Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Of Guns And ...Not Roses!

I am an avid reader.Let's say I am a compulsive reader.If I am alone at home having a meal and have run out of fresh things to read I study the label of the pickle bottle on the dining table.Else I read all the ingredients listed on the packet of chutney in the (vain) hope that I might make it some day!When the children are at home my role changes from that of a reader to a raconteur and I relive my childhood and then their babyhood for them in the form of various true stories as they tuck in into their food!
So when we learnt that we were expecting our first baby it was a chance for me to do what I love most-read!Though,as children,my sister and I had often dipped into my mother's huge collection on childcare (after we had read through everything else in the house for the tenth time),this was a chance for me to update my knowledge!Violence in the modern world had increased a hundred fold since we had been children and there was a lot of new material available on this topic.So I read  up on it and the general view seemed to be that while there should be no discrimination between a boy and a girl while buying toys (or even otherwise!),guns were to be strictly avoided!Guns,it was concluded,seemed to spawn a desire for violence in young children!So be it!
Hence my daughter had the usual teddy bears,dolls and their clothes,tea sets,tiny kitchen ware,a tent,a dolls house full of minute furniture,a cricket bat,a basket ball hoop and we also bought her a host of trucks-a digger,a dumper,a tractor,a road roller,cars,helicopters,airplanes,all of which she, being the sunny and cheerful child that she is,happily played with.
Then my son was born and he inherited huge collections of everything!Everything,that is,barring guns!Keeping in mind what I had read I followed the same philosophy(rather psychology!) for him.As he reached the kindergarten stage,on the very rare occasions that I served bread(yes I had read a lot on how harmful white bread can be,although that had been our staple breakfast for years and we are still alive and kicking!)I noticed that he often nibbled it into the shape of a gun and pretended to shoot!I ignored him as I felt that he would outgrow this soon.But when he began twisting and contorting my daughter's beautiful Barbie dolls' limbs into gun shapes I knew a little boy instinctively wants to play with a gun and I finally gave in on the condition that he should never,ever aim a toy gun at a person.He was smart enough to agree and still sticks faithfully to his promise!
Thus began our collection of  what I call 'weapons of mass destruction'!Plastic swords,daggers and bows and arrows soon followed,along with every kind of gun imaginable and all was right with our little boy's world.Then we moved to Kenya.
Kenya is a country which does not sell any kind of toy gun.Only water guns which look faker than fake are available here.I had not allowed him to carry any of his guns from India as I knew I would be questioned at the airport.So we hunted for toy guns in Kenya but to no avail.Not a single shop or mall stocked them.He was really sad and had to make do with brightly coloured plastic water guns which were an insult to his eight year old sensitivities!
When my husband went to South Africa last month he decided to buy a toy gun as that was our son's only demand!He found a very realistic metal toy gun which the Jo'burg authorities found so suspicious that they forced open the suitcase after it had been checked in to see!Once they were satisfied that it was not the real thing they allowed the suitcase to pass and later informed my husband that they had opened his luggage!
When he landed at Nairobi,the suitcase was not even loaded onto the conveyor belt!It was placed at one end.When he went and asked them what the issue was,they said it had a gun in it!Then the airport security came and asked him to open the bag.They said they were sorry but the gun had to be destroyed then and there as Kenya does not allow toy guns even in personal baggage!
In the meantime the kids and I were waiting in the arrivals lounge wondering about the delay,when my husband called and explained the situation.My son burst into tears and said that he did not care about the gun but just wanted his father back quickly!Wow!We have not failed as parents yet!Our son chose his Dad over something he had been waiting for for more than a fortnight!Considering how materialistic most kids are these days I was impressed,specially as he had been practically drooling over laying his hands on a gun after so many months!
The gun was destroyed at last and the pieces had to be chucked into a dustbin under the watchful eyes of the security!My husband walked out with just the metal nozzle which he handed to my son!I am hoping the child's ardor for guns has cooled a bit,as this is something none of us will forget in a hurry!Maybe we should try roses next time!Oops!Live flora cannot be checked in either!

