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Forums > Social Chat > Charles the stupid hypocrite! :-(

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Ive always tried to share positive threads and stories on HoP, but Id like to share a situation (for me anyway) that became really distasteful.

The NZ Juggling festival was held last weekend, and I taught several classes (with other more talented tutors helping, thanks Jo) both official and impromptu.

One of the impromptu one was a number of young children who saw me twirling a broom in the registration room (it was raining) and wanted to learn. And the others had a few other young children come along and pick up the sticks too.

After about 4-5 hours of tuition (and learning for me too) I was on a real high, seeing the best part of 30 people pick up staffs for the first time and advancing really quickly. I felt on top of the world.

Then, later in the weekend, one of the young boys who I taught lit up for the first time with the Firestaff his dad bought at the festival.

Suddenly, I had this sick feeling in my stomach, and suddenly realised that all those children who were learning staff were going to want to light up as soon as possible.

Like a ton of bricks, the word hypocrite fell on me and smashed all my happy feelings to pieces.

For years Ive telling people not to let young children spin fire, as the smoke inhalation is bad for them, doubly so than for adults as most peoples lungs dont finish forming until the late teens or early twenties.

Theres also the issue of fuel splashes getting absorbed into the skin, which also worries me, and the of course, the chance of being burned or hurting someone else.

Then theres the even more worrying scenario of these kids lighting up when no-one is around, or getting their friends into it without supervision and all the horrific things that can happen from that. This includes them fire breathing or using the wrong fuels or burning down someones house!


I feel like the worlds biggest hyprocrite, after saying all these things for years and then selfishly not even thinking about the effect that teaching the skills will have on young children wanting to light up.


At this stage, Im considering giving up fire and/or tuition for good. I had a great time at the festival, but feel I learned a lot more about responsibility and how easy it is to do the wrong thing than I ever thought I could.




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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Charles, I do understand what you're feeling and I probably came off as a bit of an arse with my response.

But do consider my point. I can't control what my patients do in spite of what I teach them. Again, you do great things by teaching performance arts to children. It does children amazing good to learn to practice some sort of art.

I have learned not to let bad outcomes weigh me down. All I do is ask myself if there's anything I could have reasonably done to prevent the adverse event. If it's because a patient went and did something against my advice, then there really isn't much I could have done. And yes, I do know how icky it feels to have something like that happen.

But you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You are doing these kids so much good by teaching them twirling, as long as you include a warning against using fire. And let's recall, as you said, this kid was using fire in a very structured, supervised environment with full safety precautions. It's not as if he was just lighting up alone in some parking lot somewhere while drunk and/or stoned.

So while I understand what you are saying, you need to do what you can do to prevent kids from using fire. After that, it's the responsibility of the kid and his parents.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I'll agree with everyone else on your issue Charles. But I do think there's a larger issue of how we represent fire to children.

[Ends discussion with respect to Charles' actions and begins new subtopic]

I'm torn on this one. I often think of this site as an advertisement for fire play. I know that 11 and 12 year olds hang out here. I could blame parents, but then again... if a kid has sucky parents, does the responsibility then fall on us? Or do we just look the other way?

I'm lucky that in the US there is a huge glowstick community that has no interest in fire at all. I have taught kids how to glowstick without even mentioning the fact that it can be done with fire. Many of them honestly don't know it's possible (Gotta love the US rave community!)

It is DEFINITELY one of the reasons that I don't tell my students that I spin fire. I honestly don't feel comfortable advocating fireplay in front of kids.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Valura
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

Valura

Mumma Hen
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 6391
Posted:sweetheart,
I do not believe for one moment that by imparting the knowledge of twirling a broom stick, can you be held responsable for the child who is sparking up a fire staff that his Father had bought him...

If anyone is to be held responsable for the child actions it is his fatherl, who if he had an ounce of sense, would have checked the saftey and asked questions on the safety of the fire itself.

If the father had of done this and decided that the novility of his child twirling fire, outweighed the childs safety and physical development, there is nothing that you could have done to stop this progression what so ever.

This is the fathers responsability. He is the one who bought the staff, he is the one who encrouaged the fire

what I hear you saying is that through your actions of teaching them they will want to use fire straight away. This is not nessacarily true my friend.
I believe fromt he posts that I have read of yours, that your the type of person who will impart fire saftey knowledge wherever you go...
Please do not stop teaching kids becasue of one stoopid parent. other wise you will be cheating kids of a skill that helps them improve their gross motor skills, their social skills and quite possible giving them a hobbie that will carry them through life, and give them alternatives to going out drinking and doing drugs when they grow up.

