“You know what you don’t see any more? Hand shadow puppets,” started Mr. Purvis
It was an odd way to start a job interview, thought Aaron. He figured it was some sort of test. “What about lawn darts? Or chemistry sets,” he suggested.
Mr. Purvis looked at him strangely. “Those are dangerous.”
“Anything’s dangerous if handled improperly,” said Aaron.
“True,” said Mr. Purvis, “but those are especially hazardous to children. Don’t you agree?”
Aaron immediately recognized the moment of decision. He could say what he thought, or he could say what he thought Mr. Purvis would want to hear.
“I’m not so sure,” said Aaron, tentatively.
Mr. Purvis raised an eyebrow.
“I think we’ve spent too much time and effort keeping children safe,” added Aaron. He cringed. The words that came out of his mouth didn’t match the ideas in his head.
“You’re against safety?” asked Mr. Purvis. He leaned forward on his desk.
“No. I mean, yes. That’s not what I mean,” stammered Aaron.
“Then what do you mean?”
Aaron took a deep breath. “When something is deemed unsafe, we make a knee-jerk reaction to ban it from society. That’s fine to a point, but what happens when it’s something we can’t ban? I think we should make more of an effort to make children smart. Teach them life skills.”
Mr. Purvis looked at his young applicant. “Okay, then. Apply that logic to lawn darts and chemistry sets.”
“Neither of those are inherently evil, so instead of banning them we should teach children how to use them safely.”
After considering this idea, Mr. Purvis countered, “What about accidents? They’re sure to happen.”
“Then teach them how to respond. Accidents in life a inevitable, you said it yourself. So which would you rather have, safe and ignorant or smart and prepared?” asked Aaron.
“Can’t we have both?”
Aaron leaned back in his chair and thought for a second. “No. It’s either or.”
Mr. Purvis smiled. “Welcome aboard. When can you start?”