By Renee Smith/j&R Tutoring Academy

I have two sons and two grandsons. There is a difference of eight years between my sons and three years between my grandsons.

When my boys were youngsters, green plastic army men were one of their favorite “toys.” I think we must have had hundreds of these. For years whenever I’d plant a bush or flowers, I would find pieces of green army men in the dirt. This happened long after both boys had left for college and beyond.

They used to have wars with these green men and quite often firecrackers were involved. When I would find these pieces long after the boys had left home, I smiled at the memory. I often wonder if the family in our former home still unearths pieces of green army men.

Last week I was playing with my two grandsons. The older one is a big Star Wars fan, and we spent a great deal of time “in battle.” He, of course, was always Luke Skywalker. I played a variety of characters including Darth Vader. However, the greater variety was what we used for weapons.

There were Nerf guns, plastic rods meant to form an indoor tent, a toy guitar, a toy power tool as well as some other items. My grandson did not care what either of us was using as long as we were playing!

Both of my sons are college graduates and professional young men. They are not violent, nor inclined to shoot people. One is a hunter. Their war games as children did not concern either my husband or me, nor did it adversely affect their development.

However, I worry about the atmosphere my grandsons may find when they go to school.

Are they going to be the next headline for being suspended because they “shot” someone with a finger on the playground?

The world has gone mad!! Common sense seems to be a thing of the past.

Little boys like to play “at war.” It seems to be in their DNA. No one told my grandson to pretend that plastic tent supports could be used as guns. He did that himself. His two year old brother then copied the behavior and both of them had lots of fun!!

Ten minutes later they were building with Lincoln logs!

The “no tolerance” policy that many schools have adopted contradicts the very nature of most boys. Although “no tolerance” sounds like a good idea because it is fair, I’d like to suggest that the policy actually prevents a learning opportunity.

There is a huge difference between play and violence. Isn’t it better to teach that at a young age? How confusing for a little boy to be punished for playing!!