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To the alert Bible School Teacher who took me aside and told me she was worried about my four year old son, because he always ate his graham crackers in such a way as to form the shape of a “gun”, and then pretended to fire that gun?
But it might be worse than you thought.
Despite possessing a hipster’s tendency toward musical snobbery, my hipster-like son is kind, gentle, thoughtful, sensitive, a deep thinker, loved wherever he goes, and a whole lot of fun.
He won a debate scholarship. And he’s never debated. Except with his dad and me.
But no matter how much his dad would have liked it, he didn’t want to go hunting. Just wasn’t into it. (Not interested in killing things, so much.)
I’ve never forgotten the words you spoke to me, oh Well-Intentioned Teacher of my son, warning me of the darkness to come.
And now, I have a few words I’d like to share with you, fifteen years later.
What you DIDN’T know, Teacher, was an earlier story from my son’s life, that might throw a bit more light on the situation. You see, as a young mother of one son (at the time of this earlier story), I tried very, very hard to shield my son from all violence. I didn’t want to scar his tender psyche. I may not be the only young mother in history who has ever embarked on such a noble endeavor.
Historically, many mommies have treasured their sons before me, and attempted to shield them from the evils of this world, as well. It’s our JOB, to protect our offspring, after all.
So, by the time my son had reached the tender age of two, he had not seen one single gun, nor one TV show, nor cartoon, with a gun. Because I was GOOD at my job. Or at least, I was good at the task I’d assigned myself.
One day, my friend Rachel and I went for a walk to Radnor Lake. It’s a lovely spot, where mothers can push their babies in strollers on the road beside the lake, with no traffic whatsoever to molest. Rachel took her son, Austin on our walk. Austin was two and a half years older than my two year old, and my son’s idol. My toddler worshipped the ground Austin manfully strode upon. At four and a half, Austin was what my son called, “a big boy”.
Rachel had given her son one of those huge G.I. Joe green plastic machine guns as a toy. Austin knew a walk in the woods is a valuable place to have a gun, so the gun came with. I pushed my two year old guy in the stroller, while Austin acted as our little group’s scout, charging bravely ahead to “shoot” at any danger that might (in his vivid imagination) be coming our way.
My boy watched with a fascination usually attributed to mesmerization.
Midway through our walk, he could stand it no longer.
“Mommy, what does Austin have in his hands?”
My world screeched to a stop as the very moment I had held at bay for two long years, finally arrived. Inwardly, I had a few choice words I wished I could offer to Big Boy Austin, for having stolen my baby boy’s innocence.
But dang it all, I would NOT be beaten in my endeavor to preserve purity in my two year old’s life, by a FOUR YEAR OLD!!!
So, being careful not to lie to my son, after a few beats, I answered,
“Well, son…it’s a green stick”.
He thoughtfully considered my answer for a moment, and then looked at me with a lust in his eyes I’d never before seen, and replied with all the heartfelt earnestness that a two year old can muster,
“Oh, Mommy! I WANT a green stick!!!”
Proving, dear readers, that a Mom can do what she can do, but she can only do so much.
So, dear Well-Intentioned Bible School Teacher: thanks for trying.
But despite both of our tireless efforts…
my young man is who he is.
And, oh, how I do love who he’s becoming!