The First Pocket Knife
In the big city, the only assumed reason for carrying a knife is a nefarious and dangerous one. That is where I am from. Now, I’ve heard stories of days-of-old when my father used to do dangerous and difficult things as a child—one of those things was to carry a pocket knife. An afternoon of nothing could quickly turn into whittling a new toy, building a fort, or skinning a fresh fish caught with nothing but a piece of fishing line and a homemade hook.
My children will be raised much differently than I was myself, by the very nature of entering time travel. We are in the year 1963 in our small town. Okay, not really, but everyone you see in the grocery store knows your name, the third grade teacher in the public school is the Sunday School teacher in your church, and kids know that old-fashioned wholesome mischief will result in multiple phone calls to Mama. So in the year of 1963, it’s not a stretch too far that my little boy might get a pocket knife for his sixth birthday.
Now, I wanted to screech that he’s too young. My husband casually perused the knives at our local sporting goods store with our son who decided that his best friend, Pooh Bear, needed that knife. What irony. A stuffed animal needs an emblem of manhood, a rite of passage to demonstrate his…Poohness.
On a solo trip to the same sporting goods store, my husband ran into one of my closest friends who happens to be a mother to three boys herself. “Oh, six years old,” she gushed, “that’s when my oldest son got his first knife! It’s a big occasion!” So quite evidently, imaginary friend or not, I have been overruled. In a later conversation, she gave me the ins and outs of this test of adolescence. I want to share these with you.
Rule #1: Make it the first gift. And wrap the snot out of subsequent gifts so that he can demonstrate his instant manliness by allowing him to test out that new prize.
Rule #2: Casually have an old block of wood or stick conveniently lying in the corner. “What is that stick doing, mom?” “Oh, that stick? Oh, I was just rearranging a few things, and…who wants another piece of cake?” Let the whittling commence.
Rule #3: Have a special place. “The problem isn’t cutting off a finger. It’s finding the knife. This is an excellent time to start the “it’s your personal belonging—don’t ask me where it is!” rule! Okay, age 2 is a good time to start that rule, but this is a great time to reinforce it.
Rule #4: Only use it with Mom & Dad. For now. One day, there will be independence with this great gift. That time (especially with 2 curious little toddlers in the house) is not now.
Update: 1 Month Later.
No amputated fingers, and overall a good experience. We had the knife for a week, lost it for two. Found it again, and lost it again. So I’d say that you may need to seriously consider rule #3 if you are consider this gift at this age. There is a lot of drama associated with a lost pocket knife!
In spite of the woes of lost things, there has been nothing sweeter than watching my younger son wistfully admire his older brother again-- and watching my proud six year old meet that challenge by showing his brother the “ins and outs” of knife ownership!
Sharons note: I absolutely LOVE this article. It rings so true of just what happened at my house. My oldest son received his first pocket knife at 6 yrs old as well.
Like Chaya I also had younger siblings running around at the time my 6yo received his knife... so an additional rule we had is that if EVER the knife was found lying around... it was confiscated and stored on daddy's dresser. I was a stickler on this one. I could not risk my 2 yo getting his hands on his big brothers knife.
Anyone else have a son who received his first pocket knife at around 6 yrs old? I wonder if this is a common age. Click below and leave a comment.