Monday, April 25, 2011

Teaching our Children Silly, Unnecessary Things

Yesterday the rambling lunatic gave herself a "blog" day off.  Weekends are slow reads (per my statistics), it was Easter, I was sick, and as I knew it would happen, I was an impressive procrastinator.  All things considered, the day went well.  Only two boxes of tissue spent, dinner was a smashing success, and the boys did not start any neighborhood fires this year.

Since I promised to tell you that story and yesterday was the one year anniversary of that colorful event, I will share it with you today.

Men love to teach their sons silly, unnecessary things don't they?  The day my husband brought out a magnifying glass and gleefully placed it over a piece of newspaper, I just about had a heart attack.  Really?  Do our two boys need to know how to start a fire?  Eric's response was that it wouldn't get hot enough.  Was he sure about this?  So, the summer before last (of course while my husband was at work), I was a nervous wreck watching the boys lighting bits and pieces of paper, twine, and other miscellaneous items in our fire pit on fire.  Strange, I guess it does get hot enough.  My rule was always that the cover had to be on and the wind could not be blowing. Unfortunately for us, we live in a very windy area which is prone to unexpected gusts all the time. Of course my rules were eventually broken when I saw bits of lit paper circling in the air up and over our fence. That was it.  All magnifying glasses that I knew of (and this was the caveat) were confiscated.  At the time, new homes were being built all around us and the neighborhood park across the street was still undeveloped and covered with tumbleweeds. My boys were 11 and 14 years old.  They were terrifying.  They had discovered FIRE!

Jump forward to Easter of 2010. It was dry and the wind was gusting between 35 and 40 miles per hour. The boys were outside on the hill (the park), the ham was in the oven, and my friend had just arrived for dinner and a glass of wine. Suddenly, Eric started shouting that the hill was on fire (our front windows have a clear view of the park and everything going north for miles). Black billowing smoke was coming from just over the rise, neighbors with buckets of water were running across the street, kids were following them, and then...there were my two sons -- walking slowly away from the fire, down towards our house like they didn't have a clue in the world that anything was the happening. GUILTY!

"Who started that fire?"

"What fire?"

"Knock it off! Who started it and how?"

"William had a magnif.."

That's all I needed to hear. I cut off Austynn mid sentence while William started to loudly deny his involvement and started blaming Austynn.  "Eric, William started the fire.  You need to get up there right away and have him take responsibility for it."  As I'm yelling upstairs I see the melted rubber on Will's sneakers where he obviously tried to kick it out before it got out of control. 

Eric came charging down the stairs, "Come on, William.  Let's go.  Bri, call 911."

Throughout my call to 911, Austynn had been crying and asking if William was going to jail.  My dinner guest was standing in the background.  She was aware of constant drama in my household but this was a whole new experience for her.  After the call, I settled Austy down and the three of us walked out to the park.  The fire was put out quickly, thank goodness.  The fire department is right across the street so it could have been so much worse.  William and Eric were speaking to the police officers.  What drama. 

William was cited with a ticket and had to attend a 4 hour fire prevention class with a parent.  Hmmmm?  Which parent?  One would think he should go with the parent who taught him how to start the damn fire to begin with?  Not so.  He had to work.  Wasn't that convenient.

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