What Would Steiner Say?

A couple of days ago, I witnessed, for the first time, Lucas painting a human figure! We were using watercolors and paint brushes and I was sitting beside him, watching him paint. He made a rudimentary human figure in bold, thick black strokes. It was very exciting!

To my dismay and chagrin, he then painted both an enormous gun in the arms of the person and an even bigger “canyon,” which is how he says “cannon,” shooting red fire.

Sometimes I really hate other people’s kids. (This is because it’s easier to blame other people’s kids for being a bad influence on my kid, than to come to terms with this violent streak in my own son.) He’s learned all this stuff at a friggin Waldorf school from other children!

I just keep telling myself that he really doesn’t understand any of this stuff—he has no knowledge of the finality of death, and that violence is something that is actually suffered; to him, it is just play. I guess I can be very, very thankful of that.

3 Responses to “What Would Steiner Say?”

  • pirategrrl
    March 16, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    I sometimes wonder if this fascination with weapons and shooting is sort of inherent in boys. My brother had it too, and my parents never allowed him to play with toy guns either. I think they did let him watch super-hero cartoons that might have included characters who shot guns, so that might have been where he got the idea. My theory is that, as you mentioned, they don’t understand the pain, suffering or violence associated with weapons, but they have an understanding of the power and authority they offer. Sort of an “I have this thing that will make you do what I say, or else I will shoot you with it and you will fall down.”
    Not that I have much experience to back this theory up, not being a parent myself.


  • dakini_grl
    March 16, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    I watched my little brother play with toy guns when he was small. They were allowed, but his interest in them was also downplayed; they were just one of many things, many toys. We never assumed he would not know the difference, and he never displayed that he was unclear about the game of war vs. murder. One was play at being a hero or champion, the other was something you didn’t do.

    My own (pop psych, perhaps bogus) theory is that it is in fact natural. I learned in my anthropolgy classes that at Lucas’ age, aboriginal men start giving their boys weapons. The boys play with them and they start learning to hunt, it goes back and forth. In some cultures, the little boys begin to go on actual hunts with the men and carry their own machetes. These tiny boys. So. I’m going with cellular memory.

    Anyway. I imagine it’s all in how you react, and as I’ve witnessed on many an occasion, you choose your reactions so well.


  • mrplanet4
    March 19, 2006 at 4:54 am

    I have a very vivid memory of playing Star Wars on the kindergarten jungle gym. Han Solo had his gun, Luke his light saber.

    I also was allowed just about all the toy guns I could handle. And they were extremely realistic. A pair of Italian revolver cap guns with serious heft to them and spinning cylindars and a fully functional hammer that would snap down with a trigger pull or a quick “fanning” for fast shooting. I had a replica gun with actual shells that ejected when I fired them off. Each bullet had to be loaded with a cap to make the blow-back when I shot it.

    So. I also have never fostered much illusion as to what a gun is capable of doing. And the sheer weight of the damage a bullet can wreak on a human being gives me the willies whenever I’m around a real firearm.

    As Lisa said, the line between make-believe “hero” play and killing was clear to me as a boy. Perhaps it is inherent. Not guns, they’re just a tool, but “weapon play.”

    I’ve got an idea. I have fencing gear (maybe you guys do as well) and I can rustle up more. Perhaps I can give him a fencing lesson with the full suit-up. We put on the ritual clothing and equipment (jacket, mask, glove), we make sure the procedures are followed (stance, hand position, salute, stop and go commands). And then we fence.

    It may channel that instinct into a highly codified system. Lemme know, I’d be happy to give it a try.


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    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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