If I am honest with myself, I'll admit that I don't want to raise a man. I don't want him to get taller than me. I don't want him to get stronger than me. I know there will be a day--because his Heavenly Father created him to lead--that he'll pull away from me and assert his independence. And I don't want it, I don't want it, I DON'T WANT IT!
But it'll happen anyway. And even though I don't want it, part of my job is to help him get there.
So, when his grandparents brought him a real sling shot (!) from their trip to Colorado, I knew I had a decision to make. I could hide it in the pantry and give him some crayons instead, or I could help him learn how to use the potentially deadly weapon thing.
We came up with a set of rules:
1. no shooting toward the house, toward a car, or toward any living thing.
2. only use when a grown-up is with you.
3. only use acorns unless dad is around to supervise using rocks.
With that out of the way, I decided to channel my nervous energy into a craft project.
I grabbed a pizza box and a marker, googled "8-point buck" (because the only deer I could picture was a cute little fawn), and sketched out a target.
I cut out the shape, cut slits in the bottom, and added cross pieces to make it stand.
I gave him one of my green bags as an ammo pouch, and when it was full of acorns, he was ready to hunt.
The mighty hunter with his trophy.
He had fun.
No one got hurt.
In fact, I shot the target a couple of times, and it was really fun.
I know this is just one small step in his journey toward manhood, but I feel like it was a giant leap for his momma.
And as much as I don't want him to grow up into a full grown man, I do feel honored, privileged, even awestruck that I get to watch him do it.