years ago, i had a “yucky toys” basket at preschool.
by the end of the school year i had collected teenage mutant ninja turtles, water guns, fake swords, power rangers, batman, spiderman, even superman. there were random furrowed brow muscular action figures and barbies. there was a hand-held video game system. all of these toys were collected from children because i determined that they “weren’t safe” (we continue with our request that parents don’t permit bringing “fighting” toys to preschool) and while the children could collect them at the end of the day, some didn’t.
then i had my daughter.
then i had my son.
then i had another daughter.
yesterday i listened to friends tell stories of dialogues between offenders and victims of horrific crimes. i heard them tell the injustice of the system. i believe in the responsibility of the society for these crimes. i know that there is training that happens. these offenders learned violence and responded in violence.
i’ve grown from an idealistic preschool teacher without children of my own to a wondering mother. from the young woman who stood outside the theatre showing the power rangers movie offering people a paper with alternative toy and activity ideas to the mother wondering if it’s not that “big a deal.” from the young woman who never thought her own children would participate in such play to the mother allowing such play and complaining about it at the same time.
here i am.
jerry and i worked for years through the issue of hunting…and even fishing. we’ve arrived. my husband, full of decency and respect for the natural world, practices hunting a few times a year. my son looks forward to joining him someday. my children all participate in raising animals that will be butchered and eaten. our freezer is full of white packaged meat from a local locker. with a soft but deep breath, this is okay for me.
but i’m running out of room in my spirit
for the simple practice of pointing guns at another person.
nerf guns, air soft guns, marshmallow shooters, rubber band guns…
all of these are in my home.
have i sold out?
have i evolved?
either way, what part of my child’s soul and mind is being cared for in this?
and that is the question. maybe there ARE parts of their souls and minds being cared for. in a world of fears and anxiety, maybe it is therapeutic to act out being the aggressor.
when i was little, i play all sorts of doom-and-gloom games. we weren’t allowed any guns, not even water guns, but we played games like “our mother is dead” and “orphan children” and “we’re all alone and someone is chasing us.” i wonder if it would have been good for me to be the aggressor at some point?
reading about the random shootings on the south side of chicago today makes my gut respond that it’s time to make a family change. if for no reason other than sheer respect for those living in violence.
no pointing guns at each other.
and if we move to that it will be like it’s 1995 again.
a seventeen year evolution.