Saturday, June 23, 2007

The fine line between courage and foolishness~ How to ruin a beautiful day on the beach

Tuesday was an absolutely beautiful day at Takayama, the "missionary resort" where we have our summer cabin. Since we have been accused of all work and no play when we're up there, Stan and I decided we'd head down to the beach after lunch. It was SO wonderful! He took a kite down and walked back and forth on the beach with it. The kids took turns flying it--the first time for most of them.

After a while the boys headed to the rocks to find crabs---a usual beach activity for them. A went to join them and then scoured among the garbage near the cliffs for a container. She came up with a frying pan with a glass lid, and took it over to the boys.

A short while later I heard a terrible scream and saw A running toward us. Sound doesn't travel well with the waves and the wind, and I wasn't quite sure whether she was just hailing us in a friendly way, or what--but she collapsed in the middle of the beach while we headed toward her. Getting closer she cried "the boys have captured a mamushi--I'm so scared for them!"

Not far behind her came two triumphant boys with a poisonous snake in their frying pan under the glass lid. They had come upon the snake in the rocks while they were looking for crabs, managed to catch it with the fishing net they had and drop it into the pan and get the lid on without it striking them. But looking at him through glass, I could see he wasn't a happy snake. (The photo is taken with my cell phone camera, and slightly enhanced, but I didn't want to get any closer!)

We had strong words with them--and they insisted that they knew how to handle poisonous snakes from the men on the Discovery channel programs that deal with deadly snakes. They were convinced they were being courageous and we insisted they were doing a stupid thing. All the while we're skirting around this frying pan not quite sure what to do but very unhappy about what they've done.

They dug a hole in the sand, and tipped the pan away from themselves and dropped the snake into the hole, smacked the glass lid on the hole, packing the edge with sand. Then they started poking holes big enough for the snake's head to come through, then pushed him back with sticks--not big enough sticks in my book. All the while we're continuing our talks, threats, commands, charges, which probably looked like a temper tantrum or some bazaar dance around this hole on the beach. In their final act of defiance, one of the boys grabbed a stick, lifted the lid off the hole and we ALL walked away--quite quickly I might add. If the beach hadn't been empty except for us, this probably wouldn't have been an acceptable solution, but it worked.

The boys, to this day, are extremely proud of their courage.

We agree they demonstrated bravery--but that it was stupid for them to have gone after the snake. True courage would have been that when they saw the snake they would walk quietly away from it.

We packed up and left the beach...not a very peaceful way to end the day.

If you pray, please pray that our sons develop discernment and that we develop wisdom in parenting them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow- I read this whole thing with bated breath, wondering how it would end up- so so glad that no one got bit. I have to say I chuckled over their line that they knew from the DIscovery channel how to handle poisonous snakes. I can year Eric- or Owen in a few years- say the same thing and it wouldn't have eased the fear for me! So glad you are all fine. I hope you can enjoy the weather and your time up at Tak.