We were watching Iron Giant, for the 40th time. And I’d realized I hadn’t actually ever watched it. Not all of it, anyway.
We’re at the end. The army is attacking the Iron Giant. He’s fighting back. “He’s bad, mama. The Iron Giant’s eyes turn red and he’s very bad.”
Me: Oh, honey. He’s not bad. He’s doing bad things right now, but he’s not bad.
C: Why’s he doing bad things?
M: He’s programmed to do bad things when people try to hurt him. The Iron Giant’s programmed to fight back if people hurt him.
C: Why are they hurting him, mama?
M: They don’t understand him, honey. And sometimes, when people don’t understand things, they get scared. And sometimes when people get scared, they fight.
C: I’m not scared.
M: I know, honey. You’re brave and strong and smart. And someday, when you don’t understand something, you will know you don’t need to be scared just because it’s different. You can ask questions or say hi or just watch.
C: Why are they being so mean, mama? They’re scared?
M: Yes, love. They’re scared because they don’t understand. And they’re fighting because they are scared. But we don’t fight when we don’t understand or when we’re scared.
C: I’m not scared, mama. They don’t need to be scared or fight or not understand. They can say hi.
M: I know, love, I know.