Here’s the thing: The twelve-year-old Chattering I blogged about yesterday is much more interested in soldiers than he is in girls. He’s a big reader of history, or he was before he began to think that history wasn’t “cool.” And he collects toy soldiers like crazy. It started with tiny handpainted Normans and Saxons. Now we’re on to plastic figures of World War II infantrymen. Needless to say, I’ve been uneasy about this, and my discomfort has increased as worldwide strife intensifies.
So here we are up in the ultra-liberal Massachusetts Berkshire hills, and Chattering son and his closest friend from day camp (a very good guy) were setting up their toy soldiers on the sandy banks of the tranquil lake last week. Lots of discussion between them about “fronts,” “attacks,” “bombings,” etc. I was afraid that one of the other mothers relaxing on her blanket nearby would club me over the head for allowing play that was so militaristic. I mean, I should be killed, right? Of all weeks… I did say to the boys later in the car that the world’s in a tragic spot right now. And I wondered outloud if human beings will ever cultivate a permanent peace. Always, when conflicts arise at home, I tell my kids that peace begins within. If we can’t find peace within ourselves, the world will never know peace. That’s pure Thich Nhat Hanh. One of Beliefnet’s most moving interactive meditations presents this idea beautifully–try it!).
What’s your stand? Should little boys and girls play soldier games?
Here‘s a link to the U.S. Army’s combative online video game. I haven’t analyzed it. I don’t want to look, frankly.