Monday, June 13, 2016

Gun Control, Nerf, and my son

first let me just blow some of the dust off this thing... 

okay, here we go. Obviously there are lots of cobwebs I need to clear out on this page, and I plan to (what HAVE we been doing for the last 3 months?!)... but not today.

Today I'm going to have a conversation with my son about guns. Our son is 10, a tall strapping African-American about to-be-teen-man. And he's been asking for a set of Nerf toy guns since his birthday. And we keep saying no, and not explaining why.

Because I didn't think I could have the conversation without crying.

Because I was scared of admitting to him how scared I am.

Because I don't want him to be scared to be who his is.

But this is America. And apparently, there are very few people who can feel safe here just being who they are. Trump does, and people who look and sound like him, but that's about it.

So tonight I'm going to put a little rainbow candle on our table, and light it, and tell them about what happened in Orlando, and how we feel about it, and how we feel about guns. Which is, we hate them. We hate them and we will not have them, even ones that shoot soft plastic pellets, in our house. I will show my son a photo of Tamir. And I will say this my child, this is why I get so upset. This is why you cannot play with those things, not here, not in the park, not at your friend's house.

I'm planning on laying it all out for him, as calmly and as not-crying-embarrassingly as I can.  I will tell them:

This family believes everyone is worthy of love and respect. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

This family believes guns should only be in the hands of the military and the police and maybe a hunter, far, far, far out in the woods. That it is never, ever okay to touch or play with a gun.

This family knows that there is much, much more work to be done to ensure the safety and respect of all people, and we are committed to being a part of that work.

Our family's faith is Unitarian-Universalist, and our faith calls for us to love and respect each other- no matter our race, our religion, our gender, or our abilities. Not everyone shares that idea. Some people hate others because of who they are. This is not okay. But in the face of hatred, we will express only love. (Yes, even to Trump, although that's hard, because I really, really would like to punch that guy.)

This is pretty heavy stuff for a 6 year old and a 10 year old to hear, I know. But we live in a heavy world. We live surrounded by screens that are constantly shouting bad news at us. And my faith calls for me to hold onto hope- even if it is just the thin scrap I am grasping at today. That thin hope is this- that my children, and their friends and their co-workers, will live in a safer world, and be kinder to each other, and generously give each other the space to be who they are. Every single one.

Because  love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love

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