Friday, July 20, 2012

Guns, media influence and raising boys

Heavy heart today as I think about the shooting at the theater in Colorado. Everyone who is involved. Victims. Parents of the victims. The shooter. Parents of the shooter. I think about what happened. Why did this young man, who is just older than David and just younger than Sam, choose to do such a horrible thing? What was his life like? What was his childhood like? What were his parents like? Why was he so angry? Is he remorseful? Is he mentally ill? What was going through his mind? Did he grow up watching violent movies and is this because his mama let him play with guns growing up? 

I let my sons play with guns. We have rules about not shooting babies or moms or innocent bystanders who are not playing the shooting game at the time. Max loves to play cowboys. So does that mean my kid is going to grow up and shoot in to a crowd of innocent people? (I know the answer to this is no... but still) After I heard about the tradgedy this morning, I rounded up the orange cowboy pistols and put them away for the time being. 

Having sons, I think about how important it is to me to raise them in a healthy and loving home, where Christ is the center, and where we are careful of what kinds of media influences are around them. We do not allow Max, who is still four, to see a lot of what most boys his age are watching. We are sensitive to violence, sorcery, and rebellion in movies for our son. Now there are some exceptions, like Astro Boy (a movie about a robot boy who ends up having to fight other robots) and a show on Netflix called Eon Boy, which is a copy-cat idea of Astro Boy, and sometimes Iron Giant, but it is limited. These movies are involving robots, so the violence is not between people. But we are so careful. When Max's behavior begins to change as a result of the shows, we end it and put them away for a while. I know we aren't going to be able to shelter him from the typical boy interests forever, but as long as we can, we will.

My job as a parent is to teach Max (and the other boys too) right from wrong and how to be a loving and compassionate person. To be respectful, considerate, kind and helpful. As hard as we as parents try to raise good children though, our children have free will. They will be making their own choices when we are not around. Kids who grow up in great homes can still grow up to make bad choices, and kids who grow up in dysfunctional homes are still able to grow up to  make great choices. 

Today I am praying that I am raising my kids in a way that will prepare them for what lies ahead in life, and that they will be amazing, responsible, loving men who know how to handle their emotions and feelings, and who are able to turn to God, their family and their community of loving friends, when life gets hard.

My sporty boy, who loves justice, is a protector, loves his mama, Jesus and  clothes.

My sensitive and nurturing future chef who loves animals and bugs,
who says "sorry" with ease but will fight for what he wants with arms a'swingin. 

My happy and bashful boy who loves people and loves to smile.
Wants to be a big boy already, is vocal and needs to be acknowledged, won't
be the forgotten third child!