boys and guns (and mamas)



a dear friend was lamenting the gun loving nature of her son
and her long held notion that as a good mama
her son would not do this

this is in part my response to her post:

i have 4 gun lovers

yes four
my 2 year old has definitely joined the gang

who also love to love to build houses for their webkinz
and worry if they don’t have covers at night
or enough food to eat

who love to hide outside
to see what wildlife they can see
and capture with my camera

who love to plant
and foster what growth we can
before said wildlife decimates anything we’ve managed to grow

who when they get birthday/holiday/special occasion money
always think to get something for their brothers

tho’ they are not fans of school all the time
they love learning about machines, and science, and history
and having bedtime stories read to them

what i’m saying is
gun loving
is only one small part of who they are

i truly believe that no matter what we do
if they have the desire to play guns they will

so i just continue to expose them to other things
and talk about the reality of guns when the opportunities arise
and let them PLAY to their hearts content


this seems to be an everlasting struggle
the one between boys and mamas and guns

one that comes up over and over
(and probably has for generations and generations)

we just don’t understand


but there is a lot more about boys
that i don’t understand
then just their fascination with guns

there need to wrestle with each other
for no reason
out of the blue

one second they’re all sitting on the couch
peacefully watching a movie
the next there are pillows
and bodies
flying everywhere

their desire to play
(and actually complete without shortcuts)
games like chess or monopoly or risk

their constant need to one up each other

there ability to absolutely not hear what’s being said to them


i guess what it comes down to
is that our children
(be they boys or girls)
are different people than we are

there will always be things that they choose or do
that we can’t innately understand
that seem ridiculous
and foreign
totally unnecessary
and wrong


but we have to try and see the world through their eyes

influence them as much as we can

but at the same time
allow them to be different than us
to be their own person
and find out who they are on their own


it’s just harder to do when the choice they make
is sooo different than the one
that we would make

but it is those times
that we really have to step out of ourselves
and try to judge
if there is really something bad or wrong with their choice
or if it’s just not the one we would choose for ourselves

real guns = not a good choice
play guns in the wrong neighborhood = most likely not a good choice
play guns in the backyard of your peace-teaching home = probably alright

video games where fighting is part of a bigger story/quest = probably ok
video games where wiping out people is the sole goal = maybe not so good


this is definitely easier said than done


and please know that i totally realize this is not limited to mamas
there are papas who also struggle with this
and that differences are not totally divided along gender lines
there are mamas who understand their boys better than their girls
girls who are more like “boys” or “boys” who are more like girls
i’m choosing to focus on one generality that applies itself to me
becasuet if i tried to take every angle
this post would have been 100 times longer
and much more convoluted
than it already is


3 responses »

  1. “there ability to absolutely not hear what’s being said to them”

    As you noted in your disclaimer, this is definitely not limited to boys. Unfortunately, it’s also not limited to kids either.

  2. While I am not a big fan of guns myself, I feel the need to point out that when we were growing up, our He-Man and Star Wars guys had guns (if not guns, at least swords or weapons of some sort), and I’m sure we played with them, and they fought and killed each other, and yet we somehow turned out okay. In fact, I’m somewhat terrified of real guns, although I’m not sure that I was specifically taught that.

    AND…Aaron was not taught to be afraid of guns, in fact he was taught how to use them at a relatively young age, and as far as I can tell, he’s not a violent guy.

    Our job is to make sure that the fantasy world is kept separate from the real world, to teach kids that guns are powerful and potentially dangerous, and to make it clear that using them (or anything else) to hurt others in real life is not okay.

    So I guess I see what the big deal is but I also don’t see what the big deal is… (Can you believe I just said that? I blame Aaron.)

  3. Even though we were not allowed to have toy guns growing up (except maybe squirt guns), I vividly remember making guns out of whatever we could (legos, those grey and blue connector things, etc.), even amassing huge arsenals of weapons. And I’ve never shot anyone…

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