The trickle down effect

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Chris spent all last week in Madison, Wisconsin, mixing a record at Butch Vig's studio. He left last Sunday night and no sooner did he close the door behind him than Ewan erupted into a chaos of tears and wails. It was a hard week for the brothers Loesch. I've said it before in this space so many times: I cannot fathom how military wives deal with their husbands' absence for so many months.

I slept with a firearm responsibly located near my bedside. I've no apologies; I'm a woman with two young kids in the city and it, along with our alarm system, gives me peace of mind. The boys understand firearm responsibility and I've written about it extensively here and other places. I was even more glad to have it after I received email alerts about a guy claiming to be from the water department attempting to force his way into homes in my area.

While at his homeschool gym class, Liam overheard one of the kids say that guns were "stupid" and "people who use guns are stupid." Liam said "What about for self-defense?"

"No," the kid replied. "All of it is stupid. My mom says we're safer using swords."

"You don't know what you're talking about," Liam responded. The exchange angered him and he refused to interact with the kid. He waited to tell me about it until we got home.

"Well that's just goofy," I explained. "It's the people who aren't familiar with firearms who are scared of them the most and it's usually those people that end up causing or being the victim of an accident. That's statistical."

It wasn't the gun conversation that shocked me; this was my first real headlock with an opposing parental view. The strength of how we raise our kids, the quality of what we instill in our kids is tested in moments like these. I was impressed with how Liam handled the situation. No matter what we teach him, I hope we continue to successfully incorporate respect and tolerance into his viewpoints, like mortar to the bricks, despite what he may experience in future disagreements. 

18 Comments

Hey Dana.
I'm a military wife, and my hubby is in Baghdad currently.
We make it work, though there are tough moments at times.
I sleep with pepper spray by my side.

Glad the hubby is back with ya, and thanks for the military shout out.

Rarely do I disagree with your viewpoints, but I have to in this instance. Not about guns - to each their own, and personally I do agree with your viewpoint of firearms.

My disagreement is with being "proud" of how Liam handled it. "You don't know what you're talking about" and refusing to interact -- doesn't seem to me to be showing respect and tolerance. Seems more like an attitude of you don't agree with me, therefore, you are wrong. Followed by, if you don't agree with me, I'm not going to interact/play with you, I'm going to take my marbles and go home.

Just sayin :)

I'm not afraid of guns, and own them, but I don't have them easily available for self-defense. I voted to allow conceal-carry, though.

If we did, anyone forcing their way in the house would surely die, if we could get to a gun. My wife is an insanely good shot, and cool under pressure. I am too, but not quite as good a shot.

However, you have to admit the sword idea is pretty cool. Imagine getting to yell "AVAST!" and other good pirate stuff. (I've been on an unexplainable pirate kick, lately)

Karla,
Liam did not call anyone "stupid" for not agreeing with him and he didn't say that anyone was wrong. He simply told the kid that he, the kid, didn't know what he was talking about and Liam removed himself from the situation, as he has been taught to do, instead of mouthing off and being inflammatory. So yes, I am proud of how he handled himself! (I think he did better than most adults would've in the same situation, myself included.)

I agree with the idea that those who wish to own guns should be educated, and those that do not should be respected for their decision also. I understand that your son was doing what he was taught with removing himself instead of getting in an argument, but I would think it would be more effective to instruct a child that people have differences of opinion, and to get past it. I also think that saying the child was goofy was not showing tolerance, while I most assuredly would have discussed his misuse of the word "stupid".

interesting blog!

Dana,
To set the record straight, I did not say that Liam called anyone "stupid"; nor did I say that Liam "said" anyone was wrong. I said it gave the "attitude" of the other kid being wrong.

Removing himself from the situation as he has been taught to do, and refused to interact - are distinctly different in how they are perceived. Had you used that wording in the original post, I would probably not have disagreed. Refused to interact gives the impression of yes, taking my marbles and going home.

As to telling someone they don't know what they are talking about, I still feel that those words are rude and conveys the attitude that you are wrong and I am right. I'm sure the other parent would feel that Liam was the one who did not know what he was talking about sinde they are ones who taught their childs how to feel about guns and/or people who use them.

But you know what they say about opinions :)

"You don't know what you're talking about" doesn't seem like a very tolerant comment. I'm also not sure about you telling Liam that the other kid's viewpoint was "goofy," when, in fact, it's just different.

I have to agree with Karla here. I have been reading you for a long time despite knowing we have polar opposite views on this particular topic, since it's not even a main topic of conversation here, mothering and raising your family according to your rules is, and that's why I read it. But I wouldn't have called his behavior respectful either, although for his age I agree he handled it just fine. Respectful is not telling someone they don't know what they are talking about. Teaching respect, in my book, would be more if you had explained to him that other people's families believe differently about guns, and that's ok, here's the way we see it, and differing opinions are good. Not that they are "goofy".
It's probably too fine a point to be arguing, and I don't plan to tell you how to mother your children! Otherwise I would have stopped reading long time ago. :) It's a sensitive topic, but I just thought I'd throw that in.

