This morning I read an article off the internet. You can read it for yourself here, but the part that caught my attention most was when the author talked about allowing our children to take risks. This resonates with me because it has become a bit of a theme in my world recently.
A few months ago my husband got it in his head that it was time, and began teaching our son how to use a pocket knife. I was uncomfortable with this, but I decided to trust my husband, after all, having a man who wants to spend extra time with my son is a huge blessing and I don’t want to do anything to discourage their bonding. (This isn’t just a story about allowing my son to take risks, but being confident in my husbands judgement as a parent as well–oh goodness.)
Thankfully, my husband had a truly genius plan. (Can you hear my pride? Because honestly, I am truly impressed with him. Marry a good man, there’s my best advice.)
First Adam, (my husband) would let our son carry a pocket knife with him all day long. The rule was that he had to keep it in his pocket and not play with it. When Adam got home from work he would ask our boy, “where’s the knife?” and Cy (our son) would pull it out of his pocket and hand it back to his father, full of pride that he had kept the knife safe all day, done the job he had promised, and had this special project from his dad.
Seriously, the positive learning aspects of this plan cannot be over stated.
If Cy ever did anything hurtful, like hit his sister, Adam would take the pocket knife away, explaining that hitting out of anger was irresponsible and proof that Cy wasn’t ready for a knife just yet. Over those few months Cy not only got used to carrying a knife in his pocket, but He and Adam would also practice whittling sticks in our yard. It was bonding, it was responsibility, it was smart (wish I would’ve thought of it myself).
So, for Christmas this year Adam bought our 5 year old son his first pocket knife.
This was a rather big deal for me. Like I said, I didn’t interfere with this parenting moment for my husband, but, my baby-boy was going to own a knife? Think of all the things that could go wrong…
I mean, look at all those sharp edges!! AHHHH!!
But, like I said, the boys had done their homework. Cy knows how to hold and open this knife, he understands that he ALWAYS has to ask before he uses it, and he knows that if he isn’t responsible he will have it taken away.
Still, it does scare me. I have to fight the urge to say “NO” every time he asks if he can use it.
I knew this would be difficult for me, so I got him a little gift of my own.
I found these adorable crayons at a tiny kiosk, and once I realized that there was really no way to sharpen them without whittling, I knew we had to get them. This way, when my son asks if he can use his pocket knife I can actually give him a task, (sharpening) and give him an easy stopping point, (once they are, in fact, sharp). So far, it is working out well.
Like I said, it isn’t something I would have thought of, (which is one reason why father’s are so important–but that is a topic for another day), but I am definitely happy that Adam did. Our boy is THRIVING with this new responsibility and has so much pride that his parents trust him with something dangerous.
Even if his mom is more or less faking her trust.
The real lesson in all of this is that both my son and my husband have benefitted from my choice to let them take some risks.
Their relationship has deepened.
It has given them a task to work on together.
My son is learning, from a very young age, how to be responsible, and safe, and that his parents trust him.
All good things.
And during this process his mother has learned to hold her tongue, and pray.