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Jason Jarvis: ‘Try to teach your children that fire is a tool. It is not a toy. Very bad things can happen’

Jason Jarvis smiles into the camera. He is wearing a gray quarter zip and a backward baseball cap.
Becca Newton
/
KBIA

Jason Jarvis spoke with the Missouri on Mic team at Paquin Towers in Columbia in March.

He spoke about fire safety and how guardians can have meaningful and helpful conversations about safety with kids – especially heading into the 4th of July holiday.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

Jason Jarvis: The number one thing – the reason why I came down here and choose to speak – this is something that inspires me very much, and that is to help teach children and teenagers about safety, and the choices that they make in life every day.

Because unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand that there are consequences with every choice that they make, and if it's a poor choice, then it's gonna be more than likely a poor consequence that you have to live with.

And there's just a lot of things that have changed my life growing up.

I would have to start with – when I was three years old, I was playing with a Zippo lighter, and I caught our house on fire and it burnt me pretty bad.

As you can see here, it’s pretty much on the right side of my body, the right side of my face and my head.

"But if you can speak to them in a way where it's a comfort zone or a comfort level, then in their mind, it makes them start to get educated or to understand why they're being told to do something."
Jason Jarvis

It’s just something that always made me feel uncomfortable being around other children my age growing up because I had scars and I didn't know how they were viewing me or looking at me.

But as I got older and learnede to accept myself and understood that people were accepting and look at me just for my scars – I have something that I wanted to share with other families when there have young children, when they're teaching them things.

Try to teach your children that fire is a tool. It is not a toy, and it's not meant to be used as a toy because very bad things can happen.

And I was just very fortunate to be able to live through it, and to be able to have surgeries and everything to change the way I use my arms and hands.

It's just something that I would hate – to see other children think that fire is a toy, and a lot of parents can take the mystery out of fire play by, once again, teaching those children that fire is meant to be used as a tool, it is not meant to be used as a toy.

Just speak with them in a way where they feel like they're being yelled or actually in trouble for doing something because then it's just gonna make the child angry and make them want to go behind their parents back and then go do the same thing that they have gotten in trouble for.

But if you can speak to them in a way where it's a comfort zone or a comfort level, then in their mind, it makes them start to get educated or to understand why they're being told to do something.

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.