The latest news of squirt guns being unkind, of nerf darts causing near expulsion, then reduced to 5 days suspension, is beyond ludicrous. It is plain stupid. Two things boys need: more guns and more play. Period.
It’s called sparing. It’s boys being boys. They wrestle, the fight, they like to blow things up. It’s cool. It’s amazing. It is how they learn justice, empathy, problem solving, values, fun, relationships, reading, math, resiliency, processing anger, and most importantly, how to be a great dad. Less guns and less play robs boys of their education. Less guns and less play dehumanizes boys.
Guns are a tool. Through a gun one learns respect, how to think, the value of life, the importance of justice, and how to be friends. Growing up guns move from toys to the real thing. They move from carefree playing to cautios respect, for each gun is to be treated as if it’s loaded. Tales of fighting bad guys become parental heart wrenching stories of our boys in the military, law enforcement, or defending our grandkids. A mere toy becomes a means to provide food for their family, bonding with other men, and relationships with our grandchildren.
Play is a canvas. Through Imagination and sheer stupidity of boyhood, play paints radiant pictures of failure to victory, from curiosity to mad scientist. Through play life happens and learning takes root. Play unlocks the doors of once bullies becoming best friends. Boys do stupid things. They’re naive. Play is a critical part of whether they will choose become a fool or wise. With less guns and less play, sadly the choice of foolishness is increasing. I am not saying that because boys do stupid things it’s therefore ok. We learn from our mistakes. Rob boys of failure and you ultimately rob them of success. Play opens the door of adventure.
It is not a crime to be a boy. The crime is not letting boys be boys. The crime is not teaching boys when they fail and do stupid things. The crime is we’re robbing boys of their success and their humanity.