What is it about boys and swords?

Pirate sonOur three-year-old swashbuckling son seems to have turned our lovely little house into one of Yorkshire’s most versatile weapons store.

The funny thing is, he’s only got one actual sword – a pathetic foam effort that came with a pirate outfit – and that was confiscated months ago. It remains lost somewhere in my wardrobe.

Undeterred, Boy Wonder has adapted all manner of objects in his pursuit of imaginary baddies and villains.

For example, some of his makeshift swords of late have included:


  • Drumsticks
  • Pencils
  • Lego towers
  • The mast on his pirate ship
  • Straws
  • Breadsticks, leeks and celery

Interestingly, he isn’t into guns: our son prefers the cut and thrust of hand-to-hand combat. This probably has something to do with his love of Robin Hood, pirates and knights. I’m expecting him to move on to jousting soon, so our mop is currently under lock and key

Some of the time, it’s like living with Cato, the martial arts expert who used to ambush Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films. I’ll be wandering into a room, minding my own business, and Boy Wonder (sorry, Thunder) will leap out at me with a cry of ‘On guard! Who goes there, friend or foe?’

Where’s he learnt such knight jive? Yep, good old me. From the moment he could toddle, I used to engage him in finger sword fights. But now he’s graduated to larger, more injurious weapons and occasionally threatens to absent-mindedly decapitate his little sister, I’ve predictably decreed that such loutish behaviour is officially illegal.

It’s the typical case of parenting hypocrisy: ‘Do as I say, not as I did’. The problem with being a parent, let alone a near 40-year-old one, is that you’ve long forgotten what it’s like to be a kid.

I used to watch Bruce Lee films and then karate kick my younger brother into submission. I waged running battles with other kids in the neighbourhood. And most of all, I was Stockton’s answer to Han Solo with the best sword in the galaxy: the one and only light sabre.

So now I’ve reminded myself, I think it’s time I dusted off my finger sword, or better still grabbed a breadstick, and showed Boy Wonder how it’s done.

On guard!

2 thoughts on “What is it about boys and swords?

  1. When my boys were younger they were both Star Wars nuts and had toy light sabres. I remember the great sabre battles we had (two against one of course) and my raw knuckles afterwards. My view (and I gave the same view on a blog post about toy guns earlier this week) is that yes, such toys do promote combative and aggressive play, but they are fun and kids like to be competitive. As long as it remains fun and aggression doesn’t boil over then I don’t see the harm.


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