The words of my three-year old still bring a smile to my face. I shot him good—with a toy cap gun—of course.
Recently, on a family vacation, I bought four toy cap guns. The kind that make a loud shooting sound when the hammer strikes a firing cap. They’re the “real” toy guns I remember playing with as a child.
I’ll be honest; I bought the guns mostly for my pleasure. I wanted to experience the nostalgia of being a child again. It worked. I ran around pretending to shoot all three of my children. Each of us died glorious imaginary bullet-ridden deaths.
My children laughed and cried as they battled it out like the Wild West. I’m glad I bought the cheap guns and inexpensive ammo, because we burnt through it like a wildfire through a forest.
At the end of our trip, I gathered my children and talked to them about death—because we all had pretended to experience a lot of it over the two days. I especially wanted to make sure my littlest one is constantly reminded that pretend playtime is different from reality.
Death is very real.
I explained that when we die, the Bible says that we face God’s judgment. This revelation instigated deeper questions from my children. They wanted to know more about God’s judgment, providing me the perfect opportunity to talk to them about the importance of a close relationship with Jesus.
When I asked my three-year old if he wants to go to heaven or hell, his innocent reply was, “Whichever one has guns and shooting.”
Obviously, my work as a father is far from over, but I continue to use the routine moldable moments I have with my children to reinforce scripture. It helps drive home their understanding of the gospel and hopefully will result in a lifelong relationship with their creator.
Whether or not you have an aversion to guns, try and find unique moldable moments in your family routine.