Sunday, November 7, 2010

Boys and Guns, Apples and Arrows

I've voiced concern before over the kind of person Noah will grow up to be.
After a conversation today, (which really is part of an ongoing debate about violence and masculinity between me and my 4 yr old), I'm fairly certain that he will take great pleasure in rebelling against my peace-lovin' hippy ways.

Dinnertime talk:

Mad: Noah, must you turn your garlic bread into a gun tonight?

Noah: Yes, Mom!

Mad: Why do you turn your bread into a weapon, darling?

Noah: So I can kill the bad guys.

Mad: But Noah, can't you just give the bad guys a HUG and turn them into good guys?

Noah: No!

Mad: Why not, honey?

Noah: I need the bad guys to be bad so I can shoot my gun and kill them!

I actually realize that Noah is not atypical, that many boys behave this way, that it is not a personal attack on my values. Sure sure.
Rationally, I realize this. And I take deep breathes. But it's hard to not have internal alarms going off; blaring, warning, warning, your son will be swept up into a cycle of violence and retribution...that doesn't end...until it all ends.  
I don't know what is cultural, what is learned on the playground, what is absorbed from cartoons, or what is biological.
And what to do? Forbid him to pretend? Make guns such an enticing taboo that he will be even more drawn to them? Say no, no, no...and force him to play guns secretly...making them that much more powerful and seductive?
I don't have any answers to those questions.

Here's irony for you: this quote (with it's weaponary and shooting) popped into my head which expresses this feeling of helplessness that parenting can be. The essence of the quote is: 'having a child is like shooting an arrow into the have no control over where it will land'...someting like that.
However, just now when I tried to google the quote to get the accurate wording, I couldn't find it.
I only found bizarre and violent mentions of children getting shot with arrows, and of course the William Tell shooting an apple from his son's head.

Nevertheless, Noah is an arrow soaring in the sky, already beyond my reach. Sigh. Boys.


Shelayna said...

I'm right there with you. I guess it's a guy thing. It's in their DNA, I guess!

A Stay at Home working Mom's Tale said...

I know exactly how you feel, Joseph & Jack make guns out of everything and are constantly looking for BAD GUYS. I think it's just boys we can't fight it. XOXOXO

Sarah said...

Paul and Benny, too. I have them in classical ballet for God's sake - and they shoot everything in sight. At the barre , they will unload their shiny, pretend AK-47 on the girls and boys in the class. Don't even get me started on bodily functions. EWWWW!

Dweller said...

You know, I think they hurtle through evolution in these first years, and 4 is just that primitive, bloodthirsty, lusty pandemonium that every human carries around. It expresses itself, it passes, and remains as a potential in case it is needed. This is what I tell myself. And it is true that my six year old, once the bloodthirstiest and primitivist of fours, now cries when he speaks of endangered species.

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Gray Sea