Even Boy Scouts are wimping out these days
This hasn't spread to the U.S. yet, but across the pond the British Scout Association is banning pen knives except in rare circumstances. The ban is supposed to combat what they say is a growing "knife culture." What's next? No more campfires because of arsonists?
It was thanks to the Boy Scouts that I first realized I was hovering and babying my son too much. When he was in the Cub Scouts in third grade I was horrified that they actually required us to buy an 8 year old a sharp knife so he could earn a Whittling Chip. When the older men in my family fondly recalled getting their first knife at that age and I saw how thrilled my son was about the idea, I realized I was a hoverer. It soon occurred to me that it's far better to teach a child how to use a potentially dangerous tool safely than to simply ban any sharp edges from his life. It was my first moment of crossing over from protecting him from danger to teaching how to deal with danger.
It made me start to notice how often we are cutting off kids from valuable opportunities to learn how to be creative, confident and in control of the environment with all our hovering and cushioned table corners. People don't let their kids walk to school or play outside without an escort. Now add one of the cooler Scouting badges to the list and it seems like parents are just out of control.
Over at Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids blog, which encourages parents to park their helicopters, she put this story up as the Outrage of the Week. "While apparently carrying a fold-up knife whose blade is shorter than 3 inches is still actually legal, the Scout Association nonetheless recommends that 'knives should be carried to and from meetings by an adult and must not be carried around campsites,' Skenazy writes, her pen dripping with sarcasm, "Maybe Scouts should be carried to and from meetings by an adult, too?"
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne