In the Village: The moral dialogue continues

Published: Thursday, Sept. 15 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

E: Yes! He swings me! And he helps me up into the tree!

F: But Erinel, when you kicked down his city, did Charlie go out and play with you?

E: He hit me.

F: So let's see. You wanted Charlie to play with you. He said he'd play with you as soon as he finished his city. But you wrecked his city so he couldn't finish it. And instead of playing with you, he got mad and hit you. So what do you think? Was that a good plan?

E: Plan?

F: When you want Charlie to play with you, wrecking what he's doing doesn't work, does it?

E: No.

F: What about waiting until he finished building the city? Would that have worked?

E: It was taking so long! Hours and hours!

F: And he loves doing it, doesn't he? It makes him happy to build things. He was happy, wasn't he? Don't you want him to be happy?

E: I wanted to play!

F: And he wanted to build. Those are his hands. His feet. His body. He gets to decide what to do with them. Not you. You only get to decide what to do with your body. Your hands, your feet. While he was using his body to build, what could you have done with your body?

E: I don't know.

F: You could have gone outside and played alone until he came out. You could have gone into the kitchen to see what Mother was doing. You could have read a book. You could have watched a DVD. You have dolls. You have games.

E: I wanted to play with Charlie!

F: Charlie doesn't belong to you. You don't get to decide. You can ask, but he gets to say no. Do you understand?

E: Yes.

F: And you don't get to break what other people have built. Do you understand me? Even when you're angry, if someone else built something, you have no right to break it.

E: If I do they'll hit me.

F: Charlie won't hit you again. He's working on that. That's not why you don't break things. Erinel, making things is hard, but it's a good thing to do. A beautiful thing. Don't be a breaker of things that other people made, Erinel.

E: I won't break his city again.

F: Look at these blocks scattered all over the floor. When Charlie comes back in here, it'll make him sad to pick them up, because he'll remember how it used to be, and how it got broken. Why don't you and I pick them up and put them away together? For Charlie?

E: Then will he play with me?

F: I don't know, Erinel. You really hurt his feelings when you broke his city. But he's your brother, and he loves you. Do you forgive him for hitting you?

E: Yes! Yes, I do!

F: Then when we've got this all cleaned up, you go tell him that, and ask him to forgive you for breaking his city, and see what happens.

Orson Scott Card is a writer of nonfiction and fiction, from LDS works to popular fiction. A longer version of this column can be found at MormonTimes.com. Leave feedback for Card at www.nauvoo.com/contact_desnews.html.

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