One hardly knows where to start. But it is educational to see the way the woman's mind immediately leaps to guns being "best used" by these strange magical authorities whose roles she could never even imagine usurping.I woke up this morning to my nearly 5-year-old son, his big blue eyes close to mine, saying "Mama! Let's play!" Somehow, I dragged myself to the living room where he had set up dinosaurs. He told me the rules: "My dinosaurs have superpowers and yours don't. Mine find yours and then kill them with their power!" That woke me up.
I wondered if I should say something to him about killing -- again. I tried to redirect the violence in the play by having my dinosaurs offer friendship and joint living in a cave. He didn't bite. "No! they are not friends! OK mama? OK?" "OK," I said, in resignation. Because at that moment, it felt like I had lost that battle.
What happened to my gentle little boy who would cradle his dolls if they happened to fall on the ground? Where is the boy who would never consider the possibility of intentionally hurting another? And where did this one, who pretends to shoot others, come from? "My son will never do that," I used to say.
As usual, parenting is humbling.
Guns first showed up last year. Amidst his love affair with Mary Poppins and Annie, he also started asking about weapons. He wanted me to cut a gun out of cardboard so he could take it to school. Mortified, I imagined his teachers' reactions when they saw it.
We talked about how guns are best used for protection, only by those whose job it is to protect -- the police, the army. I told myself that he was interested in guns in the same way he was interested in a policeman's pad, handcuffs and hat -- fun tools of the trade.
Eventually, he didn't accept my explanation and started asking questions I didn't have the answers to. And they were questions that I ask myself all the time. Why would we need protection? From whom? Does protecting mean hurting someone else?
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
One cannot hold all women responsible for the thoughts and words of another woman. One simply cannot. And yet, it's hard to escape the thought that at a mere four years of age, this very young man has already surpassed his mother in rational maturity: