Yesterday Caleb, Eli, and I hunched down behind Caleb’s bed and shot at bad guys storming our position from the yard down below. Caleb and Eli used wooden pistols, and I used a toy telescope doubling as a bolt-action sniper rifle. We had no injuries other than one gunshot to my shoulder, which the boys patched up. They are still of an age where neither they nor their army men ever get shot. We old guys are more vulnerable.

Last night, an hour or so after I put them to bed, I came upstairs to see Caleb standing in the dark at his bedroom window with his cowboy boots on, quietly shooting bad guys. “I heard something,” he explained.

The night before last, I found him in his closet at 11 p.m., gearing up with his plastic sword and shield. “I heard a noise,” he informed me.

Caleb has an imagination that lends itself to fearfulness at times; he hears noises and sees shadows around every corner. But I love his instinct. Would that I had such a response to every fear of my own. Instead I often just leave the armor in the closet, in my Bible, forgotten in verses I learned long ago. We can learn a lot from our children, if only we listen.


  1. Jeff Brokaw

    Very good point. In your (and my) defense, it’s much harder to fight the very real internal demons of adulthood than the imaginary external ones of childhood. Maybe we too should take up fighting imaginary demons with plastic swords!

    Gotta love those little boys though, killin’ bad guys left and right. My Jacob kills at least 8-10 per day, and Jordan is good for another 3-4. Big piles of toys sit mostly unused while they raid our kitchen for spatulas and plastic bowls (helmets, of course) and tie on blankets as capes. There is no creature more alive in this world than a preschool boy who lives in a fantasy filled world of heroes and bad guys! They just radiate energy.

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