Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bows and Arrows

I let my kids play with knives. Actually, I have to walk away from them playing with knives. The husband lets the kids play with knives. Jack knives to be exact. He has sat with both of them and taught them how to carve sticks into pointed weapons. It started this Spring. They have each cut their fingers once. In addition to the battery of pointed sticks strewn across our yard, we now have bows and arrows. One day I went out alone. I came back to several bows constructed out of sticks. And arrows. Small pointed sticks. So, now we have large pointed sticks and small pointed sticks. All over the place. Not only can they be accompanied by a bow, but they can be turned into Wolverine claws with the help of painter's tape. By the way, painter's tape is fabulous. It sticks to everything and yet, nothing. I can wrap the kids up in it, and yes, I have, and it comes right off.  They use the tape to tape their drawings or paintings to the walls, furniture, what have you.  It comes right off.  And it's blue.  What more could you ask for?
I started out my parenting years as vehemently opposed to weapons for my precious little one.  When he was a year old he picked up a stick, pointed it at the husband and made a little-kid-shooting-something sound.  He had never seen a gun.  He was never exposed to violent media.  Of course, he wasn't imitating a gun, but something innate in my little boy made him point something at someone else and make a sound.  That was the end of my "no weapons" philosophy.  Then I read a PBS article where the psychology of violent acting was spoken about.  It pretty much said that if you make boys, especially boys, feel bad about their innate desire to be violent then it will later manifest it's way into something else.  Boys are naturally physical and aggressive.  They need that outlet.  To tell them that what they are feeling or experiencing is bad or wrong sends a very confusing message.  You are basically telling them that they are bad for having those natural feelings. 

I have found that when you take the time to teach a child something like stick carving, they take the time to really focus.  You're giving that child a huge responsibility and trusting them to be careful.  My children have thrived on that.  They are like any other kid...jumping off couches and tables, screaming at the top of their lungs and hitting, kicking and smothering one another whenever possible.  Something happens, though, when being trusted with their father's "stick-carving knives", as they call them.  They turn into little serious men. 
Give your children a chance to really show themselves what they are capable of.  Trust that your children will rise to the occasion.  Of course, I am not advocating to all parents to give their children knives.  Just, when you're doubting your child's ability to go above and beyond, remember that you'll never know if they can do something unless given the opportunity.  More than likely, they'll surprise the heck out of you.

1 comment:

Scott A. Miller said...

I agree. The first time they use a knife is terrifying but they suddenly turn serious and responsible when it is explained. Experience is everything.