Real World Education

I  awoke this morning, the first full day of vacation, to the sounds of our kids inquiring about breakfast.  It was about 8:30am.  We instructed them to start getting breakfast ready and we would be up and out shortly.  The routine is fairly consistent.  Heat the water for tea (and my daughter’s coffee).  Start toasting the bread.  Set out the hard boiled Easter eggs.  Wash the fruit.

I emerged groggily a few minutes later.  The kids were in action and everything was going well.  I noticed that they had the gas stove apparently turned up to high and there were some flames on the outside of the kettle.  I told them to turn down the burner a bit as I went to the bathroom.  Whilst there, I ruminated on the blessing of having older, responsible children.  I suppose I could have mused about the wonderful job of parenting and educating we’ve done, but of course that task is not finished yet.  Instead, I pondered how we should prepare the kids better for the real world by teaching them to use a microwave.  We haven’t owned one in over a decade now.  We know we’re an anomaly, but our kids ought to at least know the basics.

I emerged and was puttering with the kids to get things ready.  The kettle was still flaring up at the bottom and now it was smoking as well.  What’s wrong with it?  the  kids wanted to know.  Why is it dripping oil? they wanted to know.  I went to take a closer look.  Something about the kettle didn’t look right.  What’s that odd tab at the bottom?  Wheels and gears cranked angrily and fuzzily into gear.  I lifted up the kettle and peered under it.  The bottom had separated.  Odd.  If the bottom was separated, why didn’t the water all pour out?  And what was that mess of smoldering wires in between?

It was at this point that I realized the kids had mistakenly placed an electric water pot onto the gas stove.


(In defense, the kids *do* know how to operate an electric water pot – we have one at home!  But this one looked very much like an actual tea kettle!)

So I did have the chance to give some microwave lessons after all.  And to purchase a new electric water pot for the owners of the Airbnb we’re staying at.  What a wonderful learning opportunity!



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