Don't Play with Matches... a Life-Threatening Instruction!

By Susan Ford Collins

A sales manager at Kimberly-Clark told me a story that tragically reinforces the danger of giving not instructions, especially to kids. Three months before my seminar, Kevin and his wife Barbara had left their son Bobby with a babysitter. As they pulled on their coats, Kevin heard Barbara say, “Don’t play with matches while we’re out. Promise me that you won't.” Kevin thought it was strange because Bobby was afraid of striking matches but they were late so he didn't say anything then.

In the car, Barbara told Kevin she'd seen a show on TV that afternoon about children setting fires while they were staying with sitters. Those scenes of badly-burned, heavily-bandaged kids kept playing over and over in her mind so she felt she had to say something to protect their son. Kevin said he understood.

They enjoyed dinner and headed home. When they turned into their street, they saw fire trucks on their lawn. Their son had followed her not instruction. Hehad played with matches and set fire to the drapes! The sitter called 911 and Bobby was rushed to the hospital where he was being treated for life-threatening burns.