Friday, July 20, 2012

At a Loss

He was about 7 years old with his front yard full of play guns that looked all too real.  He was playing them by himself.

I felt sick to my stomach.

What kind of child plays with toy guns?!  What kind of parents buy that many play guns for their child???!!  I remember whispering to my neighbour with my judgy pants on about the parents and that normal kid play?  She laughed at my terrified expression and shook her head - maybe it was?  Maybe it wasn't?

She has two daughters...of-course she didn't know.

My toddler at the time made his way over towards him but not before I swooped him up with an "Oh no you don't!"

He protested.  I was horrified.

But I stuck to my guns.  So to speak.


I buckled him into his seat and asked him how his day at pre-school was.  What did he play?  Who did he play with?  What did he learn?

"I played guns with Andrew!"

My stomach turned violently.

"You played what?"  I didn't want to hear the words again...the question was blurted out in shock.

"We played guns!  With sticks!"

" you were playing a stick game."  I said to brightly.  Too forcefully.  The word guns coming out of an innocent 3 year old little boy's mouth was too much for me.  We didn't have toy guns in our home then.  We still don't except for a brightly coloured water gun that was given to him by a friend this summer.  

He's now 4.5 and my littlest is now 2 almost 3.

The shoot you down your dead games?  They happen anyway.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to go out and buy my sons' a toy gun...because oh well - they play guns with wooden spoons anyway.

Especially not now.  After all the major horrific tragedies occurring too often in neighbourhood cities.

When family bbq's, an afternoon trip to the mall and a night out to the movies turn into a person's worst nightmare?  Something has got to give.

I was at a movie theatre YESTERDAY WITH BOTH MY SONS.

This is not the world I want to raise my babies in.  It's consumed with the terrifying, the ugly and the violent.  The news - they say - is covering more and more of these 'events' - it's just fear mongering - the crime rates?   They're on the decline.

That's not reassuring to me right now!!!!!  These nightmares are actually happening.  

And it's insane.

I realize the answer is not to boycott gun toys - although that's not a bad idea in my opinion at this point in time - I just wish I knew what the answer was.

I'm at a loss feeling entirely helpless, anxious and sad.


Kristin said...

What a tragedy that we all woke up to hear about today. Stunned, really.

Because I have two girls and my line of work finds me working with families, often surrounding the behaviour of their children, I have found the research of Barry MacDonald (Mentoring Boys) to be very helpful in informing parents about "boys' and "boy behaviour." This certainly doesn't solve the world's problems with violence and crime, but this newsletter informs us how to raise boys to become caring, courageous and ethical men. When I saw Barry speak he led a discussion about boys play and included some interesting thoughts on "gun" play. I believe he was suggesting that it will likely be unavoidable that a stick will turn into guns, however attempting to discourage the "acting out" of scenarios (over imaginative and made up play) and the use of toy guns, was a good place to start in keeping it "boys play" and not imitation of life.

If this sounds like it might interest you more you can see his website I have definitely found it helpful in my work with parents in creating a vision of raising their sons.

January Dawn said...

Kristin - thank you so much for sharing this. I most definitely will be visiting this site.