Friday, January 14, 2011

A Boy and His Bow

Intense concentration!

Jackson asked for a bow and arrow for Christmas.  He had been using an old one of Aaron's, but he really wanted one of his own.  Actually, he wanted a cross bow, but I don't think he is quite ready for that.

Checking out the target.

              He has been shooting bows and arrows for the last couple of years.  We always have some stray arrows around the yard and a target or two.  Jackson has very good aim with the bow and with his BB gun.   The guys have even set up a shooting range out behind the barn.

This target has been shot so many times the plastic is almost off and the styrofoam is falling out!

Love his expression here!

I do believe he hit the target!

We still have several inches of snow on the ground here.  The other day Jackson and Aaron built snowmen on the back deck.....and shot them with arrows.   He also decapitated Kaelan's snow man with a sword.  He warned us before the snow came that he was going to build a snow man and cut his head off.  Do you think I need to worry?  All of this is just practice at the art of defense.  Oh, and last night I had to physically remove the bow from his hand.  He had it with him in his bed.  He was going to be ready to protect us during the night!

When my oldest son was little I didn't allow him to have play weapons.    By the time we started studying American history with him and needed to reenact battle scenes from the Revolutionary War, I changed my tune.  Muskets, cannons and pistols filled our arsenal then.  With the middle ages came swords and shields.  It seems they make weapons from anything they can anyway!!  Legos, crackers, sandwiches and sticks all become weapons of some sort.  Now we buy them weapons and teach them to use them correctly.

Yesterday we were reading aloud from Ballantyne's The Gorilla Hunters and came to this passage which was very thought provoking to me.  Ralph Rover and his companions are in Africa in the mid-1800s hunting gorillas and tromping through the country.  Just before this passage they were caught in a dangerous situation as they were confronted with an angry bull which they managed to kill and then were almost attacked by a leopard which Ralph, despite his fear and bumbling killed as well.

As we walked along I could not help meditating on the uncertainty of this life, and the terrible suddenness with which we might at any unexpected moment be cut off.  These thoughts led me naturally to reflect how important a matter it is that every one, no matter how young, should be in a state of preparedness to quit this world.

I also reflected, and not without a feeling of shame, on my want of nerve, and was deeply impressed with the importance of boys being inured from childhood by trifling risks and light dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system.  I do not, of course, mean to say that boys ought deliberately to tumble into ponds of climb trees until they fall off;  but they ought not to avoid the risk of such mishaps.  They ought to encounter such risks and many others perpetually.  They ought to practise leaping off heights into deep water.  They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream on a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking.  They ought never to decline to climb up a tree to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks.  I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risk, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with the risks and dangers incident to man's career with cook, cautious self-possession--a self-possession founded on experimental knowledge of the character and powers of their own spirits and muscles.  I also concluded that this reasoning applies to some extent to girls as well as boys...those who have been advised from the earliest childhood to "take care of themselves and carefully avoid all risks," will probably fall victims to their nervous alarms and the kind but injudicious training of parents or guardians...... I beg then, that it will be  understood that I do not by any means inculcate hare-brined recklessness, or a course of training that will foster that state of mind.  On the contrary, the course of training which I should like to see universally practised would naturally tend to counteract recklessness, for it would enable a boy to judge correctly as to what he could and could not do.

A very interesting aside in the adventure story, but it does make me consider even more the times that I discourage my guys from having their own adventures....My admonitions to take care.  Don't get in the creek.  Don't climb up that high.  There is such a balance that needs to be used in teaching and training our boys.  One day they will be men who may be called upon to do hard things.  Things that they need to be preparing for now.  

1 comment:

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

AS the mom of four sons, I know what you mean. I do think it's a matter of balance. They do need to challenge themselves and develop skills that help them discern.

(One of our favorite books is The Dangerous Book for Boys...)

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