A while ago, I saw this headline in the newspaper...Boy, 7, suspended for drawing stick-figure shooter. My initial reaction was "Oh, give me a break!" But, I kept reading..."was suspended last week for violating X's zero-tolerance policy on guns...gave the picture to another child on the school bus, and that child's parents complained about it to school officials...the picture showed two stick figures with one pointing a crude-looking gun at the other...What appeared to be the word "me" was written above the shooter, with another name scribbled above the other figure." That painted a different picture to me than I originally had in my head, of overreacting, overzealous parents punishing a poor seven year old boy for doing something all seven year old boys do. If Dylan brought home a picture, no matter how "crude", of someone pointing a gun at him, I would probably react as strongly as those parents did. But that got me thinking.
Aren't boys by nature interested in guns, bombs, swords, ninjas, cowboys, jedis, and warriors? Aren't we being hypocritical if we say we won't buy our boys guns, but we will buy them video games and movies that depict violence in other ways? When I taught preschool we were told not to allow "gun play". I can't even tell you how many times I had to tell the boys "No guns!". One of my favorite little boys said to me, "Well then, how are the good guys supposed to win over the bad guys?" I said, "Use your brains, and outsmart them", to which he gave me a look like I had 3 heads, and asked "Huh?"
For Dylan's birthday he got a wagon filled with large leggos. The first thing I built with them was a house. When my mom came over, she made an airplane, and flew it around the room. What was the first thing Jim made for our one year old son? A machine gun, complete with spit flying through the air sound effects. Men. It's in their blood, I think. Oh yea, it's called testosterone.
I have to admit, though, as a kid, who spent a lot of time playing with my two male cousins, I coveted their machine guns. What this says about me, I don't know, but would I have turned out differently if my parents had given in? Boys have always played with play guns through the ages. Doesn't the increase in violence have to be due to something else? Perhaps the media's glorification of it? Perhaps the onslaught of violence in the movies and on television? Should we teach our children that "gun's are bad"?
I would love to know what all of you out there in cyberspace think, whether you have boys or not. Let's have a discussion.