I was 8 when I shot my first rabbit. 9 when I shot my first deer.
I am the product of a proud hunting, gun-owning family.
Hunting and shooting were actually a part of our holiday traditions growing up.
That being said, I am also a mom. I daily send my 4 little loves to public school.
Now a days it feels like I send them unprotected.
Until recently, my boys truly thought that if a “bad guy” came to school with a gun, that all they would have to do is kick him in the “boy parts” and then they could jump on him. Or that they could boobie trap him Home Alone style and then all would be well.
They thought this way until we took them hunting.
Until they saw first hand the destruction that a gun can do. Until they witnessed a life being taken. An easy target.
Now they know it is real.
Most days it feels like there is no solution to the violence.
And honestly, sadly, I am not sure there is a solution.
One side cries “gun control!” And “if you don’t agree, then you are EVIL.”
The other side cries “look at Chicago.” And “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” And “mental health.”
So. Much. Shouting.
But no answers.
My kids learned their “self-defense” from Home Alone.
What if violence is learned from movies, or video games?
Much like physical health is decided by the food we consume, could a part of our mental health be decided by what our eyes consume?
One thing I don’t understand. While the “#metoo” movement is underway, Hollywood is still bulk producing and glorifying sexual “me too” moments in their videos.
While we are having a gun violence issue, companies are still bulk producing realistic violent games or shows.
And kids are consuming those things.
Do we have a mental health problem?
Do we have a lack of kindness problem?
Do we have a bullying problem?
Do we have a gun problem?
Do we have a media consumption problem?
Do we have a lack of compassion problem?
Lots of problems.
And guys, this gun owner will agree with you that maybe gun control should be looked at.
But so should many other things.
I remember when he was 3, my youngest begged for a Band-Aid because his lips were chapped. Because Band-Aids fix everything.
Except when they don’t. Band-Aids won’t fix strep throat, or allergies, or cancer. They only cover the wounds that we see. They don’t heal the wounds that are inside.
The government can’t “fix” this for us by passing a law. That would be just like putting a Band-Aid on a cancer that is much deeper than what we can see. We can’t depend on politicians or celebrities to save us from ourselves. They can’t.
We have a heart issue.
Only Jesus can heal our hearts.
And a good starting place for fixing that is at home, as families, by parents teaching kindness and love, and the value of human life. All human life. And to teach our boys the importance of building over destroying.
In the words of my 7 year old when asked “How can you help keep someone from becoming bad and doing bad things?”
“Be nice to them.”
It’s the best place to start.