Monday, January 9, 2012

Mama's Thoughts: Shooting

Mama Crum is a pacifist.  I believe that battles can be won by using words.  I want my boys to learn that fighting is not the way to solve disputes.  I think that when God gives the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," he probably means it.  I don't see him making exceptions in his command.  Yes, I know you can make biblical arguments to the contrary.  I'm not writing to debate about theology though.  I am certain that Jesus was serious when he stated the greatest command is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself."  

So what's the problem?  I have boys.  Boys are fascinated by shooting.  Monkey learned about pointing at people and making shooting noises while he was in the church nursery.  Yep, I'm positive that's where he learned it.  Everything is a gun, everything is fun to shoot.

Anger, Frustration, Sadness Happen.  How do we teach our kids to deal with it?
I recognize that the boys have no concept about what shooting really is or what it means.  They don't know that it hurts people.  My boys don't understand fighting and war.  They do know that sometimes their friends shoot while playing, and sometimes they shoot while angry.  It scares me to see little boys pretend to shoot while they're angry with someone.  Why?  I've worked in an environment where young boys were learning how to cope with hurts.  When they were angry and pretended to shoot someone, they meant it.  They were practicing hurt in their hearts and with their hands and minds. 

My rule for my own boys is no shooting people.  I know they're going to play guns, even if they don't have any - they will make guns.  They are learning conflict resolution even now.  They are learning to express emotions, to talk about problems, to work things out, and to consult others when they cannot find a peaceable answer.  I wish they would stop play shooting, but I recognize that they are learning to make neat noises and exert power in their surroundings.

Funny Story:
One day while I was in a meeting at church I heard Monkey "shooting" at his brother while they played in the hallway.  I called him into the room to talk with me.  When I confronted him about what was going on, he said to me, "But.. he's a penguin".  Sheesh - he's already looking for ways around the rules!

What are your thoughts on shooting?  Do you allow it?  Do you teach it?  How do you teach conflict resolution?  How do you teach your boys to use their power?


  1. We aren't there yet but no I'm going to do my best to not allow shooting games and such. No guns will be in my house at all

  2. I thought that too - yet, somehow, they pick it up and everything turns into a gun!

    1. For some reason, the comment form isn't showing up for me. Hmm...

      Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that both of my kids invented guns from everything, too. And, no, they didn't really understand the whole idea of what a gun can do. As my oldest got older and he began to understand, I noticed that his shooting games dropped off. I think that this will happen with any little ones (boys and girls!) who are raised with parents who teach non-violence.

      After reading your post a few days back, I did ask my oldest if he remembered why he stopped the games. I figured the response would be something about how it wasn't cool anymore. Nope, he saw a shoot-'em-up type of movie at a friend's house when he was about 7. He saw what guns can do and was mortified. He never would have seen that movie if I had known about it, but I guess I'm glad he did. It showed him what can happen - something that my words simply could not have done.

  3. I am so glad you posted this! We are dealing with the same thing & I look forward to what the other Momma's have to say. My son is only 3 1/2 & even when I try to explain to him about how "shooting" a person can hurt them, he doesn't quite grasp it.

  4. I think you are spot on. Boys will shoot. What we must dois what you are doing.... Teach that shooting people is the nemy. Shoot. I got hit in the face two times tonight with a dart from my boys nerd gun...first by my husband, then by my son. Oi... I have some work to do;)

  5. I would suggest reading "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson and "Wild at Heart" (at least the first chapter) by John Eldridge. By reading those I am not saying that i let my son shoot people..he may but then i take the gun away...but i do not encourage it of course....we all know there is a big difference between us moms and our little boys...and i think by reading those books it may change they way we handle our boys. Also, my brother is a soldier..though i don't like the idea of war and in a perfect world talking things out would work...i do believe God has created certain men to be soldiers and has created certain men not to be...we as mothers don't have that choice...though i wish i did lol.