What has our society come to? Yesterday at work, a visitor came in with her toddler to visit a patient of mine. The little boy was probably just about two years old. He had his little plastic toy guy in hand, and like lots of toddlers, was shyly snuggling close to mom. In an effort to draw him out of his shyness, the mom said they played a fun game at home. She then encouraged her little boy to "shoot" the various people in the room. When he still shyly snuggled close, she then turned him toward me and encouraged him to "shoot the nurse." I had been trying to ignore the whole situation while taking care of the patient, but once she involved me, I couldn't just stand there. I looked at them and said, "We don't shoot people." You would think that maybe this would make the mom stop and think about what she was suggesting. Unfortunately, it didn't. The just made her encourage it more. "Shoot the nurse! Shoot the nurse!" Pretty soon, I had a little boy beaming in my direction, shooting his little toy guy to his heart's content right at me. The mom laughed as she told the patient that they enjoy this game so much at home. Afterall, they are teaching the boy that all he has to do is give the person a kiss to "wake them up" after he shoots them. What???
I left the room with the whole incident heavy on my heart. What kind of parent teaches their child to shoot at people? Is this common? I get that little boys like guns, but I thought part of gun safety was teaching that we never point guns at people. Wouldn't this make sense to teach from the start? I hope this child is never in a situation where he accidentally comes across an unlocked, loaded gun. Based on what he's learning at home, the results would be horrific.