Grand nephew at the range

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#1
My brother and I took my grand nephew to the range to day to knock the rust off of
his shooting skills. He is 9, tangled up in a messy divorce, terrible Dad causing a lot of trouble
for the kids and the Mom. So, for several years we haven't been able to get him to the range
to keep him shooting. At this age, three years layoff is forever. Almost starting over, but he
started picking it back up pretty well. Finally had him doing well with iron sights on his single
shot .22 that I got him a few years ago, and put proper sights on. After he was doing well with
irons we let him try out my brothers old Rem semiauto, which he got in '67, used then. It has an
old 3/4" scope, a pretty decent one at that time. The boy did well with the scoped rifle, put four
of 5 shots into a single 1/4" cluster at 12 yds or so from the bench. We then asked if he wanted
to try a pistol, and of course he did. I set him up for some dry fire with the Ruger Std auto, and
after 4 shots dry, loaded a single round. He wanted to shoot at the 3" spinner at 12 yds, so I said
OK, and he hit it, first try. I was pretty impressed, thinking that that was a pretty challenging and
unforgiving target to start with. I loaded another single round (no mag) and he hit it again. So, I put
the mag in with 5 more and he hit it 4 of 5 shots. He had been hitting the small 1 1/2" spinners
well with his single shot rifle, too.

Moved back to 25 yds with the pistol, and he kept them all on a paper plate, not great, but not too
bad for the first time ever shooting a handgun.

It was a good day. Hopefully the divorce will get better sorted out soon, and I will be able to
see the kids more, and teach them more.

It was a great day, and I cut out the really great target with four of five shots touching, and put his
name, the date and signed it 'Uncle Bill", so he could show his Mom and Grandma. All had a really fine
afternoon at the range.

Bill
 
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Brad

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Well done Bill. Those are the days he will remember for years to come.

Guys, having spent a few hours at the range with Bill I can assure you he is an excellent coach and teacher.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#3
I truly love being able to pass on this skill to the next generation in my family. And
thanks for the kind words, Brad. I spent about half a lifetime competing with a 1911 in
my hand, all the way up to the US Nationals several years and was invited to the Bianchi
Cup a few times, too. Eventually, even I managed to pick up a few things.
I got to know and watch a bunch of the REALLY top shooters.
Learned a thing or two from them along the way, and took the NRA Pistol instructor
course, which actually is good on teaching skills. But also, coaching newbies into the
IPSC sport for several decades, you eventually figure out what works to pass along some
of the ideas. We had to check out new shooters before letting them compete. Drawing
and firing and reloading on the move, all are new and before we let them go out on
the range we had to verify that they were safe. We ran a whole lot of new shooter
entry courses, about 2 or 3 per year. I may have learned more than they students did
from those sessions.

And I have taken handgun training courses a number of times, learned a lot
from the likes of Ray Chapman and others that you might have heard of. I can hear them
telling me things when I pass it on to others sometimes.

It was a great day. Yesterday, shot the AR-10 and Rem 700 HB .308s out to 500 yds.
with my brother. I can't do that at home. Clanging steel when it takes about 2-3 seconds for the
'clang' to reach you after firing is pretty cool. Nothing like Waco's long range stuff, though.

Bill
 
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Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#5
Yeah, finally the family is getting a good lawyer who says he will sort things out. Ex-hubby had
been running roughshod over my niece, who had little financial resources after being dumped,
having to quit school to work and take care for the boys. She has a really solid job now with
a future, finally getting sane hours (instead of three dead end jobs), a job she loves. Get the
exhubby sorted out sensibly, and things will settle down. Still not great, but less bad for the kids.

I really enjoyed the visit, hope to be able to get them to visit us in KS after things get more
settled.

I was actually impressed with him hitting the 3" spinner repeatedly with the handgun. Maybe
some of that is genetic. His grandpa, my brother and I have always been pretty decent with
short guns, and found long guns comparatively easier. He is off to a good start, I hope to get
him solidly safe, and enjoying it as we can have more time together.
I have a Marlin clip fed .22 with a really nice Marlin factory option peep on it that I reworked.
I am thinking that next summer I might give it to him, if he shoots it well.

