Well, it’s official. My little man just turned four. For his birthday, he had asked for only two things: anything with Thomas the Tank Engine on it and a BB gun. After a lengthy discussion, my husband and I made the decision to buy him the Red Ryder and, well, he loves it.
When he opened the present, he knew right away that he’d gotten his first gun. He wasn’t the only one who was excited either. Our daughter proudly exclaimed that she also has a BB gun, but hers is pink, not brown.
Not long after tearing the paper off the box, I took it out for him to shoot, but we had to go over the rules first. Obviously, kids will tend to forget rules, so we made sure to keep it simple. Don’t touch the trigger until Mom or Dad says to, and never point the gun at any person or animal. That rule will change as he gets older and likely becomes a hunter like his father, but for now, I was concerned about the safety of the cats.
As he listened and we made him repeat the rules as we did with his sister, he got increasingly excited to shoot his new gun. Eye protection is a must. Sure, it’s just a BB gun, but they can be dangerous too, and he will eventually shoot something else. Having that as a rule seems more than reasonable.
After making the poor boy wait painstakingly while my husband set up a cardboard target with some balloons on it so he could see them pop when he hit one, the two of them sat down together in the beautiful fall weather of Western Wyoming.
My son loved it. After sending the first BB at the cardboard target, he didn’t even care that he hadn’t hit a balloon. He just jumped and said “One more time!” We actually had to ask him to calm down a little because the jumping was threatening to give my husband a bloody nose.
His experience was a happy and good one, and he asks to shoot his gun every day. It’s important to make sure that we, as gun owners, teach our children about guns before their friends at school or the media have the opportunity to mold their minds. Neither of my kids are old enough to take their BB gun into the woods on their own, but in time, I’m sure they will.
Regardless of the input from my liberal in-laws, my husband and I are confident in our decision to teach our kids about guns at a young age. Curiosity killed the cat and since they already know that we both have guns. Lying about guns in the house isn’t an option especially if you expect your kids to respect the weapon and be safe with them.