(Disclaimer: some images may offend...especially if you only have daughters! /wink)
i'm a girl. i prefer not to be muddy. or to wrestle. or to hunt spiders. or to roar. or to run really fast (all.the.time). but being a mother of 3 boys, i'm always careful that my girly aversions don't suffocate my sons' BOY-ness. it's very important to me for them to have the freedom to be boys. i don't want to be the mother (with her girl coloured glasses) constantly saying "ew! gross! no! stop, shush! yuk!"
this includes playing with guns. everything in me wants to throw them on the fire, pretend like they never existed to do basket weaving instead! however, 3 boys down Motherhood Road and i know that would be completely futile(you see, boys have fingers that make perfectly good substitute guns!)
guns (including all varying substitutes) make me nervous. and i cringe when i see my sweet boys "sighting a target". but then, i am a girl and not only that but an adult one. i remember not sleeping after reading about Aramoana while in primary school. i saw Columbine footage. i've been to the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South.so when i see my boys playing with guns, i don't just see little boys innocently expressing their boy-ness, i see all these - and more - awful, violent scenarios. and it is unfair for me to disallow them their right to play, imagine, explore and develop because i have this bias on gun use that they, at their age, are entirely oblivious to. playing with guns now doesn't mean they are, or will be, mass murderers.**
however, because banning is futile (JR hunts often also) and because it ticks me off how modern culture systematically suppresses almost every expression of maleness from birth, we're taking the possibly more controversial and un-PC route and have chosen to let our boys play with pretend guns - well, actually their own custom made wooden rifles :)
however, we have very strict play guidelines:
- NEVER point your gun (or gun substitute - pencil, toast crust, finger...*eyeroll*) at any person. ever.
- the boys are 'taught' firearms safety, which includes always treating a gun as loaded (yes, even a toy gun!)
- they are taught about why and when it is ok to kill an animal (not just "for the sake of it")
what do you think about boys and guns? do you let your sons play with them?
**much in the same way it doesn't mean your son is homosexual because he dressed up in his sister's dress. or that your 5 year old daughter and your friend's son are Doing It because they were playing 'mums and dads' in the bedroom. (and yes, both are actual scenarios and yes, both assumptions were initial - adult-biased - reactions...)