Rowan is 16

Rowan is a pretty extraordinary person.  Helpful, respectful, funny, charming, courteous, generous in spirit and deed, creative and more.  If you are a parent and your kid turns out like Rowan, everyone thinks you did a fabulous job parenting.  Yesterday, Rowan turned 16. He was 2 when i got here, so i have gotten to see him grow up.  He also occasionally plays in the  Heroes educational fantasy role playing game i facilitate, where his imagination often shines.

See fire temple behind a posing Rowan strong man

Rowan’s 16th birthday party was well attended and consisted of the right combination of barbecue, cake, presents, water balloon fights, rituals of transition and beautiful sunny day.  As a funologist two things struck me about this event.

One was the water balloon fight, which went on for quite a while and was raucously enacted. It was the careful balance of leaving numerous folks soaked and the right people dry.  This seemingly chaotic event was actually quite precisely and cleverly choreographed.  There were ropes on the ground indicating sections where you could not throw water balloons and this was explained to all the players. These boundaries were very largely respected and quickly self policing when players stepped out.

Keenan and the birthday boy making volumes of water balloons

There were several rope delineated protected zones which had observers of various types around the edges.  The other important rope protected area zone was that all of the water balloon filled buckets safe.  This means players could reload on water balloons that were floating in buckets. For this event lots of balloons were made available. Red was the main organizer.

Water balloon fight: See bucket area in foreground delineated by ropes

This is critical, because without this the best place to hit someone with a water balloon is right when they are reloading at these buckets.  By protecting this area (there were actually several different bucket stations in different parts of the Kawaeh back yard), it makes the entire game easier to play, especially for little kids [note very little kid in picture below inside the safe bucket zone], because they can grab a balloon, wait for their moment, jump out of the bucket area, throw the water balloon and then jump back into its protection again.

Rowan lights a fire w/o matches as a right of passage

The second piece which was important about the event was the fire lighting ceremony.  With only rope and two sticks and some paper Rowan created fire.  This was actually a slightly trying experience, as perhaps it is supposed to be, not succeeding the first time he tried for a while, with many people looking.  And triumphantly in the end, with much cheering from the onlookers he succeeded and burned the tower depicted behind him in the first picture of this post.

Luuk foreground w/o shirt w/ famous beet vegan cake

This was also Luuks 8th birthday he was half Rowan’s age and is famous for his request for beet based vegan birthday cake.  Luuk has a high school level of understanding about astronomy and physics.   His great grandfather won a Nobel prize, he might one day too.

If you judge a community on the character of the children it raises, this week we look good.