As kids grow up they start to gain interests that are far from what their parents expect.
While some fear that their kids will go through an emo phase, one mum is concerned that her child might be causing an water-pistol gang uprising.
Writing to Slack's Care and Feeding column for advice the mum explained it all started this past summer when the neighbourhood parents decided to give the kids some squirt guns to play with as it would keep them cool while being COVID-safe.
The woman's 10-year-old son, David, took to the activity quite passionately, and even organised a few other kids to form a "squad."
"The squad" went from protecting each other from blasts and turning their water guns on anyone who would cross them, to carrying water around so they wouldn't have to break to refuel, to doing exercises so they could carry around more water while running.
It got too much for the mum when her son asked if he could print out an old World War II army manual to get ideas for strategies, which his mother did not allow.
The mother thought her child's passion would run it's course, but it seems to be getting stronger than ever. She was even contacted by teachers who had noticed the growing gang.
"They tend to shadow some of the more notorious bullies in the school. They haven't gotten into any fights yet (or at least, none have been reported), and David claims they're looking out for the rest of the student body in a way that the teachers can't or won't.
"My husband is extremely proud and amazed at David's leadership and organisational skills. I'll admit to being quite impressed with them too, but I'm also worried. There's a very thin line between being some kind of anti-bullying volunteer force and bullying themselves. And … this is just weird. I've never heard of any child his age being so focused, for lack of a better word. Is this a problem? And if so, what should I be doing about it?"
Care and Feeding columnist Jamilah Lemieux assured the mum that her concerns were valid.
"This could be the beginning of a lifelong career as an organiser or some other such gatherer of people, or the start of a terrifying new gang. I'm mostly kidding about the last part, but I strongly encourage you and your husband to monitor as much of this group activity as you possibly can," she said.
"As you recognise, the line between standing up for the downtrodden and becoming a force for bullying is a thin one, and though it sounds like your son might have really great intentions (or just a lot of creativity!), even if something were to happen with one of the other members of 'the squad,' he could be on the hook for it. Many school districts have rules around so-called gang activity that could land them—and especially him, as the 'organiser'—in a world of trouble."