If you had told me, back in 2005 when my Buddah baby Woody was born, that I would be accurately described as a church-going gun lover by the time he was six, I would have laughed in your face.
Just one of those ways the Universe messes with you and your ideas about how people and plans work.
I'll tell more about the churching some other time, but today, the subject is gun-loving. Neither Daddy Honey nor I grew up in a gun culture. He was a city-dwelling child of two high school teachers. I was a suburban child of a computer technician and an in-home daycare provider. We both shot BB guns a couple of times for the novelty of it, him more that me, but we did not live with guns or with people who were great fans of guns.
Yet, Woody is positively enthralled with them. And in his extended family there are currently three uncles who are expert hunters. Woody and Daddy Honey regularly geek out on historic weaponry, but it was an unexpected treat when Uncle Jason brought out the BB gun and Woody got a chance to learn how to use it.
Jason started by telling Woody about guns not being toys, about guns not being pointed at another person--ever, about standing well behind someone who is shooting, and about getting into the habit of putting the safety back on after each firing.
Then, he showed him how to line up a shot and hold the gun properly.
And within a half an hour or so, Woody had several shots right on target.
At one point, when the other kids had lost interest and he was out there with just Jason and I was watching from a distance, he turned to his uncle, smiling, and said, "I really like this." He's not often so up-front about those kinds of feelings, and it was all sincerity.
Gun use is an odd one for me, still, though no longer uncomfortable or conflicted as it once was. The only time an adult has ever put a hand on Woody in a physically violent way was when he was four and a teacher grabbed him by the shirt collar and hauled him up the playground for pointing his finger at her as if it were a gun. That was in the name of preventing future real violence with guns, and a dozen teachers and parents backed this rationale. And then, there are his three uncles, who actually use guns safely and responsibly to put food on the table and are all truly wonderful human beings. They defy with their character and actions the stereotypes about gun users. Two of them are among the most loving fathers I know, and the third, with his first child on the way, is a kind and supportive husband and doubtless will be a great dad.
For me, this has been one of the stops on the life train where you have the opportunity to get off and take a good look at what's in the cultural and psychological baggage you've been carrying around, deciding what's worth keeping and what's better left at the station. I am happily sorting today, rather amused at what used to fit but what just doesn't anymore.
My son Woody turned six in November of 2011. That would have been the kindergarten year for most kids, 180 days that mark the beginning of the school career. But Woody did his learning in the big, wide, beautiful world, without school being a part of it.
I'm Teresa Honey, and I kept this blog to document this time in my son's life, to share pictures and stories with far-away friends and relatives, and to add ours to the many stories of families living rich, engaging, loving lives with learning happening all the time and in many forms, totally inseparable from every other part of being human.
Here you'll find 180 or so learning moments recorded from August, 2011 to April, 2012 in the life of a 5-turned-6-year-old radically unschooled kid.