How long can the cocoon last?
This picture caused a stir among the workshop room full of parents, day care providers and child-health professionals at a conference I presented at in February in Rhode Island.Comments included: “Just looking at that knife makes me nervous!”
“I’d never let my preschooler have a sharp knife.”
“Is she standing on a stool?“
Later, I called my nephew Sean, father of knife-wielding-3-year-old-Bree and reported the women’s response. The audience was female except for one man, who didn’t object. Sean chuckled and said, “Some of my friends’ kids live in a safety cocoon. They never touch knives, scissors or fire.”
Wow. Why deprive children learning about the power of knives, scissors and fire under a parent’s guiding hand? They must live in a sterile bubble where parents hover, ensuring Junior never encounters danger, challenge or failure.
One of the best things we can do for our children is to let them play with knives, scissors and fire – talking about and taking safety measures, teaching how to use knives and matches safely, and how to operate kitchen appliances and basement tools.
I remember the intense heat of a huge campfire my brother Danny built on a camping trip when he was 17 years old and I was 12. The four of us kids compared all subsequent campfires to that glorious blaze, created with our parents nearby, silently watching. Danny, Mary, Brian and I worked as a team to gather wood, stoke it up and make a bed of coals that lasted until morning.
When another nephew and niece visited our home a few years ago at age 16 and 11, they lamented the ban on fires at the summer community on the Chesapeake Bay. I gave them permission to build a fire on our waterfront, and they were thrilled. Fire, knives and scissor have power.
Kids need practice at living life. Practice includes risk and sharp objects and gaining confidence and competence that “I can do it.” When we make too many decisions for our children, protect them from all things lethal, and intervene when hazards lurk, how will they learn what it feels like to hold a knife and use it responsibly?
What do you think? Are your kids allowed to build a fire in the backyard, cut cantaloupe with a knife, and play with matches and candles while you’re around? How do you handle danger?Explore posts in the same categories: don't interfere, empowerment, family camping, self-confidence, You can do it comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.