It is late summer, and the days of doing nothing all day will soon be replaced with schedules and stricter bedtimes. But for now, we milk the last few drops of utter lazy freedom.
It is in this spirit, that my boys somehow woke up today determined to build themselves some paper weaponry. Not just a measly little sword or two. No, instead they are obsessed with building replicas of some vintage (and to me still absolutely terrifying-looking) guns.
My mind flashes to headlines and school shootings and ballot boxes. To the bill of rights and what did it all mean way back then? What should it mean now? What is freedom and how do we balance it with responsibility? Why do so many boys like guns anyway? Will my boys know the difference between play guns and real ones? Can I trust them to turn out ok, to never hurt someone?
They spend the whole day - literally hours upon hours - cutting, gluing, taping. They build and rebuild when it doesn't work. They consult with each other as to design flaws, and how they could be rectified. They inspire each other with added details, and strive to achieve a real sort of accuracy with their replicas.
When they have questions, and need to see images of an actual 19th century Gatling gun for verification about some details, we learn how to carefully consult the internet without the internet thinking we are buying guns, or ushering us into a world I'd rather not send them into.
At one point, my older son is tired. He just can't cut anymore. He asks his brother to take over. The little brother has a rather gnarly blister already from cutting the hard cardboard for his own gun just moments earlier, but still he helps. I sense the genuine gratitude in the older son's voice as he with deep sincerity thanks his brother for this sacrifice.
And why? Because his brother is willing to cut a gun barrel for him. The easy banter between them fills the house with joy all day. There is no competition today, only a shared goal, and teamwork.
The older son decides his gun needs a tripod. He builds this too out of paper. It is gorgeous. I feel like it should be in a design catalog. The younger son, the resident designer and engineer of our household, thought it might need a ball bearing in the middle to help things turn, but the older one found his own method, and shows me proudly how his way works.
And one last and very interesting thing to note: at only two points in the day did they ask to watch something on YouTube. And then they turned it off by themselves after just ten minutes each time! Which was a major step forward in our family plan to make them responsible for their own screen use. (Something we are actively working towards!)
How do YOU feel about gun play in your household? Do you have strict rules about it? Might this story make you think differently, or no? Feel free to share below! No right answers, only your answers - which are right for YOU. ❤️
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