Saturday, December 15, 2012

Parenting, Guns, and Rock 'n Roll

I had an entirely different post planned out for today; however, with Friday's tragedy, I felt that I had something to say.

Even as I write this, the droplets fall and make the keys slippery. My heart breaks for every family who lost someone in the Connecticut school shooting. It breaks for the children that survived while their innocence didn't. But most of all it breaks for a society where it's listed in the news as "Another Mass Shooting".

This is not okay people. This is not the new status quo, waiting in fear for someone else to walk into a public place and unload clips of ammo into innocent citizens that have nothing to do with the shooter's issues.
In case you're wondering, this is not a gun control rant. This is a parenting rant.

Friday afternoon, I had to go the DMV to register and get plates for a car. While I was at the window, an 8 year old boy was sitting in a nearby chair, playing with a bright orange handgun toy, complete with popping sounds. He was shooting my daughters, who thought it was a game and hid from him around a pillar.

I wanted to puke.

The father at the adjacent window gave a half hearted shrug when I told his kid not to point the toy gun at my girls. But the dad said nothing, gave no reprimand, just a look that clearly said, "kids will be kids".

On what planet is it okay to bring your kid into a government building and let him play with a toy gun in the waiting room? Let alone on the same day where 27 people, most of them children, were ruthlessly gunned down?

I'm begging everyone, in the words of Crosby, Stills and Nash, "Teach your children well." Teach them to be good and gentle souls. Don't turn a blind eye at violent and errant behavior. Pay attention! I have known so many parents who refuse to believe their little Johnny was capable of punching another kid, surely there must be some kind of mistake. Usually there isn't. Acting out is often a symptom that they are struggling, perhaps being bullied themselves. Give kind correction and buckets of love, but remember, you are the watchman.

As parents we are the first line of defense. Our job is to provide a safe and loving environment for our children to grow. Nurturing them so that they may in turn nurture others. But make no mistake, no matter how well intentioned or righteous we might be, the adversary is ever knocking on the door, with sneakier and stealthier ways all the time. The more we can keep filth and violence out of our homes, off our TVs, out of the iPods, the better our kids will be. The better our nation and world will be.  And God willing, the more infrequent these senseless killings will become.


  1. Thank you for this, Betsy. The other day my husband came in from outside where some kids from the neighborhood were playing with our kids and he said that one of the little boys had a toy gun stuffed into his waistband. When he was playing it fell out and he hurriedly picked it up and looked around as he stuffed back in and used his shirt to cover it up. I think he’s 8 or 9? I can’t help but wonder where he learned that from and it breaks my heart and makes me so angry at the same time.

    You bring up a very good point. A few weeks ago in Institute our teacher said something to the effect of, “If you see a problem, it becomes your problem.” I think we live in a society where people forget this. They just assume that someone else will take care of it. It’s time for us to take ownership of each other’s welfare as children of God, and stop assuming that someone else will take action. If we see it, it becomes our responsibility. We need to stop being afraid of what people will think and we need to step up.

  2. I couldn't agree more. My children are not allowed toy guns (they're all girls so it hasn't really been an issue) but this sort of thing trivialises what is very, very serious. And we, as parents, need to ensure that our children respect the sanctity of life and the feelings and rights of others.



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