Daddy, why do we have wars?

 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

Turns out my son (4) has been learning about Remembrance Day at school.

He had a few questions:

“Daddy, why do soldiers die?”


“A long time ago, all the soldiers died where the poppies grow”

Ohh you mean in World War 1 and World War 2?

“Who were the bad guys, Daddy?”

The Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese.

“What were their names?”

Err…Adolf, Herman, err…Mussolini

“What were the other names?”

There were lots of them buddy.

“What about the tank guy?”


“Who was the main bad guy?”


“Did he die?”

He killed himself, yes.

“Why did he kill himself?”

He knew he had lost and didn’t want to go to jail.

“What is jail, Daddy?”

Like a really long Timeout.

“Aren’t you a solider Daddy?”

Err…kind of. Like a solider pilot.

“Why aren’t you dead?”


“Are your friend’s dead?”

Some of them

“How did they die Daddy?”


“Did they die fighting bad guys?”


“But why did they die and you didn’t die?”


“Is mummy a soldier?”

No, but mummy’s Lolo (Tagalog for Grandfather) fought in World War 2.

“Was he a soldier?”

Yes, he was a guerrilla solider in the Philippines.

“Mummy’s Lolo was a Gorilla?!”

No, a guerrilla solider. It means he fought in the jungles.

“Could he turn into a Gorilla?”


“Did the bad guys turn into good guys?”


“Why were they fighting?”

It was War.

“What is War, Daddy?”

A horrible thing where lots of people fight each other.

“Where the soldiers die?”


“So then why do we have War, Daddy?”

To protect us, so that we can keep living the way we want to live here at home.

“Why can’t we touch butterflies, Daddy?”

You can touch butterflies son.




Imagine, just for a second, what it must be like to be 4 years old. To have your life run on a fun and predictable routine. To have two parents, and a sister, that shower you with love and positive vibes from the first moment you wake them up at 5am to the final cuddle before sleep.

Imagine that the most upsetting thing to happen to you today was Daddy refused to let you listen to the Moana soundtrack for the 15th time in a row.

Then try wrapping your head around how children, like you, could grow up into such vastly different adults that life can get to the stage where they will stand face to face with one another and fight to the death.

I’m 33, and this world has been my whole professional life, yet I feel I’m no closer to understanding it than my son is.


Of course that’s a very depressive line of thought but I’m far from a depressed guy.


Because sitting in front of me, asking questions about history and butterflies, is a small positive boy. All the things that are good about people and humanity, walking around in the babbling, questioning, dancing, wonderous innocence of youth.

I find it difficult to be morose or defeated by the horrors of our past, or the recurring mistakes we are making today when, everyday at 5am, I’m woken up by the great potential of our future.

 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.


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2 thoughts on “Daddy, why do we have wars?

  1. That’s a tough topic, but I think you answered his questions well. I like that you didn’t stray from giving him honest answers, even when he was asking potentially painful questions. I guess we can be glad our kids are asking questions about what war is, rather than having to live through it themselves.

    1. Very true. In comparison to WW1 and WW2 we are all lucky to not be fighting wars of defence. It is an odd one to try to explain. I find I never really had to justify my own choice of career before now. Makes for some good moments of introspection.

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