Last weekend the boy had a first.
We took him shooting for the first time.
Yes, he's four. Yes, we took our four year old shooting.
The fact is my husband and I both enjoy shooting whether it's going to the gun range with friends or out to the farm for target practice. Joshua also enjoys hunting every year but I want to be clear, anything he hunts, we eat and if we don't eat it, we donate it to organizations like Hunters Against Hunger which work to bring hunters and meat processing companies together to distribute food to various charities in our area.
We have multiple guns in our home (properly stored) and one of the things we want to teach our children is proper gun-ownership. We believe that a major part of proper gun-ownership is knowing not only how to use them but also seeing first hand how dangerous they can be. How is a child supposed to understand the difference between a "real gun" and a "toy gun" when you tell them "only play with toy guns, never a real gun" if they've never seen what a real gun looks like and what it does?
If you disagree, that's cool, you don't have to take your children shooting but please respect our choices as we respect yours.
Anyway, the boy had a GREAT time and if I might have a proud Mommy moment, he was pretty good! He listened patiently as Joshua explained "safety procedures" like always assume the gun is loaded, never walk in front of a gun and be sure to put the safety on when you're not shooting. They're rules we'll repeat a thousand times over the years but this was a great start.
He started with Joshua's old BB gun.
And because he listened so well, we went ahead and moved on to Joshua's SKS rifle. Since it was sort of a last minute decision to go, we hadn't bought the boy his own ear muffs yet, so he used my pink ones.
First, he watched Joshua shoot so he could get used to the noise.
Then, he laid next to Joshua as Joshua shot and lastly, Joshua held the rifle as Benjamin pulled the trigger (my camera battery died before I could get those pics).
He only shot off a few rounds before we needed to go because the sun was going down but I'm proud that he did so well and I'm looking forward to our next trip.