The former Boy Scout had another idea in mind: He wanted to see if he could burn holes in a newspaper.
He told his dad, Justin Parson, that he and his brother Ashton would be in the driveway of their McKinney, Texas, home trying to start a fire as they had seen their Idaho relatives do one summer on a family vacation.
“Growing up, that’s what we did,” Justin Parson told The Washington Post.
The 44-year-old creative director said he didn’t have many reservations about what his children were doing because he knew from his own experience that igniting a fire with a magnifying glass could be pretty difficult.
“The trick with a magnifying glass is you can burn and scorch stuff, but it’s actually really hard to start a fire,” he said.
But his sons were able to get a flame with ease, which then turned into five minutes that the family of seven will likely never forget, he said.
The boys marveled at how hot the newspaper got until wind came along, causing the lit newspaper to blow out of Ashton’s hand and onto the dry, brown Texas grass.
As soon as the kids yelled about the blaze, family members rushed outside in their matching Christmas pajamas to do whatever they could to contain it.
Blankets and buckets of water helped contain the fire to their yard.
They were initially terrified by what they had just experienced, Justin Parson said. Eight-year-old Brady was “beside himself,” he said.
The boys are banned from starting any more fires and are charged with caring for the lawn in the spring.
Nissa-Lynn Parson, an interior decorator who often works at home, said she’s grateful no one was hurt and that their home wasn’t damaged from her sons’ experiment.