"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." ~George Bernard Shaw

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time." ~Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A Story of Childhood and Parenting

Growing up with three brothers introduced me to
 the perils of boys with matches.
One brother who shall remain nameless almost burned our house down.
So.....years later when I had two young sons and discovered the
youngest (who was about 3 years old at the time) playing with matches
I immediately sat down with him and explained the dangers of fire.
I thought I had made it very clear and I put the matches up very high.
A few days later my monkey son managed to climb up very high to get
to the matches and I caught him once again playing with matches.
"Holy smokes- how am I going to get him to not do this?"
I asked him what his favorite toy was and he told me it was
the Fischer Price School Bus.
I told him to bring it downstairs to the living room.
I prepared a fire in the fireplace and told him that since he
thought it was fun to play with fire I would show him exactly
how awful fire can be. I then told him to put the bus in the fireplace
and handed him the matches and told him to light the fire.
Right at that very moment his older brother came home from school
and said "My Bus!!!"
The fire was never lit and my 3 year old never to my knowledge
ever again played with fire.  As I write this I wonder was I an awful
mother or just a very frightened single mom?


  1. You had the right idea and I applaud you, but you shouldn't have let your son be the one to pick the toy. YOU should have picked his favorite toy.

  2. I definitely don't think you were an awful mom. You gave the matter some thought and came up with a plan. An awful mother would of lashed out and acted without thinking.

    Not all of our plans have the results we would of liked. In hindsight I can see a number of things that I should of done differently but can't undo. Thank goodness my kids grew up to be really nice people and living good lives. AND they seem to love their parents. I guess they realize that we tried our best and the times we got it wrong weren't intentional.

  3. When we were small,my younger sister played with matches in the closet. Scared the beejeepers out of all of us. I'm going with scared young mom.

  4. You did the right thing. I don't know what it is with boys and fire, but I can relate. My nephews nearly burned down their house, as well. Gotta be tough, sometimes.

  5. They have to learn, and learn young, so i agree with taking such drastic action. Also, as Stephen says, the parent should pick the toy.


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