“Shoot Your Eye Out” – My Kids Play with Guns!

Published on January 15, 2014

Karen Serna
Clash Daily Contributor

Christmas has once again come and gone which always saddens me. Every Christmas my mind is flooded with memories of my father. He LOVED Christmas. He loved taking us to see the lights. He loved buying us LOTS of presents (really the only time he spoiled us), and he loved our church’s Candlelight Service. He loved hiding our presents and making us play silly games to find them. And, he loved Christmas movies. His favorite was what mom and I called the “Shoot Your Eye Out” movie, otherwise known as A Christmas Story. I personally never liked this movie, and I never understood why he liked it so much. Perhaps it is because he grew up in the ’40’s. I hated watching that poor kid suffer the entire movie for just a few minutes of happiness at the end.

However, this Christmas was the year to show that movie to our son, who is 4. “Why?” you ask. Well, I got a call from my mom asking if it was okay for her to buy him a Red Ryder BB Gun for his birthday. Actually she informed me she was headed to the store to get one. I was, of course, thrilled beyond words. I can’t wait for my son to get his hands on a “real” gun. Let the lessons about gun safety and gun respect begin.

While I advocate for boys, and girls for that matter, to actively use their imaginations to play war and use toy guns of all shapes and sizes, I also passionately believe we need to intentionally teach children about the power and proper use of a gun. A friend recently pointed out to me that in days gone by when guns were hung over the fire place or even set by the front door, children understood firsthand the destructive nature of a gun. There were no TVs and video games to dull their senses or understanding of what a firearm could do. (This is not a statement about my thoughts on violent TV or video games. I am only advocating the need to demonstrate the destructive nature of a real gun to children.)

Growing up as a city kid, I will never forget the lesson my father taught me when he shot his riffle at a tree out in the country. That one shot almost snapped that tree in half. He then spent the rest of the afternoon having us fire that riffle and his small hand gun. My shoulder was so sore by the end of the day. I had a clear understanding of what a gun could do. I had a clear understanding that I was not to “play” with his guns. I was; however, welcome to use them with his supervision. And, although I am not a hunter or gun enthusiast myself, I do know how to use a gun, as will my children.

There is nothing I love better than watching my son play with his toy soldiers. I love watching him create battles where good triumphs over evil or where he rescues the damsel (his little sister) in distress with his sword. But the instant he gets that Red Ryder, the lessons on guns will begin. He’ll have a clear understanding of reality verses fantasy. I can’t wait!

Karen S smallKaren Serna is a wife and homeschooling mom with two children. She holds a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Math from Angelo State University. In addition, she is a certified secondary educator. Prior to having children, Karen worked for Texas State University-San Marcos as an analytical chemist and industrial hygienist for over twelve years. Her passion lies in seeing a generation of Americans once again embrace true freedom.

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