Remembering when our boys were young, sometimes, I wanted to pull my hair out by the not yet graying roots. If I had to say “it”one more time, “please have some respect for yourself and pick up your room”, I think I was going to fall over. If I said it once, I said it one million times, “children that are shown respect and taught respect, grow up to be adults that are respectful”. I reminded each kiddo about 879 times to please pick up your coat, please pick up your football, t-ball, soccer, baseball, sneakers, track, church, school shoes, please pick up your uniform, please pick up your bike and please PUT THEM ALL where they belong and have the decency to show some respect to you and this family by being thoughtful and considerate.
I didn’t really see it working. The very night before son number one moved to college, his room looked like a bomb went off and nothing was burned……….the bomb just threw clothes (clean and dirty), shoes and papers and boxes and suitcases and baseball hats everywhere. How was this kid going to pack everything and be ready for the plane by early morning? Why was he on the phone talking to friends? Why was he drinking a soda in his room?
Fast forward 12 years. Yesterday, son number one took me to a shooting range. He came to pick me up and before we left he wanted to go over some rules of the place we were going. He showed me that he had a couple different ear and eye protections for me to borrow. He went over each gun and how to load it. He showed me the ammunition that we would be using. All of which was stored neatly and precisely in his bag designated for that purpose. He showed me where to sign in, what I was supposed to do and then he paid the bill.
Now, I want to shout to the entire human race, that I had the best time. It was a blast. It was fun and intense and powerful all at the same time. I concentrated only on guns and the targets. I was able to calm down and steady my dizzy body enough to shoot without embarrassing myself. I chose which of the three remarkable guns that I liked best. I visualized “pink for the cure” ribbons on the targets. I visualized mean people and people who have been nasty to me. I visualized horrid diseases that chose me to come visit. I took deep breaths. I aimed and the very first shot was through the heart. I could have stopped there it felt so good. I practiced with a very powerful gun that rattled my teeth when I used it. It reminded me that there are extremely powerful and deadly things in this world………much more than a silly “tough” appointment. I will remember that feeling. My heart skipped a beat, my teeth rattled and my legs felt the shiver after the bullet left the chamber. I can remember the smell of the gun powder. I can see the target move once the piece of hot metal pierced through it. I can feel my eyelashes brush against my glasses as I calmly blinked at the sound the split second after squeezing the trigger. I felt like I was in complete and total control of my actions and reactions. I was there to target practice and heal at the same time. It was the kind of therapy every person should try. The results are instant and remarkably clear. Funny thing, healing does indeed happen with a weapon.
The thing that struck me with the most force was son number one. Respect for his weapons, his environment, the people around him and the etiquette of the process. He had everything lined up in an orderly fashion. The re-adjusting and cleaning up after each change was on going. Each gun and ammunition box was positioned with respect and proper care. He checked and rechecked each before he or I shot. The amazing attention to safety and detail was crystal clear. He was in total control and he chose exactly how this would play out. Here is the other thing, he is remarkably precise with his weapons. I was extremely impressed. He was a very good teacher. He encouraged and was helpful without making me feel inferior. Yes, I have shot many times. Yes, I think every child should learn respect and understand the power and responsibility of shooting or owning a gun. Somehow, it hit me during an hour, on an ordinary Friday afternoon, our son had become a respectful & responsible adult. It almost rattled my teeth. I was extremely impressed that I got to witness it unfold before my very eyes.
Don’t worry the “bad guys” we chose to practice on are dead. They didn’t stand a chance. I noticed son number one, sent a text after we were done. It was a text message to his instructor. Nice touch, showing respect by sharing how it went with us. People are shocked when they find out that I love to shoot. (my least favorite part is of course, cleaning a gun, but alas it must be done.) They are surprised when I say, when the zombies come over that hill, you WILL want me to be on your team. Here’s the thing that surprised me. The little boy who would fuss and fume about picking up his room, organizing anything, was a bit stubborn when it came to accepting the lessons of being respectful……………………in an instant, no hesitation, I would pick him to be on our team. Turns out, he grew up to be one of the “good guys”.