One Way I Talk About Wickedness with My Children
Ted and I never thought we’d make a trip to Party City to let one of our daughters buy a witch’s hat. Ever. Let alone dress up like one for Halloween. Not to mention paint herself green. But we did. And we have.
Now before you judge, let me explain.
It all has to do with the award-winning musical Wicked. While we’re a few years late to join the fan base, here we are. And I’d say obsessed is an understatement. Yesterday I overheard my 8-year-old singing the soundtrack a cappella in chronological order from memory. No joke.
Now I have yet to see the actual musical. As far as the book goes, that’s different. Haven’t read it, not endorsing it. But the soundtrack for the musical? Amazing. Complex. Clever. Thought-provoking. It’s coming to our city soon, so we’re surprising our girls with tickets. Sure, they may be in the almost nose-bleed section, but that’s better than nothing, right?
And it’s all thanks to Frozen and Pandora. If it hadn’t been for my daughters’ thumbs uping every Frozen tune that featured Idina Menzel, I’d have never even introduced my girls – or myself – to the soundtrack. I mean, seriously, why would I eagerly introduce my kids to something titled Wicked? That’s just not what a once-pastor’s-kid does.
But you know what? I’m glad I did.
You see, it’s helped me further explore with my girls the concept of wickedness. I’ve been able to discuss with them, as Glinda asks in the musical’s opening, “Are people born wicked? Or is wickedness thrust upon them?”
The answer I’ve given my girls? Both/and.
I want my girls to understand that yes – we are born wicked. The Bible says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But sometimes wickedness does happen to us. To people we know. And in it all – in the wickedness that’s inherently in us from birth to the wickedness we face after – we have a choice in how we will respond to it.
As we go about this life – sinful beings who are daily being transformed and sanctified because of Jesus and Him alone – we can choose. When we are faced with wickedness – with our own selfishness as well as the hurtful choices of others – how will we respond? What choice will we make?
Will be respond as Jesus desires and modeled? Do good to those who hate us. Bless those who curse us. Pray for those who abuse us. Turn the other cheek. Will we believe when bad things happen to us, as Romans 8:28 tells us, that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose”?
Or will we determine, to our peril, that no good deed goes unpunished and seek self-preservation and self-interest?
Thanks to Wicked, my daughters and I have discussed this lately. And often.
So this year, yes, we let our daughter dress up as a witch. I painted her Ben Nye green and bought her a broomstick. No, not because I think witches are good or to be celebrated, but because the story of Elphaba reminds us that we always have a choice in how we respond to wickedness. May we choose to respond well.
P.S. Here’s a video of our 8-year-old in full costume singing “No Good Deed” from Wicked. I figured if I took the time to paint her green, the least she could do was sing for me.