I have had a hard time writing since the incident in Newtown. I was supposed to post about the Gingerbread house competition. That was supposed to happen right after that event. The last thing I was going to do was post about that and bother people to vote when, obviously, my heart and others were in another world.
Having a play date over today reminded me of that event. You see, after it happened there was a conversation on the playground about play dates and homes with guns. It had dawned on both of us that never once have we asked a playdate house:
“Are there guns in your house”
The incident in Newtown was tragic. Terrible. But. The odds of my children encountering a weapon at someone’s house outweigh that incident happening at their schools.
And yet, I have never asked.
My child had been to this woman’s house and hers to mine. We exchanged polite and yet clear:
“We do not have guns in our house”
And now we know.
But that is just one family. What about the others. I have 2 kids who often frequent other people’s houses. I know most of the families in the typical way that you might know a school aged child’s parents. You see them at school drop off or pick up. You exchange typical conversations about weather, school projects, sports, local events.
Never in my 10 years of having children have owning guns come up.
I am not a gun owner and I’m not saying that if a house did have a gun I would not let my children play there, but it opens the conversation to “How are the guns locked up?”
Do I request to see how they are locked up?
And what if they say they aren’t?
I have the right to not have my child at anyone’s house that I feel might be unsafe. Just like they can choose to not have their child at my house because I don’t have an armed weapon for safety.
These are choices. We all have them.
I have decided that if we have over play dates, even if they don’t ask, I will inform the parents that we do not have guns in our home.
These conversations needs to start.
These conversations need to start at home.
Please join me.