“I wish words were like little toy guns. No sting, no hurtin’ no one. Just a bang, bang rollin’ off your tongue …”
So goes the refrain of country superstar Carrie Underwood’s latest hit, “Little Toy Guns.”
OK. The song tells of a little girl wishing that her parents would fight with plastic toy guns instead of words.
Oh, no! Not toy guns! They could lead to worse things.
Well, OK. Perhaps they could. But how many of us as kids shaped our fingers like guns, used water pistols in the backyard, played cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians and grew up to become good citizens and parents? How many of us babysat kids who got rough and tumble and grew up to become upstanding citizens? (I did. And it’s wonderful to see such young men and women living good lives!)
Have we grown up to become parents who cringe when our own children want to play these games? Of course, today’s youngsters are largely forbidden to play them in schoolyards because of the way society has become with, unfortunately, constant incidents of violence, bullying, etc.
The cringe hit me a few weeks ago as I sat on a step on my front porch and my son frolicked. As vehicles passed, he pointed his fingers like a gun and ducked, jumped and pretended to shoot as they passed, making the “pewwww!” sound as he “shot.”
At first, it bothered me. Should I allow him to do this? Does saying nothing encourage it? Does saying something encourage or discourage it?
I think I asked him something along the lines about shooting targets. My son smiled and continued to leap and play.
And that was OK. He wasn’t hurting anything or anyone. He was, perhaps, a super hero trying to save the world and using his weapon to do so.
In my opinion, this is child’s play by a child who is sweet, loving, caring and not violent. Sure, he nitpicks at his big sister, but he loves her, too. What siblings don’t pick at each other?
This observation comes from mom who played those run and chase games, pretended she was a part of “Charlie’s Angels” with her sisters and friends, endured sibling squabbles and, through it all, avoided violent tendencies.
What are your thoughts to this kind of play?