We are not a gun family. Despite having roots in the West, the idea of having a gun is about as foreign as us having a two headed dog in our house. It is not going to happen (think of Seth's allergies). Like never.
I don't like action movies much, I don't like comic books, we don't watch violent movies or cartoons or video games. We are a peaceful folk.
Yet, despite it all my son has picked up on the concept of guns, swords, and light sabers. He loves to play Star Wars. Toujour. Every day and always. And you want to know how he is aware of this world?
At the shopette by our home there is a Star Wars novelization series. Over the past year every time I go to the American Garrison Shopette he stares at this novel. He studies it, he reads the words he knows, and he thinks about Star Wars.
After a year of asking me about Star Wars I let him watch the Lego Star Wars summary of the plot of Star Wars.
He, along with 300 million other souls, has been hooked.
He plays Star Wars at every moment of his breathing pretend play time.
Today when I went to pick him up from preschool his teacher asked to have word with me. (He goes to an American preschool a few hours each week). Apparently guns are not allowed in preschool, which I am glad about, but Tiger has taken to turning every toy he plays with into a weapon either a gun or a light saber or a sword. He doesn't hit anyone, he doesn't get in their face, but they don't want that kind of pretend play and could I talk to him at home about it.
When I asked for more clarification they said I should redirect his play to something more palatable. For example a light saber stick could become a magical weilding wand. Any Harry Potter reading muggle knows wands can be much more powerful than light sabers, and in a lot of ways are the exact same thing.
Ok, look I get it, I don't like guns either. However, guns are in the world and whether we plan it or not they are out there and I am not going to pretend that they aren't. My son has to process the world and part of processing and dealing with the chaos is pretend. I understand we don't want toy guns or swords at school but you cannot punish a three year old for turning his legos into a storm trooper blaster. You wouldn't dream of telling a girl she can't be a play Cinderella because it demeans her value by making her dependent on being saved by a man. Yet, they have no problem telling me I need to talk to my son about not playing Jedis at school.
I don't like gun play either but as long as he is not hurting anyone or being inconsiderate of other kids, should we really regulate imagination?
I think the fear is that a gun pretending three year old turns into a gun wielding 22 year old who shoots and kills, but I dare to say I don't think its that way at all.
I think the three year old who pretends he is a Jedi, pretends and pretends and then one day moves on to something like Beyblades.
I stand by gun control regulations and truth be told, I wish there were no guns. I think they are terrible and not doing a whole lot of good. But I also think you cannot regulate imagination and pretend. Kids need to process these things and if he turns your pretend toolset into pretend battle gear, so be it, as long as he isn't hurting other kids, stealing people's crutches, being intimidating or other rules of societal kindness.
There I said it.