Riley’s Rifle

Yesterday, I was at our local elementary school to do our quarterly “parent-teacher conference” with each of my kid’s teachers.  Upon arriving outside the school, my wife quickly gave me a note from my son’s second grade, science teacher.

In reference to a “show and tell” presentation that Riley was suppose to conduct that day, the note read:


“gun (toy) not appropriate…select something else.”

Let me explain.

A few days before my son’s presentation he was fumbling through different “show and tell” options, but nothing was really exciting him.  I then picked up his Nerf, Star Wars Clone Trooper Blaster and said, “What about this?”:


Riley seemed pretty excited about it, and practiced how he would tell the class about his blaster and the physics behind how the trigger-system worked in shooting the Nerf-dart.

Well…apparently I had led my son astray, causing him to suffer humiliation in front of his classmates and the dreaded, “note from the teacher.”

As “post-Columbine schools” are obviously tighter on violence and weapon-like-objects, I do realize the need for caution.  According to some statistics, a child will view two gun-related violent incidents every hour of watching T.V. (i.e. Bugs Bunny, Power Rangers, etc.).  And there are also studies that show that just the sight of a gun will raise the aggression level in viewers.

Another argument that tends to come up is the student’s inability to separate fantasy from reality, thinking that shooting your neighbor can be as fun as shooting a robot in a video game.

And yet I wondered, what is more dangerous of a blend:  To have a child think that his virtual blaster is just as dangerous as a real gun, or to allow him to see his toy gun as just a toy, knowing that a real gun would be inappropriate?  Are we in turn creating an unforeseen blend of fantasy and reality, by treating all weapon-like objects as true and dangerous weapons?

Who knows…but just another mishap on my end as a failing father in this world of people, places, and instruments of death made of foam and plastic.

Oh, and by the way, Riley brought back a second object…a toy car.  Thank God they don’t kill anyone.


~ by Dave Smith on October 2, 2009.

3 Responses to “Riley’s Rifle”

  1. Interpersonal Communications…You have me stand up in the middle of a speech your giving and pull a toy gun on you. Could you imagine us doing that now-a-days?

  2. Yea, someone with a real gun would have probably shot you!

    I remember back in high school making a fake bomb with PlayDough, wires, and an alarm clock and putting it in a friend’s locker as a funny prank. These days…man, you would get arrested.

    I just officiated a wedding for one of my former middle school students back when I was a youth pastor. He is now a firefighter for the city, but back when he was in high school, he was literally expelled from school for wearing a long, black leather jacket and having a list of kids that he didn’t like in his locker. (this was the year of Columbine, when many school banned the trench coats)

    Talk about extreme.

  3. Oh but did you forget..Dad has always said…”a car is a weapon” really if used wrongly..both can kill….unless their toys of course…and a star wars gun especially,,,,and ARE a GREAT DAD!!!

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