Monday, June 6, 2011

Boys and their Toys

My man was raised on a farm. He had all the boy trappings of farm life, including the weaponry. One of Pat's favorite memories of his boyhood is when he received his first .22 as a birthday gift. (He thinks it was his seventh birthday!)

Over the previous few years, he had been collecting G.I. Joe figurines. Every Christmas and birthday, every special treat, every penny directed his way went toward those little army guys. That summer, when Pat got his .22, he hatched a plan only a boy would come up with.

Painstakingly, over the course of many hours, Pat set up his G.I. Joe guys in fighting formation. Once he was finally convinced that everything was just right, he set up... Ready, aim, fire! That .22 blew those figurines to bits! (I don't believe his parents agreed to buy him another toy for the rest of his life.)

Early on in our relationship, I established a firm "no gun" rule. Looking back, I'm not certain what my rationale was besides the fact that guns scared me. I was convinced that, if we allowed our children to play with water guns, they would become violent adults and possibly mass murderers. (Blame it on the psychology degree.)

Have you ever read Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul? It's a book for men, but every woman should read it. Reading that book helped me understand my husband and sons - the way God designed them to be - in a way I never had. I learned that I (and society in general) had been so focused on what good, Christian men "ought to" be like that I hadn't bothered to ask who God created them to be. Men were created to be conquerors, heroes, and adventurers - men in God's own image.

As an early Father's Day/ birthday gift for my husband, I sent him with a debit card attached to a full account (on pay day) and told him to buy that gun he'd always wanted but was never 'allowed' to have. When he arrived home after making his purchase, the man-child sat on the couch next to me admiring his rifle (Or is it a shotgun? Or is that the same?). Ch-chick. Ch-chick. Ch-chick. I've never seen such a grin on his face.

This weekend, after ten whole days of endless waiting, my man headed out with some buddies and their sons for a day of shooting at stuff. The big boys killed hundreds of clay pigeons, while the younger boys fired at a variety of pop bottles and other home-made targets.

My baby was among those younger boys. And instead of being terrified, worried, and (s)motherly as I would have been before reading Wild at Heart, I was excited for Braeden (13) and the adventure he was embarking on.

Look at my firstborn baby! He's growing up so fast...

Who knew you could shoot one-handed?

Taking aim...

Trying out the 9 mm.

Okay, true confession... My mother heart did skip a beat when I
saw the kick-back from this gun. Let's stick to the .22, okay?


  1. I can totally relate to this post! When I was single I had already made up my mind that if I had boys they would have nothing to do with guns. But then I married into a family of hunters and farmers! Now Dawson is already talking about future hunting trips with grandpa and dad, which I am surprised to say I'm okay with now!

    Dave, his dad and our brother-in-law headed to this men's retreat this past weekend.
    Every year I try to convince Dave to go to a men's retreat, but the last thing he wants to do is sit inside and listen to speakers all day. But add campfires, flyfishing, archery and knife throwing contests in and he was all over it!
    There is also a Wildwoman Retreat, which my brother-in-law suggested I go to. I told him if they ever put on a Spa Woman Retreat to let me know. I'll leave the Pickle Spitting and Texas Piglet Toss to the tough girls!

  2. I haven't read this book, but I totally agree with you on this one! I too bought into the "mass murderer" theory, until I really thought about it. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. The gun is only a method of choice. The way I see it is that education is key. Teaching our kids about guns and their safe use takes the power away from the gun itself. I would much rather my kids knew about it, than just happen to find one behind the kichen door at Grandpa's.

    And, sidenote; for me, range was absolutely the best part of cadets as a teenybopper.


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