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re:OT Should I allow...  Jane Stokes
 Oct 14, 2006 09:31 PDT 
I am really thankful for the depth of this discussion and must confess that I am surprised to find
I have some mixed feelings. We are raising two daughters and they have never shown interest in gun or
violent play. They accepted that we would not allow them to have gun tyoe water guns for water fights
and they have always come inside when the local boys got out cap guns etc.
They understand our commitment to pacifism (their Dad was a draft resister Viet Nam war).
They are aware of their pacifist heritage and that it extends outside of Quakers
(Doukohbor friends for example).

At work, where for years I ran hospital play programs, we had no guns, no violent
toys, were vey careful about video game/movie choices etc,
I never had complaints from parents about that.

So on one level I am very clear about my views on this subject...
However there is a young boy in our worship group with
fascination with all things military. It is what he wants to talk about,
what he draws and what he wants to read about.
This interest was increased a year ago after he spent a month in VietNam
with his family visiting members of his Dad's family and visiting a number
of extraordinary war museums in Viet Nam. He has a deep Quaker
pacifist heritage and he is aware of that. He knows of the impact of war on
his immediate family. Apparently he needs to work it all through for himself,
needs to understand and to experience through play so that he can deal
with the information and the feelings. As much as it bothers me I can
understand the need. You see at work I did "play with needles" everday.
Needleplay is a standard child life intervention for helping children to gain mastery and control
over the countless needles, iv's etc they would experience.
At some point in the play many children would use the needles in an agressive way on the dolls.
It was their working through in play. We used it to teach, to clear up misconceptions,
to listen to the children etc.

How much of children's gun/fighting play is coming from their need to play through
the world around them and our own natural agressive tendencies.
Do they need us to observe, listen and talk about it?

I also appreciated the comment about Quakers and "niceness".
We need to find ways to allow Friends to express strong emotions,
opinion and beliefs. Too often they are silenced because it is not "nice".
Fox, Woolman and many others would have had a hard time in the
current Quaker climate!

Jane in BC
	
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