They have no idea of how to actually play, of course, but they think the little figures march around the map visiting each other–a much more appropriate strategy for Mennonite boys anyway.
The post reminded me of a great essay, “Teaching Peace to Children Who Play War.” Written by Shalom! editor (and friend of the search for piety and obedience) Harriet Bicksler for a fetschrift dedicated to Brethren in Christ historian Martin K. Schrag, the essay explores whether or not it is “possible to teach nonviolent peacemaking skills to children who are allowed to play with toys which are based on the assumption that force and violence are acceptable means of overcoming evil.”
Here’s a taste:
When our children are enamored with late twentieth-century superheroes and mechanical robots that transform into battle stations, we parents are responsible to teach them peace as well. We may not choose to . . . “say NO to everything even remotely conducive to war,” but our children still need to hear us say repeatedly that war, lethal force, and violence are incongruent with our understanding of our calling as Christian peacemakers.
To read the rest of Harriet’s piece, check out Terry L. Brensinger and E. Morris Sider, eds., Within the Perfection of Christ: Essays on Peace and the Nature of the Church (Nappanee, Ind.: Evangel Press & Brethren in Christ Historical Society, 1990), p. 179-190.
Readers: If you are parents and pacifists, did/do you allow your children to play with “war” toys? How did/do you handle the issue? Share your thoughts and anecdotes in the Comments section.