Thats my bit on this.

Charles speak to your wife mate. She is your soulmate and will support your through this, and will give another opinion that you know you trust... Im sure she wont waste any time telling you that you are not a bad person nor teacher because of this ...

hug hug hug hug
love you charles...


TAJ "boat mummy." VALURA "yes sweetie you went on a boat, was daddy there with you?" TAJ "no, but monkey on boat" VALURA "well then sweetie, Daddy WAS there with you"

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Dont sweat it Charles. Those kids would have lit up anyway. At least u showed them how to do it as safely as possible. I think perhaps, that we dont need to punish ourselves of over things that are not our responsible, if u get wot I mean.





If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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spherespinner


spherespinner

member
Location: Melbourne...

Total posts: 38
Posted:Oh Charles... don't worry so!!!! rolleyes

Sorry if I don't make much sense.. but I am still recovering from that weekend.... gosh it was a load of fun.... ! smile But:

I think what u have to realise is that most of the kids at that festival were the offspring of the performers that were there... these kids aren't the norm to start with (young boy doing 5 balls on a rolla bolla???!) and they are used seeing and doing dangerous things... like playing with fire staves and I think some of the parents are a little more allowing of these sorts of things.. more so than the average parent. Whereas this was your first festival, I have been to them for many years and I guess have gotten used to seeing little kids juggling fire etc.. even though I may not agree with it at all.. so what I am getting at is that is not just u that is responsible for these young kids beginning their adventures with fire.. it is more to do with how they are brought up .. their surroundings etc. and definetly I would say from the past that most of the kids that learn some basic staff or poi aren't allowed to try it with fire till they do get older... and in that case there is no reason why they shouldn't be taught the basic spinning movements in preparation for when they are old enought to try it with fire... I was taught at 7 years old to do poi.. at school through part of maori culture classes.... as was every other 7 year old girl in the school... we grew up learning poi.. but I didn't try it with fire until I was about 18..... so just cos u learn something without fire doesn't mean u will run off and try it with fire as soon as u can....!!

I saw the kid doing his first light up... I also saw his parents who were looking on with much enthusiasm... so I suspect that no matter whether you had taught him or not.. he would have sooner or later.. got a fire staff and given it a go.. I am just glad that you gave him some pointers so he hit/burnt himself less!!!

You're a good teacher.. don't stop teaching.. it would be a waste...

Catch u sometime soon... and keep on spinning!! weavesmiley
It was nice getting to know u ....
hug
J smile


smile
Start chasing dreams.... one day u may catch them..

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Thanks for that, Jo...(only 17 posts, gee, you must have a life!)

I understand what you are saying about having performing parents, but the real issue that gets me right in the gut is my belief that breathing in the fumes SERIOUSLY damages young childrens lungs before they have fully formed.

This is the thing that virtually no parents think about, and even i didn't hink about until someone on HoP brought the subject up. I've since done some research, and found that children's lungs are highly susceptible to all sorts of damage about 14 years and under.

Of course, there has been no direct studies on the inhalation of kero/3440 fumes but the whole horrifying prospect is something i've been ramming down peoples throats everywhere i go.

If I'm going to mouth off at everyone about this theory of mine, then I should at least act responsibly and make more effort to understand the effect teaching staff will have on youngsters.

I'm basically very dissappointed in my own opinion of myself, and may take a week or two to come to terms with it.

As mentioned before, my life over the last few years has been pretty damn fantastic, meaning this downer is maybe hitting as bit harder than usual too...





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spherespinner


spherespinner

member
Location: Melbourne...

Total posts: 38
Posted:Heya smile

I didn't realise about that whole damage thing to lungs stuff until u told me the other day... so thanx for that cos I never really liked seeing young kids spinning fire... (more cos I was worried they would burn themselves!) and now I have another reason to try and convince them (or their parents) not to.

Am sure u will feel better soon....
hug
J smile


smile
Start chasing dreams.... one day u may catch them..

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:OK...

I've now dredged up this post and had a good read through it after 18 months.

My head is in a much better space than it was then, life has returned to "busy but still fantastic" mode.

I couldn' t make it to last years festival due to family matters, but now 2006 is looming up and if I want to move on from 2004's mistakes, its time to start planning the lessons and fire warnings well ahead.

It's also interesting to note that I've done very little fire or spinning since that last festival...eek

So whats a few siuggestions for teaching spinning to complete strangers, many of whom know each other well, and imparting fire-safety in a manner most likely to be listened to?


