Getting older isn’t so bad. Sure, your knees may ache more in bad weather, but there’s always one compensation: grandchildren. After all, they’re all of the fun and none of the fuss of raising kids. But one thing you may not have considered is that you might actually be the perfect person to teach some important life lessons to your grandkids, including the basics of gun safety and handling. Here are the top four reasons why:
1. You know your grandkids’ parents, and how to talk to them, better than anyone. You raised your grown children, and you know things about them that they may not even know themselves. So when you’re discussing with them their plans for introducing gun safety to their own children, you are in a unique position to understand any questions or concerns they may have. You have earned their trust as someone they can listen to when they’re thinking about raising their own kids—a subject that may be too touchy for anyone but you to broach.
2. You probably have more free time to spend. Your grown kids have a lot on their plates. Chances are, both Mom and Dad work full-time. Add in chores, helping out with homework and getting dinner on the table, most parents are burning their candles at both ends. Assuming that you’re retired, you’re in a perfect position to give your kids a little breathing room by taking the grandkids for an evening or a couple of days. You’ve got time to find a great, safe outdoor shooting range, to put together some fun reactive targets, to load magazines and ensure that all the safety gear is ready to go when the grandkids show up.
3. You have more experience with guns…and it shows. It’s not just that you’ve been around longer than your kids—although you have—it’s also that the culture when you were growing up was very different than it was when your kids were young. In your day, your school’s rifle team rode the bus to school with their rifles cased, and nobody thought a thing about it. People treated firearms with the same healthy respect they would any tool that could be dangerous if misused. In short, you grew up without any cultural stigmas relating to gun ownership. The key here is that your attitude of calm, healthy respect will come through when you talk to your grandkids about guns. Kids are smart; they pick up on nonverbal communication as well as they do verbal communication.
4. Grandparent time is “fun time” for kids. Your grandkids probably see their time with you in much the same way you see it: It’s fun time! They’re likely to view any activities that you plan with them as enjoyable; a treat. Learning things from you isn’t like having to memorize the multiplication table at school. This means you’re much more likely to have all of their attention. What’s more, it’s normal and healthy for kids to have a very different relationship with their grandparents than they do with their parents. Their parents are, by necessity, the disciplinarians. The kids, by necessity, test their parents’ rules. You, on the other hand, are more of an “outside observer”…which, paradoxically, makes them more likely to behave well and to accept your advice at face value. Need some help? The NRA makes it easy. Guidance for coaching your grandkids is as easy as accessing our Home Air Gun Program, which is online and provides guidance for teaching firearm safety, setting up an air gun range, and developing marksmanship skills—all in the comfort of your home.
And a bonus #5: This May, NRA Publications, along with sponsors EAA Corp., Winchester Ammunition, Taurus and Walker’s Game Ear, is encouraging experienced NRA members to take new shooters to the range. We're offering a freeGuide for New Shooters, which can be found right here: www.nrapublications.org/mentor. While you're at the website, mentors and other participants can enter the NRA Mentor Sweepstakes for the chance to win valuable prizes. Enter today!
NO PURCHASE OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR DONATION WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. The NRA Mentor Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., age 21 years or older at time of entry. Sweepstakes begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time ("ET") on 4/15/16 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 7/1/16. To enter and view complete Official Rules, which govern this Sweepstakes, visit www.nrapublications.org/mentor. Void where prohibited by law. Sponsored by the National Rifle Association of America.