You might wonder why I chose to open this post with that particular song. Well, if you’ve read anything I’ve written, you might know that I’m a big Beatles fan and especially a major John fan. I really do like this song. It’s so strange. It’s actually 3 songs, or the unfinished pieces of 3 different songs, strung together. They are all very different from the other. There are numerous theories on what the song is about- drugs, sex, violence. I have never touched drugs, not into violence and sex? well, that’s my business and no one else’s, right? I don’t really care. Just love this song. Hey, maybe there’s something to that- maybe my attachment to this song is because it reminds me of myself- having 3 very different parts of myself with very few people knowing exactly who I am but making lots of assumptions—-and like this song, probably most of them wrong.
Now, the inspiration for my post- in his post today, My Boy ‘B’ and the ‘Safe Room’- Ronovan writes about parenting and one specific paragraph jumped out at me. If you read it, you’ll be able to guess. Yes, the one about not letting his son play with toy guns or watch gun/shooting related shows. It reminded me of my oldest son, Michael.
When Michael was a little boy he was obsessed with guns. I wasn’t sure if this was a normal phase or if it was truly an obsession. I did know that I did not like it. Not one bit. I refused to let him play with toy guns or watch anything where guns were featured. I went so far as to put toy guns up out of his reach when we went to his cousin’s house. He did not let my efforts distract him or slow him down in his pursuit to play with guns. He built them out of Legos, TinkerToys, …..He even used his little sister’s toy blow dryer. Anything that could be made into a weapon, was.
Now, let’s fast forward to present times. Michael gained a son when he got married in January and considering his lack of experience, I think he’s doing an incredible job. It isn’t t easy to raise someone else’s biological child but Michael comes by parenting naturally.
I was over at his apartment a few weeks ago and I witnessed the following scene between Michael and CJ, age 5.
CJ had built a gun out of Legos and was racing around saying, “I’m going to shoot the bad guys!”
Michael called him over to the couch where he was sitting. He patted the seat and asked him to sit down. He unarmed CJ and asked, “Why do you want to shoot them?”
“Because they are bad and hurt people.”
“You know it’s not right to hurt people, even if they are bad, right?”
CJ’s body language slumped slightly and his gaze stayed trained on the Lego gun on the table before them. He nodded.
“Do I like guns?’
CJ shook his head slowly.
“What’s my job?” Michael asked patiently. Honestly, the patience my son shows continues to amaze me considering what a flighty energetic little boy he was.
CJ answered promptly, “You’re a paramedic.”
Michael nodded. “And what do I do at my job?”
CJ wants to grow up to be just like his Daddy so he quickly warmed to the topic. “You drive an ambulance and you save lives.”
“What do I do when I save lives?” It was easy to see that this was a familiar conversation.
“You help fix hurt people.”
Michael nodded. “Do you know how some of those people got hurt?”
His eyes trained on the Lego gun, CJ whispered, “They got shot.”
“Exactly. And when they get shot sometimes they die and sometimes they are very badly hurt.”
CJ sat there, a solemn look on his face and he nodded slowly.
Michael continued. “I am a paramedic because I want to help people. Guns hurt people.”
“Do you understand why I don’t like guns?”
CJ nodded again.
Michael gathered CJ in his arms and said, “I love you. Give me a hug.”
And this from the guy, who as a little boy would take bites out of his pb&j sandwich to form the shape of a gun. While I’m on the subject of guns, I cannot believe we live in a world where this sign has to be posted on the entrances of SCHOOLS!