Playing with guns – what are your thoughts?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Today I read an interesting blog on a qualified carer and educator blog called Auntie Annie’s Childcare on Playing with guns.
As a teacher it was always a difficult one – as a Mum it was an easy one – I didn’t let my son Will make guns or play with guns or play any video games with violence or killing in them.
Here is the thought provoking blog
” Every time I go to work, I spend part of my day bashing my head against a brick wall. I’m not alone- I know that. I think that if I took a vote amongst Early Childhood workers about the playground rule most often broken by young children- the rule which is the most completely futile and requires constant, constant reinforcement without any hope of long-term success- it’d be this one……….
NO PLAYING WITH GUNS.
I was a ‘no guns’ mum. I’m a peace-loving person. I’m distressed by criminal gun use, from robberies to massacres- aren’t we all? I cringe at legal gun use too, from policemen shooting mentally ill people by mistake (yep, that happened here fairly recently) to the condoned violence of war.
I hate it when I see on TV every single night the suffering caused to ordinary people by real-life gun use. I hate the way guns are used to solve problems in books and on screens. I don’t want that quick-fix, no-think solution modelled to the world’s children. I don’t want the world’s children growing up with guns being normalised like that. I don’t want kids to think guns are toys.
So when my son was young, I had a rule. (Lots of urban parents have this rule in Australia, though it’s probably different in other demographics.)
No toy guns in this house.
I started out my Early Childhood career as a no-guns teacher, too. I fitted right in; nearly every centre where I worked had a rule about that.
No guns at school.
We don’t shoot our friends, not even pretending.
All very well in theory; but as I’ve discovered over time, our homes and our care centres exist within the real world, not in some fairy-floss land constructed by well-meaning adults. There are guns included in the spy and soldier and cowboy costumes at the toy shop, and guns used in superhero movies and cop shows and cartoons, and real guns on the news. There are guns in the hands of police on the street, guns in the hands of soldiers and in the holsters of security guards. There are dads who play Paintball with paint guns, and there are big brothers who play shoot-’em-up video games with virtual guns.
This is the real world, and in the real world children copy what they see others do. That’s what children are hard-wired to do; it’s one of the ways they learn.
I started my turn-around on gun play when I started reading a blog by a mum whose partner is in the navy, Momma in Progress. One day when I was thinking about gun play I put myself in that mum’s shoes, and I thought hang on. In her world, a gun may well be part of daddy’s tool kit. I expect that this mum, and many other parents with military connections, deeply believe that weapons are a legitimate part of daddy’s positive role as a keeper of the peace. Why wouldn’t a child of a military family want to play at doing daddy’s job sometimes- just like the child whose dad is a truck driver, or a builder, or a farmer?
Read more here