From our time of yore, Mister H and I have a dress up box. Deep within the depths of said box live a variety of ensembles from costume parties past.
If you were ever looking for some silver Zebra print Euro trunks (didn’t arrive on time for the actual ‘Into the Wild’ party and have never worn out of the house), some Steve Irwin khakis or a fluffy tiger bikini (totally got worn out of the house!), drop me a line.
Another folly I could cater for would be the Lone Ranger. In case you’re wondering, I make a cracking Lone Ranger and that party was actually the last time I was hit on by someone that was not my husband. Obviously, some dudes have a penchant for chicks dressed as Super Cowboys, or the fact that he couldn’t see most of my face made me more attractive.
As I was hunting in the box for some cat ears, D Man spied my shiny Lone Ranger gun. He wanted it. I placated him with Steve Irwin’s rubber snake, but he did not forget about the gun’s existence and has asked for it a number of times since.
I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of my kids playing with guns.
I’m not saying that all kids that play with guns end up popping caps in people’s asses, nor am I suggesting that everyone that plays Cop and Robbers ends up as either Dick Tracey or Martin Bryant… or George Zimmerman.
I’m just saying that guns, by their very nature, are created to kill people.
I’m was a little flummoxed by my reaction so I put it to my peeps on Facebook. It appears to be a rather polarising subject and I was surprised by the amount of reactions I received on the subject.
A number of people, whilst not exactly loving it, or encouraging it, see it as a fairly harmless form of play and if managed correctly is totally fine. They have not bought toy guns for their kids, but have acquired them along the way and just roll with it.
Some of these people direct the play by making sure it’s more about the games being played – ‘Stop, FREEZE!’, or ‘PUT ‘EM UP’, and less about the kill shot.
That said, kids love a dramatic death. I’ve seen a five year old play ‘dying’ and it’s actually pretty funny. Dying is an inevitable part of life. Kids don’t play ‘ravaged by cancer’ or ‘horrific car accident’, they just play at a vague concept of pushing up daisies. The are too young to comprehend violence.
I played Cowboys and Indians growing up ( I always preferred Doctors and Nurses truth be told. I was biologically curious, shall we say. I am neither a doctor, a nurse or a sex addict now, so we can safely say that play will not necessarily be enacted in real life)
“Our brains are built on a hunting platform,” according to Jordan Bernt Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and specialist in childhood and adult aggression. “People, especially males, are hard-wired toward weaponry and taking aim at something. Almost all of our sports are taken from this premise,” says Bernt Peterson. “There’s not too much difference from shooting a puck in a net than taking aim at a friend.” Plus, says Bernt Peterson, “it’s cruel not to allow your children to play out their instinctual wishes.
Cruel to disallow? Interesting.
Other people were more anti as ANTI. No guns. No way. Never.
If they were at someone’s house, who had toy guns, they would request for them to be put away because their kids could not play with toy guns, of any description, ever. Period.
One of my readers who is a teacher said that she did not allow toys guns in her home, nor on her playground watch at school.
Guns simply are not toys.
In fact, the mere sentence playing with guns is a but of an oxymoron, isn’t it? By it’s very nature a gun is a killing machine.
My cousin sent me a link to a youtube clip of an 11 year old girl stripping and rebuilding an AR15 rifle. In fact, she was setting a record. Under a minute.
She was pretty chuffed. Initially, I was shocked, and appalled, and I’m still frightened by her gusto, but one of my readers made me see it in another light.
She grew up on a farm, and she was raised with guns in the house. Her father taught her how to pull them apart and clean them and put them back together. They were a part of her way of life, therefore education and supervised handling was allowed – encouraged even – to demystify the object, because her father was scared that if it was a big secret thing, she’d go for it on her own.
Not that we’re discussing real guns, I just love to waffle on…. and that’s a-whole-nother debate.
I have to admit that one of my favorite comments was very irreverent…. my friend said she loved nothing more than shooting the shit out of her kids with quality water pistols, and she wasn’t fussy what the ammo was.
I reckon D Man will forget about the gun in the cupboard in a day or two, so I’ll have a bit of time to decide if I’m down with water pistol wars in the backyard in future years, but I don’t think I’ll ever be cool with guns that look like guns, that sound like guns or act like guns.
How does it works in your house?
How do you feel about toy guns?
POST SCRIPT -
A friend posted this comment to this post, and I thought it was so awesome that it should be added to the post.
I was watching my kids this morning & got to think about your post again. You will find as your children get older that there is alot of parenting focussed on what I consider to be “side issues”. There is a whole industry that encourages obsession with the side issues of raising amazing human beings. For me, the toy gun debate falls into this category. Weapons as toys doesn’t even rate on the scale in our home where our effort goes into teaching and practicing the characteristics of genuine kindness & servanthood, graciousness, forgiveness, internal motivation, generating your own fun in life, citizenship, environmental passion, human & animal rights, loyalty & humanism. Not to mention discipline & boundary & goal setting.
All of those character traits are diametrically opposed to almost everything guns stand for. In this environment, the toys guns, the nunchucks & the ninja stars find their place & are only accorded the status they deserve.
As a parent one of the biggest challenges we face is staying focussed on the BIG jobs of parenting. I guess some could argue that an extreme view on their child never seeing or laying hands on a toy gun feeds into those BIG jobs. However from my point of view I think it’s plucking at the low lying/low value fruit. It doesn’t actually acheive what you’re setting out to do which is slowly & consistently impress upon kids the importance of human life & life in general.
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Hooking up with the Essentially Excellent Jess and the IBOT kids because I’m blogging on Tuesday.
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