Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brutish or Brave?

play area 3

This morning, before school started, I happened into the kindergarten classroom and was tickled to find children of various ages having a blast with all the cool stuff in the play area. It always surprises me a little that, in spite of its remote location, our school is well-equipped with all those creative treasures that encourage and delight the imagination.

Today I paused at the Lego table and traded high fives with a first grader who was busily snapping plastic pieces together. He appeared to be constructing some sort of weapon. That wasn't too surprising. It doesn't really matter what type of construction material is involved...modeling clay, Lincoln logs, K-nex, Legos, even a plain old popsicle stick. At some point, most boys can (and usually will) create a gun. I'll be honest, that has bothered me at times. There is always a concern that kids will fail to recognize the value of preserving life if they are allowed to act out imaginary violence against others during play.

I was well on my way to voicing my concern when the intercom squawked the announcement for breakfast. That triggered a frenzied exodus toward muffins and applesauce and within seconds I was standing in the play area alone. As I passed by the Lego table, I glanced back down at the abandoned weapon and realized that I probably shouldn't have worried. This boy might just have a pretty good handle on preserving life after all.

play area 1

play area 2


Bryan said...

Now that's pretty cool. I guess not ALL of us brutish boys end up pointing guns the wrong way! :) I have always believed, and still do, that if you take the gun away from the boy, you take the fight out of the man. Teach a boy the full respect of the tool. Teach them what it is Really capable of, and you have taught them a greater respect for its power and potential. A gun is a tool, just like a shovel or a hoe. Each can be used for destruction if brought to bear. Teach a boy how to resist reacting in anger, and you have tamed the gun.

Bryan said...

(sheepish grin) sorry for going on about that, it has always been a spot that I have felt strongly about. The true danger is in a person's heart, not in their weapon of choice.

Trudie said...

Bryan - The operative must be 'teach a boy the full respect of the tool' coupled with gun laws that prohibits someone from buying a weapon on the spur of the moment and without that crucial training in how to use it.
Boy, am I sticking out my neck now!

Kimberlee - please delete my comment if you get deluged with nasty retorts!
Other than that I'm with you in your thoughts on the subject!

Kimberlee said...

I realized that there was potential for controversy when I posted this story, but I decided that it was more about sharing a glimpse of Arctic life than making a political statement, so I went ahead and hit "publish."

I feel a little sheepish trying to discuss this issue. I have strong feelings in both directions (freedom & control) and so find myself sitting rather uncomfortably on the fence in some ways.

I think we can probably all agree that it boils down to responsibility, both taking it and teaching it. Yes, a gun is a tool and should be treated as such, but it's more like a power saw than a paintbrush and requires a lot more maturity to handle with the respect and skill that is warranted.

I was pleased (and a little proud) to see that the boy in the play area had the mindset that people are to be protected and a weapon is a tool for protecting. That may not be appropriate in other settings around the world, but here, where a bear attack really IS a potential danger, I think it is appropriate and even a little admirable.

Bryan & Trudie, I appreciate your comments...thanks for sharing them! :)