Friday, March 15, 2013

Children, toys....and guns.

 It's an age-old problem that's been addressed here before.  The boy in the above picture could easily by either of my grandsons (interestingly, this phenomena is not apparent with my grand daughters. Maybe it's a boy thing). Within the very recent past they've literally made guns out of Legos, connect blocks, hockey sticks and straws.

My older grandson who is 5 is so interested in them that he asked me to show him pictures of the kind of gun I used in the army.  I showed him two--my personal rifle and a picture of the typical canon used in our artillery unit.

At first I was very reluctant to feed into this interest but then upon further reflection I knew that if I didn't he'd just become more and more curious and ask someone else. 

Now when we have play time after I pick him up from school he insists on playing soldier.  I'm usually the bad guy and he and Nicholas are the good guys. 

The game is simple.  They shoot me until I'm dead at which time I fall on my back, feet in the air and my tongue sticking out.  When that happens the two boys laugh hysterically.

The first time we played this I tried to discourage it by pointing out that there's nothing funny about guns, they're very dangerous and maybe we should do something more peaceful.

Almost-four Nicholas looked at me very puzzled and said, "but it's just make-believe, grampy.  Don't you know that?" 

Just make believe.  Just like when I used to play cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers when I was their age.  In fact I didn't have to pretend sticks were guns.  I actually had a toy six shooter (with realistic sounding caps, no less) and a holster--just like my TV heroes Gene Autry,  Roy Rogers, The Loan Ranger and many, many others had.

Soon enough I tired of the games and turned my attention to other things.  And so too will Cole & Nicholas. 

With recent events still fresh in the minds of Newtowners it's hard to remember that it's 'just make believe.'  We have to remind ourselves that playing these games doesn't mean our kids are going to turn into mass murderers. 

Normal, well adjusted kids will move on.  The ones we have to worry about are the ones who have something terribly wrong going on inside. 

The key is vigilance.  Constant vigilance. 

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