Why is fire an important element to bring into your life with children?
My children are around fire often. We make fires as a family in the afternoons and evenings, we've been doing that long before we lived on this rancho. Theyve been burned and also achieved greatness when actually getting the fire to start. For his 6th birthday my oldest got a pocket knife and for his 7th , he got a camping fire starter flint kit. The other two younger ones are equally exposed to the same activities and learn the risks and rules right along with him. Cultivating care and caution when it comes to fire.
A few of these photos may need more explanation...
My oldest, tending to the fire as the sweet potatoes cook, practicing campfire skills. He was a fresh 5 years old when the 1st photo was taken. We have set up rocket stoves and cooking fires many times over the years. Sometimes out of necessity because we didn't have gas and needed to cook meals and other times simply for the fire experience they would have that day.
This one was was with 2 friends and his little brother before circus class 2 years ago, getting a lesson on using a lighter from his very skilled buddy 🔥 most parents are terrified their children will pick up and "play" with lighters and "burn the house down"...!
This image was a few weeks ago as they sat around the fire with their older cousin, telling funny stories and experimenting with what cardboard bits and pieces burn faster.
This image is of my boys using candles on the floor with wax crayons, eating chips, as an afternoon experimental activity. Exploring with how gentle and how long ypu have to hold the crayon over the wax, how hot it gets and what the melted crayon does on the paper. Patience, practice, precision.
Do your children have exposure to these kind of experiences? Do they use the stove in the kitchen or practice using matches or have access to campfires? 🔥 We have friends and family whose kiddos definitely have exposure to this stuff and in fact are quite skilled at a lot of it. And we have others in our lives who are on the complete opposite side of the spectrum 💥
We are big believers on letting kids take risks and bending their boundaries and exploring and discovering their limits and capabilities on their own. We want them to have access to a wide variety of activities and things that will give them real life skills and help with their developing bodies and minds along the way ✨
When I became involved in The Cedarsong Way Forest Kindergarten Association 2 years ago, I sensed that I really found a group of people that understood this philosophy of ours. Over there, they teach fire skills to kids in the woods, in outdoor classrooms, etc. They cultivate these skills in the kids as a form of risk assessment and capacity to learn survival skills. It's amazingly simple and yet something we don't normally see in our society.
What do you think? Were you exposed to experiences like that when you were a kid? How did it change you or help to make you who you are?
Fire is alchemy, energy and light. Fire is life giving and destruction and painful and pure. It can be gentle and warm like a candle, providing a guiding light in the darkness and it can be wild and manic and take down whole forests and tree lines. It is transformative and powerful, helps us cook our food, heat our homes and clear our lands. It is part of the earth medicine we were given when we landed here and it is deserving of our attention and our love just as much as water, air and land is.
These days my boys are experimenting with changing metal in the fire, placing bits in the embers and hammering them out and dreaming of making their own samurai swords. They are witnessing fire as a ceremonial tool, the heart of the temazcal and the way we light our way at night.
We are so proud of this life we have with them and can only hope to inspire others to call these practices into their own lives and feel these connections to the elements we have experienced 🔥