Five Reasons Why America's Youth Needs Marksmanship
Posted Apr 23rd 2012 | By:
It might seem completely obvious to some people that teaching kids to shoot is a good idea. I thought it'd be fun to explore some of the less obvious benefits. Maybe there are some things here that never occurred to you, but rest assured, it's all common sense. No long-winded research examples or even references to such research. Just run-of-the mill straight logic. Why? Because research is boring and if you're trying to win an argument, nothing beats common sense as a weapon. Think of the following ideas as fresh ammunition for the inevitable debates about gun laws and America's shooting culture. Unfortunately, the shooting culture in America seems to be taking some hits. Between the zero tolerance policies in schools and the consistent battle for 2nd amendment rights, it seems less and less likely that kids in America will learn marksmanship. However, what is happening more with America's youth is the decrease in essential things that will help them become useful members of society and not just some dinks living in their parents basement playing video games. As most parents (hopefully) already know one of the most important things to learn early on is...
There really isn't anything on Earth that can instantly demand respect more than things that can kill you. The stigma about firearms that conjures up instant wariness is also easily transformed into a sense of respect. While it may be easy to be respectful of potential danger, the game changes completely when one is tasked with control of such power. Now this potentially dangerous thing has to be dealt with carefully or someone could get hurt. That's a lot to bear down on a child, but it teaches a very important lesson very quickly. "That awesome power is yours alone to control and it's on you to make sure its handled correctly." It's a lesson so visceral that few words even have to be expressed beyond the basics of firearm safety. Even the first rule of gun safety: "assume its always loaded" conveys a grim reality that's not to be messed with. The best thing that comes from being responsible and safe with a firearm is...
Sense of Accomplishment
Just the understanding and control of firearms safely is an accomplishment. It becomes part of a defining characteristic. Being able to shoot well is even better. Knowing that all it will take to improve is more practice? Well, that's the icing on the cake. In the era of "Everyone's a winner" in kids sports today, the sense of accomplishment is being replaced with a sense of dependency. They're learning: "If I'm not as good as my opponent, the rules will change so I can win." In the same breath, they're being told that winning isn't everything, but apparently it is because they're all winning together. So if everyone wins by default, why play at all? Rather than having them play rigged games because they might lose (god forbid), why not set them up for success with a sport that is defined by its level playing field. It's impossible to cheat in the shooting sports and it can't be rigged. The closest to the center of the target wins. Period. The best part is that to be a good marksman requires one thing. Practice. Size, shape, and race have no impact. Even reflexes and coordination don't factor much in the most basic competitions. A child could have any number of physical disabilities and still be a match for the finest all-state football champ. With marksmanship sports, it's all possible. To a child, there is nothing, dare I say again, nothing better than besting someone bigger and stronger on a level field of play. Those kinds of victories can lead to a dramatic increase in...
Marksmanship opens up a world of opportunities to become popular. Kids are obsessed with popularity and eventually they'll figure out that being popular is a very small part of life. Until then, there's really no harm in empowering the quest if the confidence is earned in a healthy way. Kids are constantly reminded that they're not in control. They shouldn't be, they're kids, but that doesn't matter to them. Not being in control sucks for people of all ages. It's just that as adults, we get to call the shots at least some of the time. Marksmanship offers a way to be in control that rises above most any other activity. It can be dangerous and requires responsibility. The other kids that don't shoot may not understand the responsibility, but they sure as hell know it's dangerous and danger's cool. Danger plus parental approval is freaking awesome. Go ahead and think about the various activities parents push on their kids to improve confidence. Now think of how many of those activities actually get their kids picked on. Granted, there are real practical reasons one child is taking piano lessons instead of playing football. Not to mention the fact that the child may actually like playing the piano and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with adding some variety though. Kids with complex and varied interests will assuredly be more well rounded, useful members of society and besides...
Self Defense Leads To Self Reliance
I'm a firm believer in self defense of any kind. Martial arts are also great for confidence and discipline. The only problem is, a sweet roundhouse is unlikely to take down an animal if needed. Personally, I'm not a hunter. I try and keep the red meat to a minimum for health reasons and I'm also not a big fan of hunting for sport. That's just me. If I don't have to kill something, I won't. The point is, I could if I had to and that brings me a sense of security. I like knowing that I can take care of myself no matter what situation I'm in. That self reliance spreads beyond the ability to shoot thumper for food though. It's part of a larger sense of just being ready for anything and knowing I'll come out fine on the other side. It's good for kids to start thinking about theses things as early as possible. God willing, they won't have parents around to protect them forever. That's not how it works. They are supposed to be able to strike out on their own and take care of themselves. The sooner they start feeling comfortable with that, the better. If they begin thinking more about self reliance that means they're facing reality, and that can lead to...
Take a break and Google the word "guns." It's fine, I'll wait......back already? It should have hit more than 70 million times. The word "firearm" hit over 6 million and "gun law" clocks in at a staggering 14.9 million. Obviously hot topics. What the raw numbers don't show is how many other branching subjects surround them. Politics immediately comes to mind but it goes way beyond that if you start digging around. The topics surrounding firearms and shooting have had 760 years of history to build up a ridiculous amount of information, opinion and propaganda. Yes, even the last one is important. It's necessary to see all sides of an issue...even if it's the dark underbelly and it's physically painful to read. Being involved in the shooting sports ensures questions and discussion on politics, war, nature, freedom, and everything in between. America's history is so entwined with firearms that their use has become part of the culture. Rest assured there will be endless debate about the role firearms should have in our society. After all, we are Americans and we like to argue. It's not just the "great gun debate" though. There are many more facets and perspectives that tag along and exploring all of theses perspectives makes us better, more knowledgeable, and therefore more useful people.
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america, youth, kids, children, marksmanship, guns, firearms, responsibility, accomplishment, confidence, self defense, self reliance, deeper thinking