For 12 years I had forbade guns in my house, mostly because I didn't want Chris, our oldest, to get accustomed to the idea of playing with guns. For us, guns are not toys. With a gun you have the potential to take someone's life or to seriously injure someone. And we succeeded in teaching Chris that.
Almost too well.
This past fall we registered Chris with Air Cadets and, of course, one of the things cadets learn to do is fire a gun. We discovered that Chris was adamantly opposed to shooting a gun, particularly on Sunday. We had to find a way to convince him that, in this case, it was okay and not countermand what we had taught him. We tried to explain that it's one of those things that he needs to learn so he can participate in other things. So, learn it, get that out of the way so he could move on to other activities. We tried the example of friends and relatives we know who are in the military and Christians. We tried to help him identify with potentially being in a battle situation on a Sunday (some enemies don't take a break on our Sabbath day). We still couldn't budge him.
At this point, I think I should mention that Chris is mildly autistic so once he gets an idea stuck in his head it's really hard to get it "unstuck". I have learned what words to say to keep him motivated or to change his mind on somethings, but I had pretty much used up all my ideas. I loved the fact that he had taken our lesson to heart, though.
Well, when our local country hardware store advertised the Red Ryder b-b gun on sale, both my husband and I said, that was coming home. For those of you not familiar, the Red Ryder bb gun is the subject of the Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. If you have seen it, you should. We thought that if dad could teach him at home - since he had been trained in the Army cadets - in a secure environment perhaps this might turn him around.
It seems to have worked. After several bullseyes, Chris realized that he could do it. Many times we find that Chris' aversion to things is really fear of failure and of trying new things, and that once he tries something and discovers he can do it after all, his self-confidence in doing that something doubles. He is now very eager to show what he can do at Air Cadets and I'm so glad that we have made it over this hurdle.
Our decision to enroll Chris in Air Cadets served several purposes. It wasn't the learning to fire a gun or anything like that. We had hoped that through Air Cadets Chris would learn to be confident in everything he did. That he would make the step from boyhood to manhood - from playing to work (we're still working on this one). That he would find something in Air Cadets - flying, speaking, radio communications, etc. - that he could translate into something positive in his life.
Now if we can only get him to understand that not everything is boring!
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