A media contact from another country recently asked me about how and why I teach our children about firearms … and I actually had to clarify that I’m not trying to raise a small army or put a firearm in each one of our children’s hands! I’m not exactly sure what he’d been picturing in his mind about 2A parents when the subject came up, but I can assure you that that’s not the case. My objective is not to have the whole family — including our 4-year-old daughter — armed and ready in case of an attack. We are not paranoid. We’re just prepared.
Of course, while I am definitely going to do my best to teach my three children about being safe with (and around) firearms at all times, and while I am absolutely going to be a good role model of the concealed carry lifestyle, my main goal for our kids is that they grow up as part of a normal, everyday environment in which our family owns, treats and uses firearms in a responsible way. Contrary to some beliefs, I am not endangering my children by having guns in our home. I am not supporting violent behaviors. I am certainly not teaching our kids military concepts or battle strategies. I’m not convincing them to fear or hate people. And I don’t want them cowering at every corner or running from every new person either.
What I am trying to do is teach our children that bad people sometimes do bad things, and it’s important that good people make good decisions. I’m showing them that we must obey gun safety rules at all times. I’m offering them a strong foundation of education so they can make wise choices. This way, wherever they go and whomever they are with, they will have this potentially lifesaving knowledge with them. And even before they are allowed to use guns or own guns, if they find themselves in situations in which firearms are present, hopefully they will know what to do … and what not to do.
As much as my husband and I would love for our children to embrace the 2nd Amendment and to learn to protect themselves with firearms, if they happen to choose not to have firearms in their homes or if they choose not to conceal carry, that will be their decision to make. Once they’re grown and on their own, I can’t force them. I can’t control them. I cannot push them or expect them to do what I want. (I’ve seen those “parenting techniques” fail pretty miserably time and time again!) But I can encourage them. I can teach them. I can be a positive influence on them. And I can hope and pray that they will take these decisions seriously … and that they will acknowledge that their lives are valuable and worth protecting.