by Karen Serna
Growing up, I was one of two girls in a neighborhood filled with boys. As you can imagine, I became quite the tom-boy; my days were filled with war games: “Star Wars”, “Cowboys and Indians”, etc. I either learned these testosterone driven games or went without friends. Little boys thrive on battle.
So as the mother of a little boy (age 4), it came as no surprise that his favorite activity is to play with miniature army men. Sometimes it’s the Germans or Japanese against the Americans in WWII. Or perhaps the Red Coats are fighting the colonists. Even as I write, my son wants me to “look at the attack [he’s] done. See the trench I made for these guys?” Thoughts of good guys and bad guys consume him. If we read a book about tanks, planes, or ships, he wants to know if it is a plane for the good guys or the bad guys. If we watch history videos, he has one question, “Momma? Are those the good guys?”
Because of this, we have a house full of toy guns: Nerf guns, cowboy guns, pop guns, army guns with scopes and silencers on them, guns, guns and more guns. My son runs around the house saying, “Surrender of die!” as he throws pretend bombs at his toy soldiers, or he takes them out with the Nerf darts. And don’t even get me started about the battles that erupt when his best friend, who is 7, comes over. Oh, and then there is “park day”, a weekly gathering of homeschooling families where the horde of boys all arrive with their light sabers and swords. It does my heart good to watch them whack each other.
To some of my friends this is quite disturbing. “Won’t playing with guns and swords make him a violent child?” “Well, it is ok to let him play with guns, but don’t let him point it at anybody.” “It’s just best if you don’t let children have toys guns at all.” You’ve heard these same concepts through liberal media and LIBERAL parenting magazines.
First, while I respect how they run their home, I don’t think it is realistic to ask a boy not to play with guns. If we didn’t buy our son guns, he would create them with his Legos (and he does), find a stick, or simply use his fingers as a gun. Second, if we don’t allow them to point the gun at anyone, what is the point of the battle?
The reality is that boys and men are wired to be defenders and protectors. If we take away our sons’ guns, we strip them of their identity as men. They thrive on being the hero, protecting the innocent, defending the weak. They learn these skills running around the back yard playing with guns.
I simply won’t cave to the cultural pressure that says he will be a violent adult if I let him play with guns. My son is one of the most tenderhearted and kind children I know. He tears up when he even thinks he’s hurt someone.
So let’s not strip our boys of their natural tendency to engage in battle and protect us from evil. After all, isn’t that what we want them to do as adults?
Image: Courtesy of: http://howisitmade.wikispaces.com/Plastic+Soldiers
Karen Serna is a wife and homeschooling mom with two children. She holds a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Math from Angelo State University. In addition, she is a certified secondary educator. Prior to having children, Karen worked for Texas State University-San Marcos as an analytical chemist and industrial hygienist for over twelve years. Her passion lies in seeing a generation of Americans once again embrace true freedom.