My Knee-Jerk, Mom Reaction to Today’s Events

My son and his friend are running around my house ‘shooting’ each other with Nerf guns right now. They are diving on the floor, collecting bullets, telling the other “YOU ARE DEAD DUDE” and generally being nine-year olds.

I want to make them stop. I want to freak out and take away their toy guns and stop their game and tell them they are DONE.

photo.JPG

There will be no more fake gun fights in this house. I no longer want to raise a son that glorifies the gun culture. And as a parent I take full responsibility for allowing him to go down that rabbit hole. The toy guns. The endless video games with nothing but war play. Things we find totally normal.

Normal.

photo.JPG

I realize in his mind it’s make-believe. In his mind he KNOWS the difference. But today I just can not take the fake vs. real when a friend’s nephew was in that kindergarten class in Connecticut. When so many parents tonight grieve. When the unthinkable CONTINUES to happen again and again in our country.

It begins at home as the culture of guns and violence is forever put in front of their young faces. Even responsibly they are desensitized to the bloodshed. And yes, kids have been doing this forever. If not Nerf guns they would be making guns from sticks or out of their hands. But would they be doing it as much? Would it be as vivid? As real? As daily? As routine?

I just don’t know. I just know I can only control what happens in my own home. I can not control what happens in my child’s school not matter how involved I may be. Or if they are at a friend’s house no matter how well I think I know the parents.

I have to teach my children just how dangerous this world can be, without stealing their childhood…their innocence. Without taking away the very thing youth should be about: discovery and joy and laughter and play.

I watched the President cry. I felt the pain in my friend’s words from across the miles. And I agreed with the Governor when he said evil came to their community.

The problem being…I see no end to the tears, or the pain, or the evil until we, as a nation, face this culture we have created and now celebrate. A culture of hate and violence. A culture of “I’ve got mine, who cares about yours.”

A culture of not being your brother’s keeper. All anyone wants to do is make sure they’ve got their weapon, their safety, and to hell with anyone else.

This is the last lesson I want to teach my children. Ever. Yet this is the lesson so many are teaching theirs’.

As others fight to make further cuts to services we need…like mental health services. And education-the ONE thing that could save us all.

So as I debate all the toy guns scattered about my home, and the violent video games we play…I ask you to think about where this conversation begins as a community. Where it starts as a nation. Where we really dig in and make some changes so no parent, no family, no children ever have to go through this again.

Because I don’t think any of us can take this anymore. Our hearts can only break so many times before healing becomes impossible.

Comments

  1. My dad was in WWII and as a result we were never even allowed to make guns with our hands. He never wanted us to even pretend to kill. It was kind of annoying because of course my friends’ plastic guns that came with her cowgirl costume would never hurt anyone, nor would my hands, but… as I got older, I saw his point.

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach my kids that they have a responsibility to look outside themselves and help others; they save some of their allowance to give to people who sit outside the stores around town collecting money for homeless shelters, but I wanted them to understand it more. My sister put a cute book on my nephew’s wish list that I liked so much I bought a copy for my younger kiddo as well as my nephew, and I found a more involved book geared for older children for my older daughter. I think the work we need to do is to teach our children that they have a responsibility to society. From a young age. Take them to events where food baskets are prepared for needy families before Thanksgiving. Take them to work in soup kitchens every so often. Maybe when they’re old enough, take them to work as a family building homes with Habitat For Humanity. Once more of us, especially the young, realize that they have responsibilities to others besides themselves, things will change for the better.

  2. I agree. It is our culture and we need to step the hell up and change it. IT IS WITHIN US TO CHANGE IT.

  3. Its a sad and ‘normal’ thing that kids play with toy guns. But how does that relate to violence with real guns? its an interesting topic that needs to be researched…

    this article –
    http://www.psychalive.org/2009/11/nerf-guns-%E2%80%93-what-are-we-afraid-of/
    helps to understand more.

  4. Mick there is also a ton of studies on how violent video games or video game play does not turn out violent humans. There is so much to look at and ponder. I’m not sure it’s the play or the violence with real gun connection- I think it’s more the cultural phenom that would drive someone to want to fit in, to want to be the best and show off the most, and to want to make sure they were #1 at all costs. There seems to be a lack of team in the US. It’s all me me me me. Which is where I think I might, ultimately, be landing in all of this. While yes, we have much work to do on gun control, mental health access, education and more…we have JUST as much work to do on reminding Americans we are truly in this together. United.

  5. You could be dead wrong on this one…literally. I knew a kid that grew up in a very conservative house. His parents were very strict about what their kids were exposed to. He wasn’t allowed to play with guns, or any game associated with guns. One day while over a friends house, they were playing hide and seek. He thought he would be smart and hide inside of a cabinet that was normally locked. It was a gun safe, and apparently he figured out that the round key on his friends dads key chain, fit the cabinet. He grabbed the keys that were hanging in another room and let himself in. He ended up shooting himself. The police believe because he was never exposed to or taught what a gun was, he didn’t and couldn’t have known any better.

    You have to let kids act out what they see on tv and video games. You have to let your kids get exposed to the horrible possibilities of the world, a little bit at a time, and with guidance. Let them shoot at each other at home so they know what it feels like, then have serious conversations with them throughout their childhood. Help them understand what real guns can do. If you know a hunter, let them see the bullet hole and dead animal so they understand exactly what guns can do. Would you take away your little girls barbie dolls because she was pretending to be in the kitchen with no shoes on? Hopefully you would teach her that playtime and imagination is good, and that women don’t belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Just like you should teach your son that playtime and imagination is good, but real guns are dangerous, this is why, and this is what you should do if you ever come across one. Education is always more powerful than taking things away. Taking them away just because someone with a mental illness did something bad with real ones isn’t good enough. Talk to him about what happened and the real reason why in age appropriate terms. Don’t let him resent you for taking his toys away “just because”. It will only make him want to more, or weird to other kids. The one thing you should learn from this event is that you don’t want to create a child that will be weird to his friends. Letting them be themselves and really talking to them in age appropriate, real conversations is the best thing to do here.

  6. Hey superb blog! Does running a blog such as this require a lot of work?
    I have virtually no knowledge of coding however I was hoping to start my own blog
    in the near future. Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off topic however I just wanted to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

Speak Your Mind

*