You want to WHAT?


Dear Mommy DaVinchy, Mommy Einstein, and MommyMythBusters,

I feel your pain.

English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle...
English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle engine following a repair during an engine test run November 10, 2010, at the Florida Air National Guard base in Jacksonville International Airport, Fla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just spent 30 minutes in discussion the 16 year old talking about strapping jet engines to his back and creating a series of controlled explosions to have him move 20km/hr with wheels strapped to his feet. He has created the plan, done the physics and discussed the “fun factor”. Before he sourced his materials he wanted approval for his project.

After listening to his argument for Pro Jet Packs – I said no. Listing the reasons as to how it would effect me.

  1.   Being a minor, I am responsible for his well being. I did mention once he turns 21, has a job and an engineering degree – I’m cool with it.
  2.  I do not currently have the time to to be engaged in regular meetings with a social worker from Family Support services due to my lack of judgement of letting my son play with rocket fuel.
  3. I have better things to do than sit in emergency waiting for details of fractures, comas, burns and lobotomies.
  4. Financial implications. Alberta Health does offer support for stupid acts of awesome, however they do not offer a pharmaceuticals plan. I would need Extra coverage from Blue Cross and I am currently not in the position to gain coverage for above and beyond the reasonable amount required by the average citizen.
  5. I have no desire to be on Dr. Phil explaining the reasoning behind not being a parent.

You see, I have a big opinion about parenting. I shall share this public service announcement with you:

If you choose to have children and KEEP them, then you must accept ownership. Part of this ownership is to be a PARENT not a friend, pal or buddy to your child. That is not to say it is not okay to enjoy them in a friend capacity, however – get your own PEER group for extensive sharing, exuberant activities and so forth. Being the parent requires the ADULT (you) to make JUDGEMENT CALLS on the activities the minor in your care wishes to make. This includes things that are life altering (wear a helmet when you ride your bike) and remember SAFETY FIRST. It is advisable and acceptable to say NO on occasion and you do not need to give an explanation. You are the PARENT. Do not worry if your offspring is going to hate you, THEY ALWAYS DO! They hate you because you are too strict, or they hate you because you are too lenient. You can’t win – so take my advice and do the right thing. JUST SAY NO! I do however, find it helpful to explain your reasoning as to how you came to this conclusion. It is important for emerging critical thinkers to understand all the steps involved in planning.

For example:

OffSpring – it would be cool to put on a cape and jump off a 3 story building.

Mom – No it wouldn’t and here is why…

Do not be afraid of NO. Practice it in front of the mirror. Say it out loud. Get use to hearing yourself say it. Then practice it on others, not just your child. It is OKAY to say no.

If you cannot think of a good explanation as to WHY they should not do something, then one of two things is happening.

  1. Their request is reasonable
  2. You do not have the know-how to understand consequences. If this is the case, then by all means allow your offspring to attempt this outrageous request. Darwin called it survival of the fittest. Natural selection by elimination has been done by nature for years. This is how humans keep the gene pool strong and healthy.

My 16 year old ended the conversation with “Well, now I know where the line is”

Damn straight Offspring, but don’t get too comfortable, it is my prerogative to have that line be flexible and move as I as fit. After all, I AM THE PARENT!



3 thoughts on “You want to WHAT?

  1. Hmmm, does he mean a jet engine (really complicated start saving for a 5 axis precision mill) a lathe would be good too. I’d say $300,000 and you would have a start. Then get good at machining exotic metals. In this case exotic means incredibly stupidly expensive.

    If he is talking about rocket power, that is easy and fun. However attaching them to your own body leads almost inexorably to frying body parts and running around trying to put out multiple fires at once. 16 year old guys often get a bit panicky when they are on fire. Stop, drop and roll completely leaves their tiny little heads, especially when said head is on fire.

    On the other-hand rocket engine building is a family tradition or at least I built a lot of them. Some of them worked, most fizzled, and some blew up real good.

    On that note I think building rocket engines is a really good thing to do and fun for all. Bring a fire extinguisher and from personal experience I do not recommend testing in the court-yard of the school behind GG’s place.

    The cops have long memories and will instantly go to her place to pick up the new ‘usual suspects.’

    I recommend doing a bit more work on the chemistry and worry about the astro-physics once you have a working engine.

    Meanwhile you and your pals can go to Praxair Welding Supplies and get a load of dry ice for a few bucks. It, a Coke bottle and a little water make a lot of noise. Note, start out slowly and don’t poke the bottle unless you have a poky thing that is at least 8 feet long. It stings when you poke them with your Swiss Army knife while crouching over the un-exploded bottle. Ask my pal “one nut” about that!



  2. Craig said Josh’s mistake was asking for permission first. Him and his brothers used to make pipe bombs but didn’t tell their parents. Its amazing they all have there fingers and faces still attached. What is it with boys.

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