Bill
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
#6
The big challenge for the kids is dealing with their feelings. At that age, feelings are difficult to identify and express, and are often buried behind the first line of emotional defense which is complete shut-down. In a few years when further emotional development comes, these things rear their ugly heads. Trust issues and chronic insecurity/guilt are things to watch for, and never "tell" the child how to feel or imply that because they have a full belly and roof over their head they're supposed to be a-ok. They're supposed to feel angry, hurt, betrayed, guilty, worthless, and very confused, and they need to understand that. They need to know that those things are a natural reaction and that dealing with it is not to pretend they don't exist or suppress them, but to try to find a way to reach and express them and that dealing with it is to first validate those feelings fully, and then learn how to process them in a non-destructive manner. Counselling is a must. Our society goes about this all wrong, and in a busy single-parent household that's just trying to survive another day, emotional needs always seem to come last. It isn't good. But, the simple act of consistently reaching for the child's feelings, with no strings attached, no "put on your brave face", can sure help.
 

smokeywolf

Well-Known Member
#7
Just the diversion of getting out and doing fun things and communing with good adult male role models should make an amazing difference in a young boy's life.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#8
At this point, the kids are with grandparents a lot, going to church, kid's bible study classes, gymnastics
and more things. When they saw me, after about 18 months, they yelled out and both ran over and were
really happy to see me. Currently no visible behavior issues, functioning amazingly well, and apparently happy,
interacting well with everyone, not withdrawn at all. I had the younger one help me cut a jack o lantern
from one of their big pumpkins and the older one suggested a Santa hat and calling it Santa - lantern.
Younger one was given design authority on type of eyes, nose and mouth, and helped push in the knife
"because I couldn't quite get it by myself", and got to play in pulling out the "guts" from the pumpkin
while Mom and Grandma cleaned up the seeds and baked them to snack on.

When I was there, the kids were fully engaged most of the time, even it was just "hey, come sit by me
and we can talk." The older one, who loves astronomy, brought up the constellation Orion, and he correctly
guessed that the red star on the shoulder (when asked) was Betelgeuse, already knowing that BG was a red giant.

Spent some time with the younger one while watching Rocky and Bullwinkle - and he is on the cusp of
reading at six, and he sounded/spelled out "moose", with help on the final "e". Then when the word popped
up on screen, he was triumphant. Then we wandered off into, "Well how would goose be spelled then?" then
'loose', and more. He had fun playing word and spelling games for the next half hour.
Then they helped me work on the pachinko machine. I always do my best to keep the kids engaged and let them
understand that we do care about them.

They SEEM to be doing well, and DO get a lot of love from their family. I hope it is enough.
Doing the best we can in difficult times, with a un-helpful ex.

Bill
 
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Ian

Well-Known Member
#9
That's the difficult thing, Bill, the children always get positive attention (particularly from positive role models) for acting unfazed and normal...of course, right? That's important and good....... but, in a difficult and subtle way the opposite is implied: That it's NOT ok to have or express negative feelings. Negative emotions are part of life no matter what and they need to be validated and skills built to deal with them effectively. Multiply that by a few times in the case of a broken home. Little Johnny was such a normal boy said everyone before he made the leading story on the six-o'clock news, and though thankfully most situations are not that extreme, helping kids deal with the bad things going on inside even if they don't show it to their heros is super-important.

It sounds like your family has the love, faith, and support needed to make the best possible of a bad situation, and I wish them all the very best.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
#10
Thanks. I wish I lived closer, could be around the kids more often. Considering whether having them spend
time in Kansas over various school vacations, give Mom a vacation, too, and let them see new things and do
new stuff. The airline travel issue is unpleasant, but I can get direct flights, so they COULD travel unaccompanied,
but that is still a question at 9 and 6 YO. I'll let Mom decide on that, the offer is there, we can afford to pay for
all expenses, so that isn't an issue, fortunately.
A challenge that I happily accept, will do my best for these boys. And will make an effort to let them talk about
anything that is bothering them. Sometimes easier to talk to a 'not parent', I think, if a good relationship
exists. I try hard to not be judgemental about problems, not my role to play, unless they are with us and there
are safety issues. Better role is teacher and guide and listener.

Bill
 
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