Found on the computer desk, near where Gabriel (9) does his Math every day:
If I were a politically correct kind of Mom, this might concern me. You know what I mean, of course: the tanks firing, the screaming X-eyed soldier, the use of "an" before a word beginning with a "q"...
But, except for the grammatical error, it doesn't concern me a bit. I laughed when I saw the little boy mayhem here!
Sure, it occurred to me (as I ran to get my camera to take a picture of the war ravaged math page)
But, well, now... I mean, really? As if my little boy were going to plot a takeover! I wouldn't be surprised if he were planning a raid of his sisters' Skittles stash, and he's most definitely working out a plan for the defeat of all Bad Guys, past, present, and future... But that's about it. Nothing to worry about. Not from our nine-year-old, anyway -- or, for that matter, from 99.9% of all the other little boys on the planet. Even the ones that draw tanks obliterating stick figures -- and the ones that get suspended for pretending their fingers are guns.
Certainly there are a lot of other things -- other people -- to worry about, though. It's been a hard few years, and our generation has good reason to fear and obsess about violence and terrorism. It's a scary world out there! But normal, wholesome, little boyness never caused such tragedy. The demons at work in the shootings and bombings of recent years -- have been drugs (legal and illegal), religious extremism, and mental illness. And, certainly more often than not, they've been instigated by true demons. No sense pretending the devil isn't a part of it all!
But, an unrecognized part of the destruction caused by the senseless violence in our world -- and a heartbreaking part! -- is the demonization of the natural God-given instincts of little boys to act like little boys.
Sticks and stones and puppy dog bones. Tanks and guns and daring do.
This is what little boys are about. It's how God made them. They get dirty; they climb rocks; they do messy math problems (which they get mostly right!); they draw tanks; and they hate school -- because it takes time away from drawing more tanks -- or building them in the backyard out of sticks and scraps and little boy imagination.
Little boys know nothing about political correctness. They strive instinctively for manliness. Adventure! Action! Glory! They cut through the crap and get straight to the heart of life. They know instinctively what most of us forget: that the very best thing you can do is fight for good and vanquish evil.
Look out for the "vanquishing"! That's the noisy, messy, violent part, hard to miss in most little boys. But watch for the the "good" bit, too, because that's a key factor in the equation that makes wild little boys turn into good men.
Case in point, the same little guy that drew those tanks up at the top of this post also made a shrine in his room for all his "sanctas" and strangle-hugged me around the neck when I told him he could keep the little Stations of the Cross pamphlet he'd asked to borrow. Our little Gabe's mind whirls constantly with ideas and plans for special gifts and surprises he can make for people. He's crazy and wild, yes; but he's also kind, tender, and a little shy. A simple honest little soul like most little boys, his heart for goodness is as fertile as his mind for war games.
Put those two instincts together and with a little of the heavenly magic of grace, you've got a Bl. Miguel Pro, or a St. Sebastian... Or the priest at our parish church doing daily battle for souls... Or a husband and father raising saints in a world that hates saints...
That battling-for-good thing is why God made little boys the way He did. This world is full of evil that needs fighting. God bless all the little boys who grow up to do that for us!