Monday, July 13, 2009

Parenting Tip No. 2,496

If you want your children to hang around with you, build a fire.

Not a dangerous house fire where you burn up all your posessions and treasures in an arson-based-mad-house. But your regular kind of fire in the fireplace or fire-pit-kind of fire. Rip up the newspaper, strike the match, light up some good old seasoned logs or tree branches that fell in an ice storm three years ago. Build a base, light it up.

Kids love fire.

They will come from video games and online youtube marathons to sit with you and poke at the embers. They'll find just the right balance of coals and wood and poking. And maybe they'll even forget and talk a little with you.

"Hey mom, what was it your dad did for a job when you were a kid again?" and you can tell them all about the details of thermostats and controllers. And in the middle you can slip in a little bit about the finger puppets their grandfather sometimes had in his jacket pocket. And how you would wait at the end of the block, hoping he'd come home with a prize just for you.

The fire burns and you put another log on the smoldering embers. It flares and the sparks rise. Someone breathes a big sigh. Someone smiles and pokes the fire a little. Words might be there or they might not. It's primitive, the fire, the connection. The people.

It's all good.

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