Friday, November 11, 2011

Military Life is NOT a Video Game

It's the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us the 
Freedom of the Press. 
It's the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us the 
Freedom of Speech. 
It's the Soldier, not the politicians who ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. 
It's the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

It seemed disrespectful for me to post this on Veteran's Day because I'm about to violate one of the rules of parenting. I'm going to get on my high horse and judge.

Last week, Phil went into Tyler's class to talk about being in the military. He went in uniform, which because of what he does, is more Marine Corps than Navy. The kids had lots of questions, the first of which was "have you ever killed anyone?*"

I understand. My dad used to get the same question from my classmates when he'd come for Career Day to talk about being in the Secret Service. There's a fascination with military, police etc.; especially for boys. But the questions that came after were the ones that really disappointed me. They wanted to know how he made it through war (he was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom), what types of weapons and rounds he uses, if he'd ever set off a grenade and if he uses Nova Gas.

Tyler's teacher was sitting next to me and whispered, "where are they coming up with this stuff?!" Just as I replied, "video games," two of the kids said something about Call of Duty 3 and Halo. Parents, your fourth graders should not be playing that game (or any first person shooter). They should not have the idea that being in the military is akin to running blindly through the streets, lobbing bombs and using a gas that doesn't exist.

The teacher and I had to steer the conversation so that Phil could give them real information about the role of the military and what the experience has been like for him. I piped up and told Phil to address real life versus video games and couldn't help but add that Call of Duty isn't for kids.

I'm glad Phil went in to talk to the class. Hopefully, some of those kids will remember what Phil talked about, especially how being in the military has helped him with his civilian job and that he joined as a way to honor his grandfather, who was in the 101st Airborne. 

Video games are not a teaching tool. Video games rated M (meaning 'mature') are not appropriate for 9 and 10 year olds. Period. You letting your young child play games like that means they see my husband in uniform and equate him with a killing machine.

They don't see the training, education and schooling. They don't see that Phil is in charge of planning yearly budgets for his entire unit. They don't see the respect he and his fellow navy members give one another. They have no idea that being in the military is a JOB. And that? Is just plain sad.

*When Phil responded that no, he hasn't killed anyone, the boy asked, "why not?"

1 comment :

  1. I've never understood those folks that allow their kids to play games that are clearly not designed for kids. People don't seem to understand that those games don't make a suitable substitute for actual parenting.

    Great Post! And thanks to your husband for his service.

    ReplyDelete

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