Sunday, November 7, 2010
Boys and Guns, Apples and Arrows
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.
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?
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 sky...you 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.