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Hot, crackling, snapping, burning. Fire is the sun. Fire is in lightning. Fire is red, yellow, bright, wavering. Fire is sparks, fireworks, bursts of light. Fire provides warmth. Fire represents enthusiasm, passion, energy.

Under control, it provides energy. Too close it burns. Out of control, it can become a conflagration, a wild fire. Fire can consume. Fire is moderated by its opposite--water. Fire is strengthened by its complement--the Earth. To love and be loved is to find ourselves strengthened.

Fire and Parent-child Relationships

fire quoteTo face life, we need a fire different from what was needed by our primitive ancestors to survive. We and our children need the fire of courage, of strength of will to face challenging times. In parent-child relationships, fire represents being decisive, bringing energy and enthusiasm into the relationship, taking a stand, being strong. Fire represents making an intervention that transforms the other person, making a real difference in his or her life. A parent who sets firm (but reasonable) rules is expressing the fireside part of the self. Confronting a child who has committed a moral wrong requires fire. Defending a child who is being unfairly treated by a teacher or assaulted by a stronger and bigger child requires energy, power. Where there is passion there is Fire.

photoChildren need fire too. They need to feel power and energy. Not just in a physical way, but in their relationships too. A child who is approached by a drug dealer who tries to sell him drugs needs the fire of resistance. So does a teenage girl who is being pressured to consent to having sex. A child who rushes to the aid of another who is being attacked by a bully needs to have sparks in her eyes. Any time a person, adult or child, has to stand up and express principled beliefs and act accordingly under difficult circumstances, he or she employs the courage and strength of will nourished by fire.

photoOf course, fire has its limitations and its risks as well. We'll take a look at the dark side of fire on page two.

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