To Play Or Not To Play

Pretty much since The Boy could walk I’ve struggled with the question of toys. He is all boy when it comes to his choice of play things. He’s been able to pick out and identify a huge range of superheroes from the time he could speak. He’s adored Star Wars since he was old enough to not put the action figures directly into his mouth. He gravitates towards swords and guns and other weapons of violence. He’s a rough and tumble, get down and dirty kind of boy (although he does play kitchen, mommy and daddy and dress up with his sister in a really sweet way). I’ve often wondered if we should have only let him play with all wooden toys designed to engage his creativity instead of battery needing plastic play for him sorts of toys.

Here’s where my main struggle comes in. The Boy really wants to play with G.I. Joes. Which I had always planned on shutting down immediately as I was not at all keen on the idea of him playing with toys whose entire purpose was to fight. We live in a neighborhood where almost all of The Boy’s friends’ fathers are in the military. His first best friend was our neighbor B who was in the army and lost his life in Iraq. Several of his school friends have family members in the military. His Papa Tractor is a retired Marine and his Uncle is in the Navy. So now I don’t think I can just put my foot down with a resounding (but unexplained) no without feeling like an absolute hypocrite.

I have a deep respect for the people who choose to be soldiers. In fact because of B, every time I see a soldier in uniform I have to use all of my willpower not to just hug them. So when The Boy says to me “I want to be a soldier when I grow up because I want to help people” it makes me cry and it makes me want to support him in whatever way I can. Because what mother doesn’t want their son to grow up with the sole intention of helping people?

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