13 comments:

  1. Following in the MBC blog hop! Thanks for following me back....http://jeanpatch.blogspot.com

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  2. It might be easier to carry a real gun.
    The number of robberies involving a gun are very real and it has nothing to do with a toy gun
    Typical knee jerked reaction of authorities around the world - destroy the toy while the real WOMD are displayed for all to see
    Ha Ha

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    1. Yes,by doing this they feel they are doing their bit in checking crime whereas in reality crime continues unabated....

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  3. New follower from Get Connected Tuesday!

    -Desiree'
    Life with our Family

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    1. Thanks Desiree!Will follow back!

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  4. New follower from the tuesday blog hop!!

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    1. Thanks you for following Lindsey!

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  5. Stumbled onto your blog via the blog hop and just wanted to show you some blog luv! def enjoyed this post!! new follower via email :-)

    http://infinitelifefitness.com
    http://mscomposure.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for following ms.composure!Will follow back!

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  6. Hello from the hop today, just another mother littlecrunchy.com

    I wanted to ask if you really think boys instinctively want to play with guns. It seemed like that was what your saying and I can't agree. Children was to imitate what they see, if they have seen glorified violence on TV with a gun, they might follow along during play time. I do agree that human beings have a instinct to protect what they see as theirs and to search for better than what they have. We have done this in so many ways, swords and such and now guns. There is nothing instinctive about guns though. Just another tool to fit a need. A tool I do not think children need to consider during play time personally. I have 4 children, one is a boy, none have instinctively sought out guns. Maybe though it is because Daddy is a soldier and has both used and been on the business side of such tools of violence and has made it clear that they kill people and there is nothing ok about that. Add to this my dislike of them around children and we have no gun toys beyond brightly colored squirt guns, we own no guns, and do not plan to. I grew up in a gun house hold, a responsible one by most accounts. Things locked up, gun safety taught at a young age, and while my father is still very responsible, my brother was not. He loved guns from a young age, he got angry easy, and pointed his pellet gun at me at the age of 10. My father found out and destroyed it and my brother was punished and further educated. Years went by and my brother went hunting more with our father, I choose to not go anymore. At 16 my brother broke into my fathers gun cabinet with a welding tool of some kind to take them. At 17 he robbed a store, and since has been in and out of jail. The guns where just a tool. Just a tool that could have killed me. It started with play and not all play leads to the out come but in a world so vast and amazing with so many tools and things to explore and learn, why is it not ok to put guns in a category of such danger that only those trained should deal with them and that death is never fun or funny? Childhood is sacred as you know because your a great mother, I think though you where right to not have them in your home to start with. I think you could have nurtured your sons instincts in other creative ways not having anything to do with guns. Sounds like it is a great time to get him interested in some other things. How about fencing? My son loves video games but like his other play time, no human on human violence allowed, and no guns.

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    1. Hi Kimberly!Thanks for reading!yes,my son is into a host of other activities!He would have given the taekwondo black belt exam had we remained in India this yr,he plays chess,is learning the guitar,takes tennis classes and art classes!Is only allowed an hour of TV on weekends and once in a while age appropriate PSP games!You must remember that we do not have easy access to guns in India so we do not face the same threats of a child laying his hands on a real gun!And as I said he is not allowed to point even his plastic toy gun at anyone!I say instinctive coz Ive never seen a girl playing with a toy gun but only boys!

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  7. Hi New follower here stopping by from www.makeshiftmummy.com I found this post really interesting and rather sweet that your son chose his father over a toy. When Youngling was playing a toy gun an older man came up to me telling me off for letting him play with such a horrible killing machine. I said in his defence that perhaps he will become a police man, or work for the army protecting our country and patrons against evil. The man did not reply and walked off grumbling. I think there is that to consider too. Thanks for sharing take care Kate xx

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  8. Thanks for following,Kate!Will follow back!

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