In this case of “When do I give my kid a knife?”, I found myself having to answer it before I was ready. Honestly, I probably should have addressed it earlier in life, but it just didn’t come up.
I didn’t get to give my kid his first knife. I missing this rite of passage. His uncle provided a small blade in the form of a gift under the tree and smiled at me when he unwrapped it.
My kid was 8 at the time, and I had to laugh at my brother who didn’t tell me anything about it prior about it. What a dick.
Uncle Rick earned some serious “cool uncle points” with his nephew, and I think it still resonates today, and it has been years. A simple little red Swiss Army knife with the tweezers, a toothpick, a nail file/cleaner and spring loaded scissors that was no bigger than your pinkie finger was a highlight gift that year. Oh, and it also had a small blade.
Here is a link to it from Victorinox Swiss Army : https://www.victorinox.com/us/en/Products/Swiss-Army-Knives/Small-Pocket-Knives/Classic/p/0.6203. My brother did this. The uncle who gives a kid a knife. What a dick.
Being a Dad
As a Dad, I knew I had to make a decision right then and there on whether or not I would allow this “side swiping” gift to stay a gift or not. I could be cool, or not cool. I had to consider that although the blade on this knife was small, it was still very sharp and could do some serious damage to a kid who doesn’t know how to handle it.
My brother watched me for the few seconds as I sat in silence while my boy looked at me for approval. It was a tense, “hold your breath moment”, but I did not drag it our too far. After about 3 seconds, I simply said, “Cool. Can I see it?” My son handed it to me, I opened it all up, looked at my brother and we shared a laugh. I handed it back to my son with my approval. He gave me a smile, and hugged his uncle. I told him, we will need to go over the safety of the knife after our traditional breakfast. This is not how I planned to give my kid a knife.
Now I know what you are thinking. I am way over protective here. Let the kid have his little knife. You might even say, “I have a much bigger knife when I was much younger!”. To all of that type of reaction, I must say this. I agree with you. Being a bit overprotective of my kids is acceptable to me. Kids are worth worrying about.
Kids have other things to distract themselves with nowadays and knifes were not part of the options available. The distractions of XBOX, YouTube, and basically anything digital consumer these little consumers. The days of sharpening sticks to a point to stab stuff, throwing rocks, and ding dong ditching seems to be relic activities of the past. I can almost image reading about these activities about the past like we read about Huck Fin and his barefoot, rafting experiences.
Today you may find yourself unable to answer this question without first being judged by the rest of the planet. Someone is going to disagree with you no matter what you say. You may say 5 years old, you may say 15 years old, and someone will say you are wrong. For me, I am going to say 8 years old is a good age to give a kid a knife. I am wrong here…..right? There are arguments on both sides.
Kids with Knives
Lets look at the people of Denmark and their approach to kids and knives. As reported by Journeyman.TV back in 2016 (see YouTube link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_2NIhXrjIQ). The documentary shows how they are able to put knives into the hands of little kids (about 4 and a half years old) with great success. They are not just leaving knives around for them to discover, but actually teaching them how to use them safely. They are not coddled, they are taught. Do a search for this type of subject and you can see that kids can successfully use knives without getting hurt, however, you can also find the opposite.
Back in 1985 a 10 year old fatally wounded himself with a knife (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4067552/). This SUCKS! This news is from 1985 though, and more recent information is not readily floating at the surface. What does come up is information about an 8 year old getting stuck with a pencil while digging in his own backpack (https://www.wilx.com/content/news/Teachers-save-boys-life-after-he-accidentally-stabs-himself-with-a-pencil-457179363.html)
Did you just laugh a little? Dick. Think about the children!
The world wants safety
I am sure there may be people who may now want to call for a safety lesson on home to handle pencils. This is the world we live in. I am not opposed to safety, but I am maybe a little more accepting that stuff happens.
In the case of the Danish people’s approach at this particular forest school, they teach that knives are different than how most look at them. It is not seen as a weapon, but more of a tool. This lesson isn’t really provided to the rest of the world. We all at some point pick up a knife and thrust it into the air in a stabbing motion, or twirl it around like a ninja, but then we calm down and we use it for our regular activities.
We may even utter the sounds of , “Yah”, “Ugh” and “MMMph”. For the most part we just open boxes from Amazon, carve apples, sharpen sticks, cut meat, cut rope, etc. We primarily end up using knifes as tools. It is how we are taught to use this type of tool that will typically result in whether or not it is used right.
Providing an answer to this question isn’t going to work for everyone. I said 8 years old works for me, and that is what I am going with. Age for an action doesn’t apply to all, but it is meant for “most”. We have laws in place that restrict the use of driving, tobaccos, guns, alcohol, voting and more. It is good that there are no such restrictions on knives……yet. BTW. If you can fight for your country and vote at 18, you should be able to have a beer at 18. That is just my opinion, but that my friends is another story.
Thanks for reading. Comment below…..or don’t.
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