Political correctness, along with the “it takes a village” mantra, has already been hard at work eroding the foundation of imaginary play for many years. For instance, when was the last time you saw a group of children playing an imaginary warfare game in the yard? Everything from Cowboys and Indians, to GI Joe, to capture the flag, has nearly gone extinct.
We have children being suspended from school, or at least threatened with suspension, for acts such as bringing a two inch long Lego toy gun, a Hello Kitty bubble gun, pointing their fingers in an L-shape on the playground, drawing pictures of a firearm on a piece of paper, and chewing their breakfast pastry into a “gun-like shape.”
Now, we as gun owners and Second Amendment advocates are the first ones who will tell you that guns are NOT toys. The responsibility you hold each and every time you handle a firearm is astounding. We constantly stress the four cardinal rules of gun safety; Always treat every gun as if it is loaded, Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy, Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, Always know your target and what is beyond.
That being said, we also understand that childhood imaginary play is preparation for situations that children might face in adulthood. Many studies (including, but not limited to, the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development: Young Children's Play Fighting and Use of War Toys) have proven how vital it is for children to interpret and express the information they are obtaining from the world around them in a safe and risk-free environment. Play-fighting is a normal and natural part of childhood development. It is as vital to a child’s development as the imaginary role-play including playing house, playing with dolls, playing in a toy kitchen, or workshop.
How did we, as American parents, go from teaching and reinforcing gun safety through play to teaching intolerance and abhorrence of firearms?
First of all, we allowed the nanny state to begin to override our parental duties. We shifted the responsibility of teaching gun safety off on to groups and organizations which were coming into the classroom to teach it for us. Then, those groups and organizations, very subtly, stopped being asked to return and began to be replaced with the zero tolerance policies we are accustomed to today.
Now, I’m going to ask you a question which I personally spend quite a lot of time pondering.
Why do you believe there has been such a relentless attack on kids playing imaginary games with toy weapons? What was the harm in those old western style showdown reenactments? Why are we expelling kids from their education over wielding a stick which happens to be in the shape of an L? Why is play-fighting now the equivalent to, and completely indistinguishable, from real fighting? What is the end goal?
My friends, I wager to bet that you already know the answer to those questions, don’t you?
Now, what are we doing about it?
Blog posts are original content written by 1MMAGC moms and dads.