I have a confession to make. It may be a shocker to some of you. I hope I don’t loose all of your respect by this one little vice. Here it is: I let my boys play with guns. They are not exactly real guns. But what is the difference to a mother?
When I was a young mom I had read how damaging violence was to a child’s little brain. I didn’t even allow play swords in the house, much less guns. But despite my efforts, my boys would sword fight with empty paper towel tubs, my yard stick, and even the kitchen broom. Their imaginative sword play also helped fuel their first gun battles.
I remember the first time I saw them playing with guns was outside. They had found sticks that looked like guns to them. The sticks were firing stick bullets and the ammo supply was endless. I tried to get them to stop by taking the sticks away and picking up every stick in my yard that resembled a gun, but I was fighting a losing battle. Then I was ambushed by legos. These were big guns that my boys built to put on their little shoulders to fire like a rocket launcher. Of course I tried to take those away too, but I didn’t want to remove all the legos so this one was a bit tricky. The next step was betrayal by others in my company. They were the pro-gun parents. My boys loved going to their friend’s houses and playing with their toy guns. How could I tell my friends that they were warping my boys by their pro-gun views?
All of this pressure began to chip away at my resolve and before I knew it I was in the pro-gun camp. It all culminated for me when I ran into a neighbor at a local store this week. My boys are now owners and operators of air-soft guns and her boy wanted one just like we had. She didn’t believe her son was telling the truth. “How could strict nonviolent Debi allow her boys to play with guns?” But I had to swallow my pride and confess to her that we harbored quite a bit of gun paraphernalia in our home. The look on her face told me I had come full circle.
Tonight all of the neighborhood boys, including hers with his new gun, had an air-soft war. I guess we have added another pro-gun parent. Of course she came just like me: reluctantly and stubbornly.
Boys and their guns! What is a mother to do?