Before I was a parent, I had a long list of things I would never do once I had children.
My kids would not be allowed to wear trashy character shirts. My daughter would only wear one piece bathing suits. We’d eat the same dinners, each night, with the kids going to bed hungry if they didn’t want the healthy meal that I’d prepared. I’d wear jeans, even at home alone with a baby, so not to get stuck in a rut of sweats and t-shirts. My kids would write thank you notes upon opening a gift and not watch more than one TV show a day. The list went on for miles, as only a childless person’s list possibly could. At the very top: My kids would never, ever play with toy guns.
One by one, I broke every self imposed rule. TV was the most available (and free!) babysitter there was and united family dinners became a joke. Tankinis were pretty cute, and thank you notes could certainly wait a few weeks. It was all pretty harmless.
And, then, there were the guns. I held out for three years, finally caving one summer with a small water gun for our local pool. It turned out to be the gateway gun, leading to a basket full of nerf guns and bullets and even targets. We became that house, that I swore we never would. These days, not an evening goes by that my kids aren’t chasing one another around the house, shooting and hiding and fake dying.
After hearing about the sickening Colorado shooting, killing at least 12 people early this morning, I am tempted (once again) to collect every last gun toy in the house and trash them, resurrecting that abandoned rule of mine. Two piece bathing suits are one thing, but how did I manage to cave on something as important as guns? How did I let shooting become a game?
I realize that children with toy guns aren’t doing the killing, but allowing kids to view guns as toys can’t be a good thing, either. Then again, knowing my boys, they’ll end up simply turning innocent items like spoons and wands into weapons, anyway. So, what’s the answer? I know one thing for sure: I’m not going to want my kids running around shooting tonight.
What about you?