Boy Disobeys Dad to Honor Dead Firefighter

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firetruckAs parents we spend years teaching our children that they need to obey and follow the rules, but almost as important is giving them the skills and sense of self to know when it's okay to break those same rules at the right time. An 11-year-old boy in Massachusetts, Jared Flanders, recently provided a perfect example of disobedience that would make any parent proud.

According to a story on MSNBC, the boy was alone at his home in Worcester, Massachusetts, with orders not to leave the house. But then something moved him to the point he just had to do it. It wasn't for candy or to go meet up with a friend or anything else your typical 11-year-old might sneak out to go do, however. Instead Jared was driven by a mission of compassion.

He had heard about a wake for a local firefighter, Jon Davies, who had died in service, and wanted to pay his respects. So he made a choice, and he put on his suit and tie then rode his bike about a mile to attend the fallen firefighter's wake.

When those gathered learned he was there alone and how he got there, there was an outpouring of emotion and support for what the boy had done. There were no worries about him getting home from the wake; however, police gave an escort home, and he was invited to ride in the funeral procession.

His sense of compassion and bravery at such a young age is amazing and perhaps at least partially inspired by the fact that he lost his half-brother, who had fought in Iraq, this summer. He told The Boston Herald:

I wanted to say thanks for saving all those people. Thanks for trying so hard. We’ll all miss you. I felt very bad for him — he was going to get married. The poor guy. I kept thinking how good he was and how hard he worked.

His father was amazed to learn what his son did, and while he said they are revisiting the rules, he just can't bring himself to punish him for breaking them this time. I do wonder if Jared attempted to get a hold of his dad to ask him for help in attending or to let him know that he was going. In any case, he got there, and it meant the world to the family and firefighters gathered to mourn this hero.

Of course, there are plenty of things that could have happened to Jared along the way, but they didn't. And if he's mature enough to make such a brave decision, then my guess is he could pretty much handle himself in most situations. And ultimately, some things are just worth the risk.

Such judgement and compassion aren't things that can be taught, but hopefully are things we instill in our children through our actions and example. Telling kids it's okay to break the rules usually doesn't work, but showing them how important it is to follow their heart for the right reasons is an amazing gift to give them. Many great things in life wouldn't happen if people always followed the rules, and Jared's attendance at this funeral was one of them.

Do you teach your kids it's okay to not always follow the rules? How would you feel if your child did something like this?


Image via scazon/Flickr

behavior, boys, in the news, independence, inspiring kids

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Lucre... LucretiaMcEvil

That's not OK to me. It's still leaving the house, and the kids sounds like my nosy 13 year old neighbor. There are other ways to "show your respect". Now, that kid is going to leave the house everytime that funeral home has a service.

buffa... buffalove23

Wow did you take your ahole pill this morning or what. I feel sorry for your kids, sounds like they'll never please you.



I think its awesome what this kid did. While yes he should have called his dad, I love the respect for communication heroes he has.

nonmember avatar finnja

Well, I think I side with Lucretia on this one. A reason to break the rule and leave the house would have been: the house is on fire. Not that. Not without letting the parents know. Maybe I am a cold hearted b*** but when I was 11 the only reason to attend that would have been to 'not follow hte rules' for whatever reason I can find. I have a hard time believing this boy is so much different, really. It is not ok, he endangered himself without good reason (he could have 'attended with his heart and thoughts'.) Good that he was at least escorted home.

nonmember avatar LRenee

Well, if it were, say, my 5 year old doing such a thing, there would be a problem. But this is an 11 year old. While I hope the boy at least left a note or something, I think that what he did was wonderful. His dad sounds like he did exactly right in his response as well. Not punnishin this time, but reminding of the house rules for future reference.

I'm certainly happy to hear that thepolice escorted him home after the wake as well. Everything seems to have turned out great for everyone. The boy was safe, the firefighters family got to see an extra outpouring of support, its a happy ending.

tiny_... tiny_mama

Sure, he shouldn't have disobeyed, but I wouldn't be able to punish him either.. In fact.. I'd be damn proud.. but I'd tell him.. Next time, ask me to take you.. I'd gladly drop whatever I was doing and escort him. <3

jbafaith jbafaith

I would be proud of him too, but I would remind him of the importance of obeying the rules. However, I think it is equally important we teach our children to think, really think about each situation and weight the choices. Sometimes we too break the "rules" when it is deemed important enough to do so.

jbafaith jbafaith

Whoops typo there - oh well! Have a good day all! Be proud of your kids and let them know it!

nonmember avatar kim

Riding your bike a mile alone or with friends when I was a kid was a common occerence. Being left home alone at 11 years old or not letting my parents know where I was going, never happened

KenneMaw KenneMaw

tiny mama said it best :-)  


While it is OK to break the rules when you REALLY believe something is right, I do not know if an 11 yr old fully grasps the responsibility that goes along with making such an important decision.    If he felt SO strongly, then he shouldn't have snuck out.  He should have called an adult to ask for help.

MrsWa... MrsWalton83

Yea being a military family he wouldnt have been punished but, I would have told him that in the future to ask me like tiny_mama said!

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