, since I’m a clutz. Big time.

That’s a bit much for a three year old. We’ll stick to “catch bad guys” for now. More will come later.

Oh, and the nephew? He’s home now. He’s doing good.

How have we explained other jobs?

Well, he and I once talked about his mommy helping sick people feel better (nurse). We talked about his uncle (Brother) helping people stretch (physical therapist). We talked about Paw-Paw (my father) making food for animals (runs a feed mill and farm supply company).  I’m sure they’d explain more and more about their jobs as he gets older and better able to understand.

How do you explain people’s jobs to a young kid? Got a good one? Leave it in the comments!