Educating your children for life ... on the proper use, care and attention needed when using real life tools !
Look to any tribe in the developing world and you’ll see children that are barely able to walk, using knives, bows and arrows, climbing trees, swimming in rivers etc. One of the main reasons why they have fewer accidents is because everyone around them has given them faith in their own ability - the ability to preserve themselves.
In the 'developed' world, it amazes me how little faith we have in our children’s abilities.
Today, our experience suggests that the more you tell your child that THEY CAN’T or that THEY MUST NOT without taking the time to explain the reason or the commonsense need for caution, the more likely they are NOT to do as you say. If you take a short cut and instead of looking to educate them, you look to instill doubt and fear, the more likely it is that your child will not respond in the way that you would expect them to.
Stop and think for a minute and see what approach you really feel is best. Humans have always had a strong sense of self preservation. In a child, this is a valuable instinct if you don’t over-ride it with any of your own unresolved deep seeded fears, particularly when looking to train them in the proper use of knives. This is a 'life skill that EVERYONE should know and appreciate'.
In educating for life, my question for now might be ...
how young is too young to introduce a child formally to a knife ?
First lets agree on one thing. No one has ever advocated that you should give a young child a knife with no training and walk away. NO, NEVER, EVER ! Seriously this does not happen. If you believe that it might, do something, because if you don't, you are not a responsible adult.
The answer to my question, how young ? - needs to be put into a context. To my mind, children will live up to your expectations and my experience suggests that you could begin to educate your child on the use of knives and the necessary etiquette around knives from a very early age - starting at two to three years of age, depending on your circumstances.
Later, at age three or four, you could teach them to accomplish specific tasks using a knife. For example, you could encourage them to use a small one sided 'pearing' knife to cut their food. In this way, under the close supervision of a responsible adult, children will not cut themselves. Any extra time and care you take at this stage of their development will help build your relationship with them as you look to teach them a life skill that everyone should know and appreciate.
Waiting until they come of age - is it already too late ?
In a recent MORI Survey for the Youth Justice Board in the UK, they found that 29% of Secondary School-children, along with 57% of those excluded admitted to routinely carrying knives. They also found that Hospitals reported a rise in ‘stab wounds’ particularly among young males!
'A knife, a cutting edge has many uses in our everyday lives ... '
Education is the key. It is so easy for knowledge to be lost from one generation to the next because of cultural, political or legal changes
The reasons recorded in this survey for
carrying knives included:
- Fear and/or for self-protection/defence.
- To steal, by threats to harm (often to fund a drug habit).
- Harass, intimidate or even for ‘kicks’
- Peer pressure.
- To command ‘Respect’ and status
Reacting to this survey, the media in the UK rush to discuss the merits of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and talk about the need to strengthen Schools’ powers to tackle ’violent crime’ by enabling the screening of pupils using ’Arch’ and ’Wand’ Metal Detectors.
As a society, why do we react in this way when we know that this approach is lopsided and will not help us educate our young ?
How different was the approach called Sloyd developed in Finland back in 1865 and promoted worldwide by Sweden - in particular by a committed Jewish educator named Otto Salomon, until the early 1900's ?
This approach taught children how to use knives as tools rather than weapons. The term Sloyd originally meant skillful, specifically as it related to woodworking craft. "The objects that the child makes are as useful as those made by the carpenter; but, unlike the work of the carpenter, the value of the child’s work does not exist in them, but in the child that made them."
The use of knives in our everyday lives - education is the key
Many readers of Knives.com have been raised on farms where hunting, fishing and many chores were part of their daily lives. Today, they look to family members who have moved to live in larger towns and cities to try and understand how others have arrived at the position where they believe that ... "People who carry knives put themselves as well as others at serious risk of injury. Those caught in possession of a knife in a public place and with no reasonable excuse can expect to be prosecuted."
On one side of the debate, we have people who concentrate on the statistics around knife crimes. They point to what they feel is the 'obvious' - that teenagers must be stopped from carrying knives. They talk about the reasons for carrying knives, as self-perpetuating, and a dangerous trend with horrific consequences.
On the other side, you have people who actively research and look to educate young people through progressive and enlightened school programmes.
To me, school programmes that look to give a 'balance', that seek to educate teenagers and young adults about using knives should be encouraged. If we can educate people, not just children, then I believe society will have a better future.
>>> See also how Angelina Jolie risked public censure because she bought her son a knife.