Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Talking about Guns; Listening about Beauty

I recently read this article about a three year old boy accidentally (and non-fatally) shooting his parents, and it occurred to me that I'd never talked to my children about gun safety. We don't have a gun, and so it hadn't been on my radar.

But my son is now at an age where he plays 'unsupervised' with friends. There's always an adult in the house, but they are not necessarily in the same room as him. He certainly has playdates where neither nor my husband nor myself are present, and I don't know who does or doesn't have a gun. I certainly shouldn't just assume that every gun owner we visit has their gun safely stored where the children can't get to it.

So I told my son about that shooting. I knew he'd like the detail about the father being shot in the bottom--and by that same token, he would remember it. I also told him that incidents like this happened where people died, including children. That nobody should handle a gun who hadn't been properly trained.

Then we talked about what he should do if a friend tried to show him a gun. That he should say no, that if somebody was holding a gun, he should walk out of the room. That he should never touch a gun.

I felt that that covered it for our purposes... At least for the time being. Gun-education is not something I have ever given much thought to, but considering how many American households have a gun, this is probably as vital as "Don't talk to strangers."

On a sweeter note, something that happened today... it started off being embarrassing. We were in the check out line at the supermarket when my son started pointing at the lady in front of us. I hastily pushed his hand down, but I crouched next to him and asked him what was wrong. He told me she was "so beautiful."

The lady in question was elderly, overweight, and casually dressed, but when I gave her this second look, I saw she had lovely skin for her age, bright blue eyes and thick white hair. Most likely my son saw something of Frozen's Elsa in her, and why the hell not?

I didn't want to embarrass my son, but when his back was turned, I tapped the woman on her shoulder and told her what he'd said. I figured it would make her day, and judging by her reaction, I wasn't far wrong. My son is too young to recognize age and he's not yet attuned to weight. There was something very refreshing about looking through his eyes and seeing beauty where I hadn't thought to look for it.