If It’s a Wonderful Life, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?


My four-year-old daughter has seen air crashes, school shootings and tsunami waves on television and she is worried. Sophie is afraid to play in the backyard alone because a big wind might suddenly kick up and sweep her away.

“Why do big storms come?” she asks.

“The earth needs the winds to scatter the seeds and the rain to make them grow.”

“Why do airplanes fall?” asks Sophie.

“Every once in a very great while airplane mechanics get careless.”

“Will a monster ever try to get me?” asks Sophie.

“Don’t worry because your father will protect you.”

“Daddy,” she responds, “do you have a big gun?”

I tell Sophie I think having guns is dangerous.

“Then how will you kill the evil monster?” she implores.

I tell her I will fight the monster and push him down.

“I’ll be in my closet,” Sophie informs me, “and you can whisper when it’s safe to come out.”

Sophie is silent for a few moments.


“What my sweet?”

“I want to know why bees sting, storms come, and planes crash to the ground?”

“Are you saying you want to know why bad things happen to good people?”

“Yes Daddy. Yes!”

“Oh honey,” I say. “Nobody in the world knows the answer to that one.”

Sophie blinks twice, yawns, and falls asleep in my arms.

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