I went in the house to fetch matches and a piece of paper. My intent was to make an initiation fire and begin burning up some of the debris I just cleared out. Liam , my six year old grandson was Inside and I asked him to join me in fire making. He agreed and I felt we were in for a grandfather-grandson bonding experience. He brought a squirt gun with him. After I got the fire going and sizeable blaze was bursting forth, Liam came up and squirted me. I dashed that idea and told him he could take charge of being the fireman and quench any small pieces that managed to get out of the container. He objected to this and told me he did want to be a firefighter. He stated, “I don’t need to learn about fires, I am going to drive trains when I grow up. He seemed upset with the idea fire could leave the container. I told him it was OK and we could take care of it.
He then broke into tears and ran to the house. He would not talk to me except to say he did not like fires and wanted me to stay in attendance with the one I lit, until it stopped glowing. When I went to the house to see what was the matter, he kept up a steady fuss and insisted I go back to the fire, and not leave it unattended. He was acting so alarmed about having a fire unattended, I wondered it he might be exhibiting strong primal behavior with an adversity to flames. I wonder about the source of his strong contrary reaction. We engaged in a power struggle. He not willing to discuss the possibility that this fire might be safe, and could be observed from other vantage points than right next to it. .
The fire died down , we talked about fires. He has a vast interest in them, but he also has a strong sense of caution. He expressed interest in all the differing ways fires can get out of control. To prevent that from happening he likes to take control. As far as I can figure, Liam gets bombarded with fire safety lectures and presentation s in school. He is normally, anxious and it takes very little to get him in a controlling protective frame. I was disappointed that he could not enjoy tending a fie with me, but it seems he is a good candidate for slow patient instruction about the nature of fires. Perhaps a good place to start is with his interest in trains. In times past one of the most important goods on a train was that of fireman.