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Friday, 6 September 2013

The Appropriate Attitude to Knives

I was given my first pocket knife at eight years of age, it was a small wooden handled lock knife and it was perfectly adequate for sharpening pencils, cutting string, opening boxes and all the tasks that my young mind could make up which required the use of a knife.

This was not that many years ago but I can already hear the accusations of 'irresponsible' being levelled at my parents (and at me for my recent post about my sons introduction to using a knife). But is it really irresponsible or are we denying a generation of valuable formative experiences.

Might not a child who has been given supervised access to a knife and opportunities to learn how to use it safely and creatively not have a better, safer attitude to knives than someone who has never been allowed to use one and instead has always been told they are weapons? Couple that with the prominent leisure activity of shooting, stabbing and battering virtual enemies to death on a games console and is it any wonder that young people firstly think of knives as weapons not tools?   

It would be interesting to research whether introducing the use of knives and tools to children from a younger age aids their development of fine motor skills, but unfortunately when you use popular academic search engines the first results to appear always seem to have titles like 'teen charged with having knife at school' or 'weapons carrying on school property'. Forest School initiatives are doing a fantastic job of redressing the balance and teach children how to safely use knives,  bill hooks, saws and other tools. If only there was more encouragement for children and young people to learn to use knives and tools it would surely help development of dexterity,  confidence and a sense of creativity.

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