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Fire Building and Children

Fire Building and Children

Recently my husband and I went on a mini vacation. Being a good Trail Life leader, he was spending his time learning new fire-building techniques from an online video. Being a good wife, I sat down on the couch beside him and watched.

As I watched, I realized just how much fire building is like raising children.

First we have to get the spot ready. Hopefully, before we ever have children we have prepared our home with a foundation of love and faith. The success of the fire depends on the type of foundation that is laid. The video suggested two strong logs as the basis for your fire building. Mom and Dad are those strong logs which hold everything else up.

Once children come into the home, you begin building upon that foundation. Fires must be built so that they will last a long time and overcome adversities such as rain, wind, and snow. Children must be taught skills from the very beginning so that they will stand strong in times of testing.

The elements of the fire must not be packed too tightly. It needs air to circulate to keep the embers burning. Children need room to think and grow and take parental instruction to heart. This doesn’t mean that you give them instruction then become totally uninvolved. You teach them then give them space to process.

When you show a young child how to do something, the next thing he or she wants to do is try it, usually without any help. Restrain from helping him the first time and let him work to discover how the toy works.

As children get older, you must also give them space. But often the guidance of older children requires more attention and love. As the fire burns, attention is also required so that it does not get out of control. Fire or children out of control is not a good thing.

Building a fire is a good thing when you are camping and need warmth or heat to cook. But it will only serve you well when you build it well, know how to use it, and keep it within its boundaries.

Children are much more valuable than a fire. But fire-building principles can give us pretty good guidelines for parenting.

  • Lay a good foundation.
  • Build/instruct well.
  • Allow air/freedom to process and learn on their own.
  • Make sure your children stay within boundaries.
  • Enjoy the results of a job well done.

Children who had boundaries grow to be people who respect others and authority, are honest and obey laws, and love God with all their hearts because that love has been modeled to them.

By: Linda Gilden hopes she will never have to use the fire building skills she learned from the video. But she is really proud of her three children and the privilege of parenting them.

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