Sunday, April 19, 2009

protecting the innocence

(This post was prompted by a result of some comments I received on my post from Friday about being 'overprotective'.)

One day my children will know what a gun is and what it means to defend themself, their home, or their country. One day, they will know what it means to kill something - or - have something kill them.

I do not take our children to people's homes and let them run free. At this moment in their lives, I do not let them go anywhere outside of our home without me or their father. As a result, I am not at all concerned that they will stumble upon a revolver or a shotgun and pick it up wondering, "Huh. I wonder what happens if I squeeze this thing?"

I am not entirely opposed to guns.

I am not entirely opposed to people hunting.

If we lived in an environment where hunting was a part of our reality, the children would know something about guns. They would know that meat comes from an animal and not the man in a white coat at the grocery store. And they would undoubtedly know what venison tastes like.

Quite often, I find myself in a situation where I provide guidance to unsupervised children on the playground - or in the swimming pool - that lack parental oversight. But when I can tell that a child is not interested in listening, or is oblivious to what I have to say, and they would rather run around and rile my kids up, it's up to me to make a decision.

Do I stay or do I go?

By leaving, I am hopefully letting the offensive child know that people don't want to play with someone that is going to behave obnoxiously. By leaving, I am showing our children that sometimes, you have to walk away from people or situations that are unfriendly. By leaving, I am showing our children that I don't want to be around people that aren't nice and I don't want that ugliness to rub off on them.

One day, our children will have a lot more freedom than they do at the moment. One day they will make all of their own decisions. One day, they will be full of what I believe are our good values. One day they will be mature and understand that the world isn't all kind. And when that time comes, you can be positively certain that our children will be highly educated on guns - violence - drugs - sexually transmitted diseases - artificial sweeteners - and the inaccuracies of FOX news.

But right now, they are four-years-old and the sight of a wolf spider in the backyard can give them a nightmare. A nightmare which usually occurs at night.

When I am sleeping.

So not only am I trying to protect my children's innocent minds from images that would only cause them great angst at this young age, I am trying to protect what little sleep I can get.

When the time is right, our children will know that a "rainbow laser" doesn't create rainbows.

But today, they are four-years-old.

Today, as far as they're concerned, fairies and unicorns are real.

And it is entirely possible to fly through the air like Tarzan.


  1. WORD.
    four years old, 'nuff said.

    I will have to teach my kids soon because our family hunts and while I have their solemn swears that guns will always be locked up when the kids are there, I am not comfortable leaving that responsibility to someone else. So I am preparing to have a conversation with the girls about what guns are and what they should do if they ever see one. Hopefully it won't have to go any farther than that right now.

  2. WTG, Jen! So happy you ran today! Hopefully, we will read the same thing tomorrow... and the next day... and the next! Just trying to motivate ya', that's all! I don't want Charlie to beat you! LOL!

  3. We made it until a little over 6 years old efore my twin boys started asking/talking about guns. And that is only because there are about 3 or 4 10ish year old kids on our street who play with the Air Soft guns all the time. For Christmas I got them these little Nerf "gun" packs that shoot out super soft foam pieces. The pack came with a protective vest AND goggles (which is hilarious because I think you could shoot one off right in your eye and it wouldn't hurt). But, I liked that it lets them know that guns can be dangerous, etc...

    Also, am I the only one that would have just said something to the kid in the pool or his caregiver??? And don't even get me started on what some parents let their kids watch!


  4. First time commenter. I found your blog through Daddy Scratches, and have spent the last couple of months reading from the beginning, in order. Today I finally reached the present.

    I don't have kids, and at this point in my life it's HUGELY unlikely. My life is so far removed from yours, that I've been enthralled. I've watched your kids grow up at warp speed. Truly an amazing trip.

    I also have done 16 half marathons, including Rock N Roll Virginia Beach. You'll have so much fun, you won't know what hit you. Rock on, you can do it!!!

  5. While I don't necessarily agree with everything you say about protecting your kids, I completely agree that at four years old they need protecting and that it's your responsiblity to do it. :)

    I would have left the pool as well. There is nothing worse than having your children learn about negative things from other children...because they usually get it wrong.

    You don't need to defend yourself one tiny bit!

  6. GO! Jen! Protect your kids and don't apologize.

  7. OH! Yeah! I forgot to say;

    I felt the same way about guns when Matthew and Stephen were very young.....that was until Matthew made a machine gun out of Lego's....It took my breath away! and I still don't know where he could have seen it...Now that they are older ~ I still worry but now my attention has turned to Barbie and her trampy clothing! It's only American Girl Dolls in this house.......That's a whole new topic.

  8. Jen I forgot to put PBK beside my name IDT

  9. I don't think they should start gun lessons until they are five. You've got a whole year! Don't worry about it!

  10. I grew up in a family of hunters. If it was edible and able to be hunted, it was. My dad had guns in the house always, but we were taught at a very early age to respect the guns. Sure we knew where the key was to the cabinet, but we knew better than to sneek into them. My kids have all been taught how to shoot a shotgun. (although they are a lot older than your 4)They were taught to respect that gun, how to store it and the importance of not "playing" with it. I have gun in the house, but it's locked up and the kids have no access to the ammo. Unfortunately, I live in a suburb of a city that constantly ranks in the top 3 of the most dangerous citys in America! 8 years ago, a first grader in the city I mentioned a (same year my daughter was in 1st grade) walked into his school, was showing his classmates a gun and he ended up shooting and killing a classmate. I just wish guns weren't such a big issue these days, but unfortunately sometimes you have to do do what you have to do to be able to protect your family. I wish you luck when it comes times to teach your kids about such things. I think you are doing a wonderful job raising your kids!
    Oh, and Happy Birthday, I am only 6 months younger than you! (I found your blog through Fourtimes the fun)!

  11. My son (who is nearly 4) got a time-out at nursery for making a gun out of lego (like Lisa's- it is obviously a natural boy thing! LOL!)and running around with it. I was quite surprised as we don't have any toy guns at home and he would only have seen them in cartoons. I had quite mixed feelings about the time-out but I guess that is because in the UK, guns are really uncommon and not something anyone would have in their own home unless they were a criminal of some description. I would have preferred his teacher to have a chat with him about how guns were a bad thing. I was also wondering if it was wrong of me to be proud of his creativity as I was quite impressed that he had built something discernible out of lego.. does that make me a bad mother?! ;-)

  12. Well, good for you. I get SICK AND TIRED of people saying that I am too overprotective or am trying to keep them from too much. This is my job and there is nothing wrong with keeping them safe when they are young. All too soon they will be exposed to all of the crap in the world. You keep doing exactly what you are doing..they are your children, and you are doing a great job!!

  13. Guns are a large part of our daily lives. For Christmas my 12 year old got a .223 rifle with a stainless steel scope. Since Christmas, he has brought home two caribou. That feeds us and our extended family for a month. (I live above the Arctic Circle where a gallon of milk costs me eleven bucks and a pound of ground crap beef costs six.) My son had never owned a toy gun before, and we were very cautious to teach him the correct ways of handling them, but you're right, you just can't monitor everyone's house. I have to ask (embarassingly) "do you have guns in your house? are they put away?" But we do it. We also have boy/girl twins and a 6 yr old daughter who are all gun savvy and own their own. The older kids are allowed to take their guns out to go hunting, and the 6 yr old can only take hers if an adult is with her. Its the life of an Eskimo maybe, but we're still very cautious around other kids.