My Kids Make Me Laugh – Guns

OK, before you get all huffy and political and judgmental about guns, you really need to hear the whole story.  By the end, I think you’ll agree that my kids make me laugh about guns.

My husband and I have a mixed marriage.  I come from a gun free, non-hunting family.  My husband… doesn’t.

So when our sons were born, there was some good natured speculation about what our parenting choices would be.  When a relative inadvertently gave our children a gift that included a gun as part of a dress-up kit, family members held their breaths to see what my reaction would be.

(i gently removed the gun from the play set and kept on going.  no big deal.)

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Honestly, I tried to raise my boys without guns.  I gave it my best… shot.

Until they were three and two, I thought I was totally successful.  We had not even uttered the word G-U-N in their hearing.

I carefully avoided any cartoons or television shows that featured guns or hunting or army play.  Even the Tom and Jerry episodes were off limits.

It didn’t work.

When Watty was three and GoGo was two, I was watching them play at the park one day.  It was just the three of us, and I was really enjoying the freedom to let them run around and play without worrying about other kids.

That’s when I realized my kids each had picked up a stick.  Their chubby little fingers were wrapped around small tree limbs that each had a secondary limb branching out.

(visualize an “L” shaped stick and make the long part be pointing out, leaving the short part to be the handle.)

As I got closer, I began to hear my boys more clearly.

Watty:  My pew-er is better than your pew-er.

GoGo:  No!  Mine bigger.

Watty:  My pew-er is louder.

My kids invented the pew-er

Like you, I was a wee bit confused about what a pew-er meant.  So I asked them.

Boys:  When you hold it, it goes “pew pew pew”

Yes.  That’s a gun sound.  The universal sound of little boys picking up sticks and pretending to shoot each other by making shooting sounds with their mouths.

Since they didn’t know the word “gun” they invented their own word.

I just stood there and laughed.

All the long intellectual conversations about guns were rendered senseless.  All the research I’d done in parenting books was pretty much a waste of time.

My boys made their own choice.  Even my most anti-gun relative had to agree.  My kids “invented” the concept of a projectile weapon and came up with a name all on their own.

My kids make me laugh – still

That was over five years ago.  They’ve learned quite a bit since then, including the word “gun” and much of what it means.

They’ve hunted.

They understand that not every adult is equally comfortable around guns and have begun to ask complicated adult-level questions on the subject.  I would give anything to be able to shelter them and keep them innocent.  In a perfect world, there would be nothing scary for me to shelter them from.

In my own heart, the conflict between gun and non-gun rages on.

Sometimes, it can get to me.  When it does, I can still clearly hear my kids

Pew – Pew – Pew…. got ya!  Pew – Pew – Pew… missed…

and then I laugh.

I laugh at my own absurdity.

I laugh at the impossibleness of wishing to protect my children from anything and everything, including the figments of my own imagination.

I laugh at the sweet memory of my children playing in the park, inventing words for a game as old as man.

Care to share?  What memory of your children’s play still has the power to make you laugh?

guns go pew pew pew

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. I can’t think of a similar example right at the moment but I do recall some situations like that. You try to keep them from something you think is harmful and then they discover it anyway. And usually it turns out not to be that big of a deal anyway.

  2. So interesting Susan, because my younger daughter is obsessed with “shooting” things despite never having played with guns…I don’t think we can really stop it even if we try! Great post. :)-Ashley

    • At this point, I wouldn’t even try. My kids love pretending water bottles are guns as we drive. It keeps them busy, so it works for us.

  3. {Kathy} I banned everything in my home for the first 3 children. Then, my fourth one was getting to the "gun" age and my older boys basically told me I was ridiculous. Nothing like hearing this from the children you tried to "shelter" from violence.
    This Christmas, Santa brought all four of my children Light Sabers. They light up, make noise and make them all feel like Jedis.
    I've come a long way, baby.

    • You and me both! I look back and believe how uptight I was about this subject.

    • You and me both! I can't believe I ever tried to "shelter" them from Tom and Jerry. I was well intentioned, but silly. My husband loves to hunt. I love watching him teach our boys about all that manly stuff. What on earth was I thinking when I tried to make our home a gun-free zone????

    • {Kathy} I am a "no REAL guns" person. Trust me. But Nerf and Star Wars…..bring it.

      • I *wish* I could have a “no real guns” home, but it’s not in the cards. I will tell you that BSA and NRA both have some great gun safety videos that work with Nerf guns. Even though your kids aren’t supposed to be around real guns, some basic gun safety discussion will help keep them safer if they ever encounter one at a friend’s house. My husband is a stickler for gun safety rules even with nerf guns. Just a thought.

  4. {Melinda} It goes to show you that boys will be boys. Anyone who says that God didn’t hardwire boys and girls differently … well, I just don’t get it.

    • Since I relaxed, my mom reminded me of some boys my brother played with when I was a little girl. Their mom had banned guns from their home. But when the boys came over for a playdate at anyone else’s home, they were obsessed with playing gun games. They played cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers exclusively. The boys had very few friends because they were a bad playdate.

  5. You know what, I really enjoyed your story. When I was a kid, my mom would always remind us the importance of gun safety. Now that I’m already a father, with two kids, I make sure that my boys get the very essence of gun safety as well. Nice post. You seem to be a great mom!

    • My boys have to practice gun safety with their nerf and water guns. If I catch them walking around with their finger on the trigger they have to put their toy in timeout. It’s never too early to develop those good habits.

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