Last night we celebrated another Independence Day of sorts. In the presence of his family, and friends who also understand the importance of the moment, I gave my son his first rifle. Nothing fancy, just a single shot H&R Handy RIfle in .243. I chose this gun as it seems to be a well built rifle, and we’ll be able to add an adult stock and other barrels to it. It should serve him well for many many years. It’s a nice enough rifle, one that with proper care, he’ll be able to give his son someday.
Some may wonder, isn’t 7 a little young to give a boy his own gun? Perhaps, but he’s been shooting a .22 since he was five, recently started shooting my AR-15, and he managed the recoil just fine. He knows the rules cold, and manages well thought out answers when I run him through different shoot/don’t shoot scenarios. And it will reside in MY safe, until it’s time to go out with it. He won’t be left with it unsupervised, not yet.
He wants to go deer hunting this year, and I’ll take him. I’ll let him carry his rifle through the woods with me, where I’ll be able to test his ability to apply the rules in real life scenarios. He won’t get a bullet for his gun until I’m satisfied that he can hit his mark, and do it safely. With only one bullet, he’ll have to learn patience by waiting for his shot, knowing that he has only one chance to get it right. And it will be easy enough for me to make sure the rifle is in a safe condition until he is ready to take his shot.
But this is about more than just hunting. In a lot of ways, it just marks that my job is really beginning. We’ve worked hard with our kids to instill values that we think are appropriate. And I couldn’t be prouder. But now begins the task of teaching him how to be a man. Not just in the ways of gun handling, but in all manners of “Man-dom”. And when it’s all said and done, hopefully I’ll have raised a man who can stand by himself against all sorts of odds, needing only to lean on his Lord and Creator for support, one who knows how to properly treat a lady, reliant on no one, and able to provide for his self and family. He’ll never be a subject of his Government, unless he chooses. If I can accomplish teaching him all of that, I will have left the world a little better place than how I found it.