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Orson Scott Card: Witnessing a moral dialogue

Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

C: She didn't want me to hit her! She wanted me to go out and play.

F: Your body belongs to you. God gave it to you. I can't make it hit — or not hit. Neither can your sister. Your body obeys only you. It's your kingdom, and you're the king. So you're responsible for what it does. If you let the monster rule your kingdom, then you've decided to be the monster. Is that who you want to be? Because that would break my heart. And it would wreck your life.

C: I don't want to be the monster.

F: Then when you're angry, you need to push the anger away, and let your spirit, that child of God inside you, keep control.

C: I get so mad! I can't help it!

F: Maybe not yet. So you practice now, while you're young, and it's just a block in your hand; you practice resisting it until you get stronger than the anger. so that later, when you're tall and strong, and there's a knife or a gun in your reach, your spirit will still be in control. Not the monster.

C: Why couldn't she just wait? I told her I'd go outside and play with her as soon as I was done with my city. Why couldn't she wait?

F: She has her own monster, Charlie. And she's younger than you. She's had less practice. She doesn't understand as much as you do. But I'll work with her, too. It takes time. You've gotten better at controlling your passions, you really have. You've made terrific progress. I've seen you be patient many, many times.

C: (Crying a little.) I didn't think you knew that.

F: I watch you all the time, getting better and stronger and wiser. It brings me more joy than anything. You're getting so close.

C: Close to what?

F: To being like Jesus.

C: I'm not that good.

F: But you're trying to be. So am I. So's your mother. So is Erinel. Really. She's just little. She won't always be little. She'll get tall and smart and beautiful and you'll be so proud of her. But when she's a grownup, Charlie, do you want her to think of her childhood and remember how she was afraid of you?

C: No.

F: What do you want her to remember?

C: Us playing together. And me being nice. Even when she broke my city of blocks. (Cries again.)

F: (Holding him.) And she will remember you that way, Charlie, because that's how you usually are, and because little children forgive the ones they love.

Next time: The second moral dialogue.

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