On Raising Renaissance Children...

I don't spend a lot of time talking about parenting on this blog since at times it can feel a bit like "talking shop" since the truth of the matter is that my current biggest and more important job is raising and educating my children. Any crafting I fit in around that is just a sanity booster and many a personal project or dream has been put aside for now so that I can do this job to the best of my ability and not short change my children in the process.

One of my most important tasks in parenting has been to prepare my children for life "out of the nest" For me this means exposing the children to a wide variety of experiences and helping them as they learn a plethora of skills that will serve them well in life. Everything from learning to really cook ( not just heat stuff up in the microwave) to knowing how to fix plumbing or change a tire on a car. For me these items are second nature since I grew up in a "can do" house with a father who tackled each task with what seemed to me total certainty that he could deal with whatever it was that had gone wrong.
I have clear memories of one day following him up the ladder and walking across the ridge of our house roof as he hunted down a ceiling leak in our kitchen. If he was horrified when he turned around to see me there he did not let on but did caution me to watch my footing and to sit down by the chimney, " since that was a great place to watch from" he said. The view from up on the roof was wonderful and I remember feeling pretty darn special and capable getting to do something so grown up as sitting up there. After a while he let me scoot along the ridge and help him put in some flashing and a patch where he had found a place where some shingles had blown off from that famous Oklahoma wind.
It's these sort of memories to which I hold tight as I introduce my children to skills and tasks that many able bodied adults are fearful to try and at the very least seem to think that children are not capable of doing. I mean really!, these days most kids don't even have their own pocket knife! We live in a culture that tells kids to "say no to drugs" but does not trust them to carry a 1.5 inch long mini Swiss Army knife! ( yes I know that children who go to school cannot take any sort of knife or " dangerous drug" such as cough lozenges but there is still the weekend and Summer. I am talking an attitude not the piss-ant details of modern life.)
So to that end each week I hope to offer a skill building lesson that you can introduce to your child. And if I can really get my act together we might have a little give away to go with each project.
First Lesson ( Full lesson posted next week) - Using a knife in the kitchen/Using a knife in life. This would be a great time to present your child with their first Pocket knife. Small Swiss Army knives can be found at most retailers these days. And while you don't have to spend a fortune don't get one at the dollar store since the blade will not hold an edge and a dull blade is even more dangerous than a sharp one. Target has a wonderful selection in all sorts of fun colors and sizes just right for small hands. Each family has to use their best judgement about this but I feel quite comfortable starting my children when they are about 7 years old. So if you would like to work on this lesson with your child scamper off to your nearest Target and get a small pocket knife and while you are there get a small kitchen knife that will be the one they use to learn about knives in the kitchen. I suggest a paring knife ( 2-4 inch blade) with a slight saw tooth to help in getting a grip on food for your new kitchen assistant. ( HA!.. see you thought I was just so altruistic.. believe you me, when you have potatoes for 7 people to prepare you appreciate a kid who knows their way around a knife!)


CFC Flames '04 said...

Alex and Ethan already each had a knife. One from Mark's childhood and one from mine but for Christmas they each got one of their very one. They have had such fun with them and taken such good care of them that they are each getting another one for their birthdays this month. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea Maddie! My kids have all had knives, know how to do laundry, are excellent cooks and love art. Some also sew and knit and I am not just talkin' the girls! As I get ready to send my Katy off to school in a "foreign land" I have peace that she is pretty darn prepared. She was just commenting to me last night that her young adult friends are amazed at her cooking skills and she had taken for granted that everyone her age had the same skills.