Several years ago Tommy and Sarah were playing on my parents’ back porch. Tommy wanted a toy that he knew was behind a wasp nest. He sent Sarah to retrieve the toy and being the eager-to-please child that she is (adolescence is curing some of that) she went to retrieve the toy. Three stings later Sarah was sobbing on the couch and I was trying to convince her to take a Benadryl. Tommy raced around the house frantically delivering pillows, ice packs, popsicles and anything else he could think of to make her feel better. I really don’t think he was motivated by guilt. I think Tommy felt no responsibility for what happened. He wanted something and knew it wasn’t safe to get it himself. He sent his sister out of practicality and not cruelty. Minutes later he knew someone he loved was hurting and he wanted to help. Cause and effect just don’t connect in Tommy’s mind.

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