Give Peace A Chance

Early on, our eldest son seemed to be a pacifist of sorts.  He played with age-appropriate, non-offensive toys like Thomas the Tank Engine and Hot Wheels until he was about 5 years old.  In Kindergarten, everything changed.  Suddenly he was into ninjas, soldiers and various forms of artillery.  Kindergarten, also known as the “Star Wars Era”, seemed innocent enough.  The only real danger in Star Wars obsession was the potential nerd-dom awaiting him in his preteen years if he never outgrew it, right?  Wrong.  Star Wars brought more than an interest in galaxies far, far away.  Star Wars brought light sabers.  Light sabers proved to be the stepping stone weapon to swords, which ultimately led to Nerf guns.  My eldest played with the weapons responsibly, never out for savage victory, but rather for cool fighting positions in the mirror. 

Around this time, little BooBoo was born into our loving household of heavy artillery.  As BooBoo grew, there was simply no way to keep the toy guns and swords out of reach even though we strongly questioned the appropriateness of such toys for a toddler.  Soon, it didn’t much matter because BooBoo was creating sophisticated weaponry using wrapping paper tubes, Duplo Lego’s, Lincoln Logs and pencils.   But hey, our eldest played with the toy weapons in such a quiet strategic manner; I questioned what the real harm was. 

Fast forward to present, our boys battled morning, noon and night.  They rivaled with spoons over breakfast, straws during lunch and forks at dinner.  Every waking moment was spent shooting each other with Nerf guns and ninja swords in their personal quest for victory.  These boys were out for triumph over each other with injury or property damage often left in the wake of destruction.  It finally dawned on me why my eldest seemed to play so nicely with toy weapons in the past; it was because he had no one else to play with.  He was alone, striking his best poses and moves to hone his warrior skills.  He wasn’t out for barbarian combat until matched with a worthy opponent.  Since neither soldier would surrender defeat, we were essentially living in the middle of a never-ending WWIII.  So my husband, “Big Daddy P”, whose own father was a gunsmith, decided our boys needed a break from the battlefront and spearheaded “Operation: Give Peace a Chance”. He decided the boys needed a 1 week cease fire from anything and everything associated with violence.  As you can imagine, the plan was met with much opposition but Big Daddy P gathered up every Storm Trooper gun, light saber, Nerf gun, sword and baseball bat into a pile in our office. 

The arsenal

This Mommy Friend thought the arsenal should be hidden but Big Daddy P thought it more painful and personal for our boys to have to stare at the pile in loving adoration as they exercised restraint and reminisced of happier times.  I thought it was mean, he thought it was genius.

We noticed real change in our boys by day 4.  Suddenly they began playing with all the other toys they had forgotten about.  The battling stopped and we noticed a kinder brotherhood developing, aside from the spontaneous WWE moments.  So here we are, day 6 of our 7 day experiment and I think I may have to hand it to Big Daddy.  He was right. 

My reluctant eldest

Little BooBoo visits the arsenal at least 3 times a day and says something adorable like, “Daddy says no touch,” and then walks away.  My eldest stays out of the office entirely, the very sight of the unattainable arsenal is just too painful to bear.  Big Daddy P never intended to ban toy weaponry from the household so long as they were played with appropriately.  If appropriate toy weapon play sounds like a contradiction to you, I understand.  We just don’t want these kids hurting each other or our lovely Ikea furniture.  I don’t quite know what the new rules of the house will be for the toy weaponry but you bet some ground rules will be established.  We’ve come too far to go back now.

Maybe peace was there all along, we just had to give it a chance.


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  2. We are just broaching this subject in our house. We have never allowed our kids to have or play with guns (except 2 super soakers that the neighbors gave us last summer…that’s a separate, long story…)In fact, our kids don’t even know to refer to them as “guns.” They call them “shootin’ things.” How funny. They are starting to notice others’ “shootin’ things” more lately, though and have been asking for them when they see them in the toy section. I’ll be anxious to see what happens on day 7. =)

  3. Hey we have that Star Wars collapsable Light Sabor! Boys will be boys– and yes they are rowdy at times. I only have 1 boy– and he manages to battle it out with his imaginary friends and super heros. Im contantly sayings “Stop Running.. Calm down.. don’t jump”… I’ve turned into “That mom”.

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  6. My experience has been quite the opposite. My poor son with his 2 sisters!! I swear, the first time he even heard the word “gun” was last month! He is surrounded by pink and purple and Tinkerbell. I need to send him to hang out in an all-boy household so he can play some manly gun and fighting games.

  7. I was just discussing this very topic with my man – even though kids and even marriage are still a ways off for us. I was raised in a gun free home – including all forms of toy guns even the kind you make with your finger and thumb. Of course this did not stop me from playing with the neighbor kid’s guns when given the opportunity, although as a girl I think I liked the pop from the caps more than actually waging war on anyone. I aspire to be an open minded and flexible parent, but I know I will also be an open minded and flexible parent who hates guns. Seriously, I hate them (no offense to Big Daddy P’s papa) and not just because I’m secretly afraid that if I held a loaded gun that I might be overwhelmed by the compulsion to point it at someone and shoot. I have the same weird fear of driving over bridges, that I might just drive off of it because I can – the higher the bridge the greater the compulsion – so apparently never hand me an AK-47. However, I digress. My man thinks I’m crazy to want to prevent any type of toy weaponry in my home, I’m sure partly because it means he would have to check his BB Gun at the door. And the funny thing is I don’t really care about light sabers, swords and stuff like that, so doesn’t that just make me a big old toy weapon hypocrite? Plus, I know personally the repercussions of making a huge deal of denying a child something most kids get to have – seriously, you can almost see the emotional scars of being forbidden cake at birthday parties. For now the best I can come up with is, to allow toy weaponry in my house accompanied by a hefty lecture and the rule that they cannot be used to maim or kill even in play. Doesn’t growing up with me as a mom sound like fun? In all fairness I have the same struggle with Barbies and girls (or boys I guess) – I may hate Barbie more than guns come to think of it.

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