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Why I don’t care if the guys play soldier

Submitted by on Monday, 15 February 2010 2 Comments

Big Guy wanted a Nerf gun for Christmas – a big one. “A pazooka,” he said.

He also wanted night vision goggles. And he “needed” walkie-talkies because he was tired of squawking into a fake plastic set.

He got the gear from various relatives and Santa, and he quickly suited up to pursue his fantasy career of the moment: A soldier.

That bothers his father. “I’m fighting so you won’t have to,” he’ll tell him.

“But I want to be Special Forces.”

“OK, but at least be an officer,” his dad will say.

“Yep. I’m going to be a general.” Never accuse the kid of lacking ambition.

“You’ll need to go to college,” I’ll add. “And learn another language, too. Special Forces soldiers have to speak more than one language.”

“Oh, all right. I’ll learn the Spanish,” he’ll respond. He thinks all languages other than English are “the Spanish.”

Soldier is only one of his dress-up games. Some days he’s The Avatar. Some days he’s a race car driver. Some days he’s a Ninja. Soldier, though, isĀ  his favorite.

It doesn’t faze me in the least, no more than it would bother me if I had a daughter who was fixated on playing princess. What they say they want at this age rarely has any connection to what they’ll ultimately grow up to be, so why crush their dreams at such a young age.

Besides, living on an Army post you’d have better luck convincing kids to stop breathing than you would trying to persuade them that they shouldn’t play soldier.

Except for the fact that their surroundings make this particular game more appealing, the guys are really no different from generations of kids before them who have played cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians or any manner of semi-violent pursuits. It doesn’t matter if you try to stop them by banning toy firearms. Walk up to any playground and count how many kids you see pointing gun-mimicking fingers or sticks at each other.

So I watch and chuckle as Big Guy and his friends chase zombies from the closet and ghosts from the garage. There’s been the occasional bad guy they’ve had to evict from the patio, too.

Maybe one of these days he’ll even break down and learn the Spanish.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Mommie Daze said:

    I completely agree. It’s just innate that boys want to play with guns. I say let them play! It’s actually a great opportunity to teach them the right ways guns can be used.

  • Debra said:

    Here’s the funny part: Before my husband joined the Army, he hated the idea of guns. I, on the other hand, grew up in a house with the proverbial shotgun over the fireplace. And we ALWAYS were aware of the safety issues.