captivating violence

My  daughter attends a terrific, not even-imaginary-guns-allowed, charter elementary school.

by chance, a day when lots of teachers were on cut back leave, and there was an adventure boy accident, I ended up volunteering to take over a days art classes for k-3.

to start out the class, we sat in a circle and I asked each child his or her name, to name one favorite thing.

what is your favorite thing?


the word violence actually came after:  “My favorite thing is…” at first, the word violence wasn’t the way boys described their favorites: my wii, shooting things on the computer, blowing things up.  hands pulling triggers, at squint-eyed aimed at targets. violent arm waving booming explosions. the word violence wasn’t the only way violence was expressed. Other words, guns, wrestling, sports, playing cowboys, and indians, violent video games, video games, movies, violent movies. some boys liked movies. some boys specified violent movies.

when one boy took the lead to up the unsuccessfully concealed horror on face of that substitute teacher, the next boys spiraled into the glee of taking it to the next level. that’s how I got eight year old boys stating complete sentences like: “my favorite thing is violence with guns.”

It was an ice braking activity.

the way I was challenged by the boys to listen to the limit of their boyish imaginations was a kind of violence, a risky exciting game.

the famous substitute treatment.


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