Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why My Four-Year-Old Knows About Guns and Bad Guys

My husband left awhile ago for a deployment.

When he left, the kids and I started a tradition. Before we go up to bed, we sit in the front room. The kids say a prayer and then get a "bedtime kiss" (a chocolate kiss) from "Daddy".

I wasn't jazzed about chocolate before bed, but it helps me out because they are excited about bedtime (hallelujah!) and I think it helps them feel connected to their Daddy even when he is far away.

After we did this for about a week, my 4-year-old daughter wanted to start saying the prayers. Usually they went something like this "Thank you Jesus for being in Daddy's heart and keep him safe around the world and don't let him get pushed. Help him come back soon and buy my a pool."

Innocent enough, right?
(No. We aren't getting a pool)

One day last week though, the prayer instantly got heavier. She started thanking Jesus for Daddy's gun and the protection it gives him from the bad guys. When she said "amen" I prodded her a little, surprised to hear she knew about Daddy's gun.

She told me she was thankful he had it so that he could be safe from bad guys and help people that needed him.

I know. You may be wondering where she learned this. I did, too. Seriously. Why does my sweet baby girl know about guns and bad guys? What kind of parents let their children know this about the world at such a young age?Why does she know this? 

After I tucked her in bed, it dawned on me.

She knows about them for the same reason she knows what it feels like to open presents on Christmas Day without her Daddy there. For the same reason she knows what it feels like to only see him from a spotty connection on facetime.

She knows about guns and bad guys because she knows about how to comfort her younger brother saying "Don't worry little buddy, he'll be back this summer".

She knows about guns and bad guys because she knows her DaddyKnowing her Daddy means knowing about good. It means knowing about brave. It means knowing about service and sacrifice.

And when you know about those things, it isn't long until you learn about their opposites: evil, cowardice,  and selfishness.

She (and military kids everywhere) knows about these things, so that hopefully your children won't have to. So that your children don't settle for chocolate kisses instead of real ones. So that your kids get Christmas with Mom and Dad.  We do this military thing as a family. That means my kids grow up faster than yours, because global events do change what happens in their home on a daily basis. So they pay attention. They become aware of evil and why it must be stopped.

I recently saw on my facebook a post bashing a parent that took their child to see American Sniper. I haven't seen the film, but I'd like to suggest that perhaps this is why. Maybe you, civilian parent, wouldn't let your child watch that movie. But maybe this child already knows about violence and evil. Perhaps this child knows that beyond the violence and evil is the real story: courage, service, sacrifice.

It isn't an honor for me that my child knows about guns and bad guys. But I will never be shocked or upset for the reason she knows about them.

It is an honor to serve this country behind my husband, and alongside the families who have discussions about things like this much earlier then they probably intended.

It is with a humble and prayerful heart I will continue to parent children who will be globally aware not only of the issues, but of the kind of character it takes to protect our country and help the innocent. That they know it. That they recognize it. That they are strong enough to do something about it.