Posted by: LBergstrome | April 27, 2011

A Pistol Made of Toast?

A year or two ago I watched in dismay as the neighbourhood children raced about with plastic machine guns, playing murder and war. It went against everything that I stand for as a pacifist.

I hauled my children indoors insisting that they refrain from this kind of play. A few heated words were exchanged with other parents (admittedly, the heat was all mine) as I explained that my two “angels” would not be engaging in play with toys made to resemble weapons. Guns are tools for killing.

My kindly neighbour shared that he had played with toy guns as a child and assured me that this was normal behaviour for boys… as far a model citizens go, he ranks pretty high in my books. Our exchange came back to me recently, then a friend shared this link with me today.

Plainly pagan: A Quaker Journal: A Pistol Made of Toast.

There is a fine line in my mind. I agree with so much of what this author shares. Children need someone to rough house and battle with in order to move energy and aggression. But they don’t need weapons to do so. My boy shoots with sticks, rocks, fingers, carrots… what is it about boys and projectiles?

Somewhere along the line I became ok with Star Wars LEGO figures that shoot laser guns (I used to hide them as soon as they came into the house), and Light Saber battles have also been allowed without much fuss (however, the plastic hand-me-down sabers disappeared on their own into our neighbourhood toy mash-up).

We have never had a water gun.

It’s a complex world we live in, balancing harmony, peace and love with aggression, anger, and fear. The mock battles I’ve since witnessed after that first exposure have resulted in cooperation and teamwork, something I certainly hadn’t expected as the children negotiate the outcome of their game.

Will I ever allow guns into my home? No, never! But imaginative play is a strong healing salve allowing for the safe expression of our deeper unconscious, and I strive never to shut that down.

Much love,


Ban On Guns


  1. Ah, this is always a tough one. I grew up with guns in the house (so obviously, did my brother), but I don’t remember him or any of his friends (who also had fathers who hunted for food) ever engaging in ‘gun play’. Maybe because they weren’t a mystery? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting question. As for us, my guy has never had much interest in guns or gun play, swords, or anything of the like (though lately the pretend swords have come out on occasion! ;o) Meaning my experience with this is pretty much nil! I do understand the feeling, though – guns, pretend or not, in the hands of tiny little boys just feels, well, wrong. It’s definitely a challenge…

    • Thank you for chiming in Victoria. I definitely appreciate the point of view of hunters and homesteaders who have a healthy respect for firearms. It’s when a gun becomes a toy that I have difficulty; when children are not taught to understand the purpose of a gun if they are exposed in their homes or lives. I have eaten deer that was shot by a friend on a hunting trip and enjoyed it thoroughly… ah life is simply not black and white is it?

  2. Excellent post thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading your blog very much because of your point of view on things. You have very useful information here.

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    • Thank you very much Family Blogger! I look forward to taking some time to visit your blog. Thanks as well for the link on family activities, we like meals together, board games and picnics in nature 🙂

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