I have a thing against pirates. (Just like I have a thing against murderers, thieves, and thugs.)
I don't think this should be controversial but it is because there are cartoons about lovable pirates, children's books about friendly pirates, and even Talk Like a Pirate Day.
But I've never allowed friendly pirate play among my tots for the same reason Michael O'Brien insists that the only permissible dragons are evil dragons ("A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind"--I recommend this for all parents). If my kids are going to "play pirate," it needs to be that there is a Good Guy trying to capture and bring justice to the Pirate while rescuing the victims on the ship.
Pirates are bad guys--always! Pirates are by definition "a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea or on the shores of the sea" or "any plunderer, predator, etc." Pirates steal hard-earned goods belonging to others, they kill people, and they do other acts unspeakable on a family blog. If they didn't do those things, they wouldn't be pirates.
So, I truly dislike friendly pirates seen on children's shows like Veggie Tales and I won't let my children watch them.
I was sharing this little rant--that I know in this modern world makes me seem loony--to a kindred spirit of mine when she gasped, "Have you read "Obadiah the Bold"?"
Why, no, I hadn't!
So, she rushed off to get this book from her shelf and loaned it to me. "Obadiah the Bold" is the story of a little Quaker boy who receives a spyglass for his birthday and desires to become a pirate when he grows up. But one day, his siblings "play pirate" with him: they tie him up, lock him in a dark closet, then make him walk the plank. Obadiah is understandably terrified and hated playing pirate. When he talks to his wise father about it, his daddy explains to him that Obadiah's grandfather was an honorable and incredibly brave sailor and a loving captain of his ship. "That's what I want to be when I grow up, Daddy!"
We don't want to squelch little boys' desires to be swashbuckling, brave, and bold . . . we want to channel their desires in the proper direction . . . away from pirates!