Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Little Archers

This was my oldest's birthday gift this year.  A compound bow.  Now, those of you that really know me, and know that I am a pacifist to the core may be surprised that I'm buying Maestro such a gift.  It really is beyond the scope of comfort for some, and I completely understand that point of view.  It took a lot of soul searching for me to get to the point to arming my kids.  But, perhaps if I explain my reasoning, you'll feel more comfortable, too.

As I grew up in a household that did not believe in hunting, it took me quite some time as an adult to come to the place where I am not only comfortable with the concept, but welcome it.  See, I got my first taste of venison cooked right and there was no looking back.   Being that I'm an omnivore, I felt it was not hypocritical of me to embrace hunting.  And the way I've come to see it is this.  These animals have lived free range lives, not confined, not "slaughtered".  They have picked at the berries and grass, they have eaten apples from the tree, leaving a path in the frost to the woods and basically lived life in a manner that is inherent to their being.  The way God intended them to live.  Yes, we are killing them to eat them, and this is not something that we take lightly, but they have lived in a way that honors their very spirit.  And let's face it, in the scheme of things, at least when they are killed in the wild, they have a fairly good chance of escaping that arrow or bullet all together.

(Let me just say first that I LOVE the tongue sticking out in this picture, he gets that trait from his Dad who does the same when he's really concentrating on something).  Being all that as it is, and me having two boys that are, well, boys, we decided it better to control their exposure to weapons.  Our boys are not allowed to "play guns", they don't shoot at each other with Nerf guns, they don't pretend to kill each other in any way. It is not allowed.  But, they do have what seems to be an inate curiosity about guns and weapons in general.  Because we've decided that we'd like our boys to be as self sufficient as possible as they become men, we've also decided that teaching them to be responsible with weapons and conscientous hunters is the best position we can put them in.  Music Man took the state hunter safety course this summer and learned a lot. So, when 4-H sponsored a shooting/archery sports instruction series, we enrolled Maestro.  Little Red is a year too young to participate, but if the funding is there for this course next year, he will be enrolled as well.  Maestro went to his first lesson last Saturday and had a great time and learned a lot.  It's a very worthwhile program, it runs every other Saturday morning from 8:30-12:00 at the Rod 'n Gun club here in town if you're local and interested. 
Because he's a little brother and, well, that's what little brothers do, Little Red needed to try out the new bow.  Now, there are a couple of things that inhibit him in this process, one that he's left handed and the bow is set up for a rightie, and the other is that he's not yet strong enough to pull the cord back far enough on his own to actually shoot the arrow.  A little help from Dad was needed.  I love his face in this picture, too.  He has just released the arrow and that's the expression that remained.

I also need to explain that the boys are never allowed to use these without either Mom or Dad being present.  They are off limits without supervision.  We're also contemplating getting Maestro a BB gun for Christmas for some target practice.  He was shooting .22's in class, so we think it will be a good intro for home.  I know all of you that know me can't believe I'm letting even a BB gun into my home.  Things changed when we decided to get more self sufficient, my mind set has evolved. 

Wishing you little marksman of your own, ~Peacemom

1 comment:

small farm girl said...

I think what you are doing is very responsible. Sometimes people don't teach their children about weapons and hunting. But the way you are doing it is just wonderful. I think you are teaching them a very important skill for being self reliant.