Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NPR, Boys with Sticks, etc....

NPR had a nice report on boys and toy guns. Are we overly reactionary with some of our zero tolerance policies (such as when a boy turned a stick into a gun and pretended to shoot at his friend and then was suspended from school). This report was interesting to me as my son has, in the past five or six months, begun to turn everything into a sword or a gun. It doesn't help that he has the playmobile knight set and they have swords. Or that we let him pick out fake/plastic armor for himself. Or that all the other boys his age (and older) are doing the same thing. As in the report, someone called in (from Hillsboro, OR no less) and mentioned that their son played with sticks as guns, etc. and why wouldn't he? We are in the middle of a war and have been involved in some type of conflict for decades. Pavlos doesn't watch TV or the news, but maybe he picks up on it from children around him who are watching TV or the news. And maybe it's just that he is a boy (I'm also reading Raising Cain right now and they are writing about boys tendency towards violence). I do believe that their is a healthy violence and an unhealthy violence. As was noted in the NPR piece, boys playing war will, many times, go through the "we have to rescue our men who have been hit" and that is a values teaching tool (in a boys way)... values like courage, sacrifice for someone else, etc. Our only rule with Pavlos is he can't "shoot" people. I hope we are doing what's right!

Here is a link to a blog that I lurk around... this blog post regarding boys with sticks (not used as guns in this case) prompted me to write this blog based on hearing that NPR story. BTW... Pavlos is an avid collector of sticks. Everywhere we go he finds a new stick and wants to bring it home. He is also an avid collector of flower petals, too:)


Mimi said...

Intresting story - my oldest never did the "pick up a stick and make it a gun" thing, so I thought smugly that I wouldn't deal with it.

But (and there is always a but when one thinks smugly) my youngest one does, and makes incredible machine gun noises.

Thank you for pointing this article out, I needed to hear it!

I hope your Lent is going well.

monica said...

thanks for delurking and posting on my blog! like mimi, we havent had to deal with the gun/sword issue yet. he is still in the collecting phase. Mothering magazine had a good article a few issues back about play fighting with guns and swords. it seemed very balanced. i have always been in the no toy guns and swords camp, and with simi it hasnt been an issue. . . yet. but the article brought up a good point. children are naturally curious about power issues, partly because they have so many people in power over them. hence the "me first!" and "i do it!" and play fighting is a way they can role play power struggles and try to make sense of them in their little minds. i am hoping God just spares us from the whole guns thing, but i doubt it. But at least with two boys i dont have to take on the barbie issue!!:)

Susan said...

you know Christina that Yianni make believed every type of weapon. He never was bought a toy gun, but he made everything possible into a weapon. He has been a pacifist since he was around 14. It has nothing to do with "play guns."
I dont know how old Monicas boys are, but she may have to deal with the Barbie issue yet!!!