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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast

Total posts: 5967
Posted:I like the leaflets idea... and am thinking about doing something similar.



I've heard there's a shop here selling fire poi without any type of instruction or guidance. eek



And, in fact, one of those sets of fire poi ended up in the hands of an absolute beginner who was then asked to do a pub gig while twirling her new (and not particularly well made) poi.



eek Yeep. eek



However, we're now talking to the shop concerned and I'm going to write up a safety sheet, instructions and a pointer to this site.



(Is it ok to take most of the info from the fire safety articles on this site, if I give good prominence to the web address?)



Tis all about responsibility. biggrin



And Charles... good luck for the festival. This was a really interesting thread to read - and things are only a mistake if you don't learn from them - which you obviously have.



Don't be afraid to teach children... because that would be sad (and we need responsible people like you out there doing good work smile )



Take care

Clare x


Getting to the other side smile

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PyroWill
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

PyroWill

HoP's Barman. Trapped aged 6 months
Location: Staines

Total posts: 4437
Posted:Charles, you taught them how to twiddle a stick in a very cool way and if you didnt make a reference to fire then i dont see anyway you are responsible for their actions afterward.

hug


An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind

Give a man a fish and he'll eat 4 a day hit a man with a brick and you can have all his fish and his wife

"Will's to pretty for prison" - Simian

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PyroWill
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

PyroWill

HoP's Barman. Trapped aged 6 months
Location: Staines

Total posts: 4437
Posted:Whoops jsut realised the original post was an old one ubblol

Either way something else i wanted to add was that remember you said the kids dad bought him that firestaff at that festival, i think that tells you something about the parent, not your teaching


An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind

Give a man a fish and he'll eat 4 a day hit a man with a brick and you can have all his fish and his wife

"Will's to pretty for prison" - Simian

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Well, the thing is this is a juggling festival, so fire is a natural extension of learning a skill.

There will be a fire night and, hmmm, maybe I should just organise it AFTER the fire night! Plus the leaflet ideas..

Thats a good start...


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ficklampa
BRONZE Member since Dec 2004

ficklampa

member
Location: sweden,stockholm.

Total posts: 81
Posted:i gotta say, and i dont know if this has allready been said but.
if these are young children (wich it seems like it is) it is not at all your fault, not at all.
If they go out and spin fire it is their parent who are the ones doing wrong.
especially as in this case that his dad actually had gotten him the staff?
dont feel bad for teaching an art.


the only thing worth dying for is life itself

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Teach a fire safety course for those who express an interest, and make the young ones parents take it with them. At least then no one can say they didn't understand what their kids were getting into. wink

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Hi Pele.

That would be a good idea for amatuers, but the problaem as mentioned above is that this is a juggling festival, and there a lot of people who think they know all they need to know. There will of course, be other open minded people too, but its those people who I would like to talk to the most.

That being said, I'm also likely to be a bit of an outsider, as many of thes epeople have been going for years and even decades, whilst this will be my second time.

However, the fire knowledge course is a great idea. I just need to work on how best to get people along. "Fire, Fuels and Toxins...The Hidden Costs You were Never Told About"

Something like that, but with less negative feelings in the title?


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FireByNite
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

FireByNite

Are you up for it??
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 349
Posted:Hey Charles, Good to see you seem to be through the oroginal problem. Just a side note, when & where is this juggling festival? I have a near 10 year old son who would love to learn how to spin a "broom handle" I do not want him doing it lit BTW
I spin poi a little myself but am useless with the staff so any info on when this would be would be great smile
On a side note - I have found the safety info on this site really informative so maybe a reference to this site on thoses leaflets
Good luck


Are you up for it?
wink;)

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Hi Nite Owl.

The festival is in Raglan this year so not too much travel form Auckland.

Have a llook at the below link ofr all the details.

www.Juggle.org.nz

For your son, you are welcome to organise a time to come and see me and get some free tuition, especially knowing you have read through this thread and know my concerns about kids and fire.

Also, there is a juggling night which has some staffers attend every wednesday night in Ponsonby. I seldom get to make it but thats anothe rgood place ot start.


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FireByNite
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

FireByNite

Are you up for it??
Location: Auckland

Total posts: 349
Posted:Thanks for the info Charles smile Might have to take a trip down Raglan then.
Saftey is a big thing with me with kids as well. I've heard about the Wed nights in Ponsonby but never seem to be able to get the babysitting for my other kids (8yo & 2 yo)
Thanks for the offer 'bout the tuition. I'm in the midst of moving so won't take you up on just yet. Might do when I settle a bit...


Are you up for it?
wink;)

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