received drawing of toy gun from sponsored child

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latest letter I received from my sponsored child included a drawing of a toy gun. It was both shocking and upsetting to me, as he is very young. The letter explained that he enjoys playing with toy guns in addition to other toys. I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable with the idea that my sponsorship money is going towards buying children toy guns. I am a Christian and I believe in the sanctity of life. I recently learned that my sponsored child is a Buddhist. I do not know many details about Buddhism, but I think there is a mutual sanctity of life component between both Buddhism and Christianity. I would like some advisement about this important matter: How do I write my sponsored child in regard to this choice of toys to play with? At the establishment where he is, who is guiding young children in the selection of toys? Why are these types of toys being offered to children? 
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erica pearl

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Posted 8 months ago

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KristenH, Champion

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I don't think the centers really have any control over what types of toys children play with in their own homes. I don't know why you would assume your money is going toward buying them. Unless you sent a birthday gift or child gift and in response you were told he bought a toy gun, there would really be no reason to assume that the center provided it to him.
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erica pearl

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Hi Kristen, thank you for your response. Do you have any advice on how to write to my child concerning his choice of toys? As a sponsor, we are given some guidelines from Compassion for letter content. I don't believe this topic is covered. 
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KristenH, Champion

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As a sponsor, I wouldn't mention it at all. My kids have always made guns from sticks or played with toy guns as have most of their friends and my nieces and nephews. I think it's a normal part of childhood to play cops and robbers or something like that.  

The only thing, as a sponsor, that might cause me to mention something is if my child seemed concerned about crime or violence or if they were in a high crime area. Then I may feel the need to address the dangers of gangs, drugs, and weapons. Otherwise I would assume they were just being a kid.  
Of course that's just my opinion. :)
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Leah, Employee

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Hello Erica, I appreciate your concern for Surapat's well being. I read the letter and I see that the letter was written by his mother since he is still too young to write. I do show that he drew a picture of a gun and that she told you in the letter that he likes to play with robots, controlled cars and toy guns. I am sorry if this has offended you in any way. I know that guns are dangerous and that it is a large topic of debate. Regrettably, we are not able to infringe on a child's parents right to allow or not allow their child to play with toy guns. If you would like to write about it in a letter, that is fine. I would encourage being soft about the subject. I might say something like, "I really enjoyed receiving your letter and getting to know more about you. You are a good artist. I think the smiling people in the picture are nice. Who are they? I did notice that you drew a picture of a gun and that your mom says you enjoy playing with toy guns. I am not a big fan of guns, because they are dangerous." Something like that would be okay. At the child center they do team sports and play games. We don't encourage violence. We teach the children about the love of Jesus and how to be kind to others. I also see in the letter that she says that they used your Christmas gift to purchase Surapat a mattress, thank you for blessing him monetarily. I am sure he is very appreciative of this gift. Please continue to pray for Surapat and his family. Pray that he will receive the message of the gospel and grow to have a relationship with Jesus. I appreciate your prayers. 
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erica pearl

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Hi Leah, thank you for your response. Your insightful comments will definitely help me write the next letter to my sponsored child. My primary concern in this situation is ultimately the well-being of my sponsored child and his family. I'm thankful that I could post on a sensitive issue and receive guidance in addressing the situation in a manner that is compliant with Compassion's guidelines and respectful of my personal beliefs. My family and I have enjoyed corresponding with our sponsored child and have grown so much as a result of the experience.  

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