For the record, I called the reasoning goofy. You can agree or disagree. I think it's amusing that calling something goofy provokes more scorn than saying "people who use guns are stupid." I guess it all boils down to how you feel about the Second Amendment.

Karla - I cannot argue with a person's steadfast perception, only facts. ;) Refusing to interact with someone who is, at the time, incapable of acting in a reasonable manner, is behaving responsibly. I do it all the time when Chris insists that he's right on a matter when really he's wrong.

Also, please be advised that for privacy reasons I can only post a small portion of this story so as to not cause anyone embarrassment.

I don't think that people find "goofy" more scornful than "people who use guns are stupid" -- I think that people are commenting on Liam and your response as opposed to the kids' comment. Has nothing to do with how anyone feels about the Second Amendment.

Thanks for using the word "steadfast" in lieu of "stubborn"!

Understood that only part of the story is posted.

If you refuse to interact when Chris is "wrong", does he do the same when you are "wrong"? This is typed in an "amusing" tone - to lighten the mood :) I do the same when my husband is wrong -- although he would insist he was right. As usual.

Being in the Marine Corps for 4 years, I totally agree with you on the importance of weapons for self defense. I also agree with the way your son handled his argument. ( I have a small child also)He chose to not continue a conversation rather than continue to argue with another child. Even children are entitled to their opinions. I don't think children should be expected to roll over and just agree with opposing opinions.
I find it ironic that some people are saying that children should embrace everyone's opinion, but you are criticizing another adult for their's. And telling them how they should have reacted to their own child's argument. Honestly I think he should be praised also for just stopping the conversation rather than bopping the kid on the head for saying that what Ewan was saying was "stupid". I hope this make sense and isn't rambling too much.

People..give her a break! If the kid has just said that people who use guns are stupid, they probably aren't interested in playing with that person or discussing the issue. Liam handled the situation just fine for his age. Aren't there more important things to be argumentative about? And for heaven's sake, it's her blog. If you don't like something she has written, she has been gracious enough to let you "comment" about it. But leave her child alone. You weren't there..you don't know the details of what happened. As a nation, we are under so much pressure to be politically correct about EVERYTHING!..don't suck the children into that.

Wow, nothing like guns to set people off! I am a gun owner and have my CCW permit. Good for you Dana, you protect yourself however you want! If someone wants a sword, hey cool, if someone wants nothing...whatever. Free country and all! I had 10 years of training and practice in law enforcement, including live fire and F.A.T.S. live action simulation and people tell me I should not have my guns....that is just silly! ;) Only convicted felons with "street training" should...I guess! You should get Liam in debate so he can handle himself like an adult and reason with another child to get his point across....Good Lord! Koom by ya! (heavy with sarcasm)

Amen Jen. Leave the kids out of the political correctness because it has gotten just way over the top. Liam did exactly what I tell my kids to do (I have one daughter and two sons). If someone is acting like that you walk away from the situation. Was he supposed to stand there and argue with the kid? That would be the intolerance. No, it sounds like everyone expected him to roll over like a dog. He stood up for himself without calling names. Good for him. Amazing how everyone is attacking the kid who didn't act like a brat as opposed to the kid who DID act like a brat because one was sticking up for the second amendment and one was bashing people who use it.

Just lost a comment - a nice long one : (

Anyway - I have been arounds guns ever since I can remember. I have nothing but skill and respect to show for it. My husband is on midnights occasionally and I am confident that our home is well protected even when he is gone.

ps - Liam is a kid. I think he responded GREAT. I don't know how these other people think he SHOULD have acted.

You know, I read this blog regularly, but I rarely if ever comment. I think it is funny that it doesn't seem ok to express your opinion, or your parental opinion on the matter without someone saying you are "attacking" a kid? Geez, I thought the comment section was for sharing respectful opinions and ideas, not just "Good job dana, excellent post" over and over again. Now Dana, know that I do not direct this towards you, you always seem to accept any respectfully dissenting opinions....but it doesn't seem to be the same for your readership. Are we saying the blog comment standard is agree or shut up?

I'm a Southerner, raised around guns and trained to use them from an early age. I often wonder if part of the reason that we have so many problems with gun violence is that so many people have the "guns are evil" position instead of being taught to respect them. I don't currently own a real gun--just a BB pistol--but will soon take possession of my great-grandfather's rifle, the same gun I learned to shoot with, and will teach both my children, the Boy and the Girl, to handle and respect firearms.

and actually .... it seems pretty apparent that there was no middle point between Liam and the other kid. While the "best" thing for him to do would be to say, ok, we'll never agree on this and change topics, few grade schoolers (especially males) are capable of this. Walking away is the next best option.

I think that your son handled the situation very well for a kid his age. Sure, there are more polite responses, but the other kid started off snotty, so good for Liam for not responding in kind.

I have never fired a gun, and have no desire to do so. However, my husband has a hunting rifle and my children and I are taking a gun safety class this summer. I want them to learn that knowledge, even when it makes you uncomfortable, can help keep you safer.

We had a dispute early in our marriage about a handgun. My husband wants one, I don't. Our compromise it that he can have one, but not until the kids move out. At that time, I will learn how to use it, but it will be kept locked up. Others may have a different point of view, but this is what works for us.

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