The righteous choose their friends carefully

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Synopsis:  The Bad Guys is a children’s graphic novel series written by Aaron Blabey. They currently are my 8-year-olds favorite series. As of now, we have only read books 1-7, but my son’s Santa list asked for the entire series. The series is about characters who historically are written as ‘bad guys.’ The main characters consist of a wolf, shark, piranha, snake, tarantula, and eventually, a dinosaur is added to the group. They have decided they are tired of being ‘bad’ and form a “Good Guys Club.” The books consist of them looking for ways to be heroes. 

Discussion with your child: I like these books because of the concept of ‘bad guys’ working at being ‘good’.

It seems the characters have a tendency to want to do things that are wrong or maybe even evil. With children you can discuss the concept of Original Sin.   Original Sin was when the first humans chose their own will rather than God’s. This sin had lasting consequences: loss of original holiness, death/pain entered the world, and the tendency towards sin became universal (CCC 396-412).

It is important to stress with children that Original Sin is not a punishment but a consequence. The first sin had lasting effects in that humanity now struggles to do what is right and is attracted to material reality over spiritual reality. This is why we have a tendency to sin and is called concupiscence (CCC 2515). St. Paul also discusses this concept in Gal 5:16-17:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.

The characters in these books do not always know the right thing to do. At times, they have to get together and discern what would be ‘good’ in the situation. As the books continue, you can see that the characters grow in virtue in fighting concupiscence.

I would discuss with children that it is okay to recognize that we may not always know the ‘good’ thing to do and understand as humans, we might, at times, desire the ‘bad’. This does NOT mean we are ‘bad but that we have a fallen nature. When this happened in the books, the characters relied on each other to help them grow in virtue. Which brings me to the last point I would discuss with my children.

How crucial it is to have friends who desire to grow in virtue.

The characters in these books were friends who decided they have the same goal: to be heroes. None of them were perfect, and at times some desired their ‘bad guys’ days, but when they faltered, they had a friend who reminded them of their goal and helped them back on the correct path.

We don’t want our kids to be heroes; we want them to be holy. Children need to choose friends who also want to be holy. This is vital because concupiscence will be with us always on this earth. We need friends who desire to grow in virtue and to help us along the way.

Here are a few bible verses that stress this point:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Ecclesiastes 4:10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

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