I'm getting too old for this holiday.
I volunteered to be present at my youngest daughter's class bonfire. (When will I learn?) I specifically stated that I did not want to be the only parent there. I was the only parent there.
I discovered that there are plenty of parents who are willing to leave their kids alone at a bonfire, without any adult supervision. I did not feel comfortable leaving 11 and 12 years old alone! I would not have let my daughter be there without an adult. Although I am beginning to suspect that most adults know very little about campfire safety.
The kids certainly know very little about fire safety. Only a few are even interested in learning anything about how to manage a bonfire. I shared, with as many kids as I could interest, some basic fire safety rules (don't burn plastic coated wood, don't burn slats of wood with nails, etc.). I also tried to provide them with some guidance about how to cook in a fire, without burning the food (place potatoes on coals, not directly in the flames, etc.).
I am grateful to the mother who offered to take over as soon as I was ready to go. At least I know that someone will make sure the fire is extinguished properly when the kids are finally ready to go home.
Still, I took my daughter home with me.
My eldest two children participated in a Scouts-like program, in which they learned all about fires and fire safety. My youngest has yet to participate in any such group. I would not want her to adopt the laissez faire attitude of the kids in her class (and, apparently, many of their parents).
The kids were not very appreciative of my help or my presence. Not one said "thank you." Maybe I should not be surprised, but I was. I sure hope my children have better manners!
I do not think I will accompany any more of these kids' bonfires. I should not need to. Next year, my youngest will, hopefully, attend her youth group bonfire. The youth groups choose a location and all the sub groups do their own little bonfires in the same place. So there are many older teens present to supervise.
I love bonfires. But I am just as happy to spend Lag Ba'Omer at home.
I would be happy to walk around our neighborhood, check out a few bonfires, and then go home.
Next year, I just might do that....
I might even skip the walk around the neighborhood.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,