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#4712 - 03/13/02 12:25 PM Re: Boys Knives
Anonymous
Unregistered


I didnít intend to keep this thread going.. after all, I did say that I didnít feel qualified to say much on the subject, not being a parent and not having been a Scout. However, the direct responses Iíve gotten seem to be responding to things I didnít say, and I need to set a couple of points straight.<br><br>The only intent of my original post was to express surprise at the age group of the kids being discussed so protectively.<br><br>I did not, for heavenís sake, criticize Scouting as a whole, or itís benefits, or intent, or the people in it. Iím sure there are valid criticisms that could be made, as there are with any organization of humans, but Iím in no position to make them. Instead, I expressed regret at never having been a Scout (actually, I was briefly a Cub Scout- but at the time that had to do with gluing macaroni to coffee can lids and weaving potholders, and even at that age I could tell the difference between useful skills and make-work).<br><br>Somehow, despite my saying that nobody gave me a knife as a kid and that I donít remember asking permission to own one, much of the response has focused on the fact that many kids donít have parents involved enough or knowledgeable enough to train their kids in such things. No doubt that's true, but it may not be relevant.<br><br>I have no need to get into the details of my upbringing, but there are some huge invalid assumptions implied here. Through most of my childhood my father was a somewhat remote and foreboding figure that worked long hours, traveled a lot, was not involved in my activities in much detail, and was not an outdoorsman. I was an only child until my early teens, so I had no brothers or sisters to emulate and follow, and the fact that we moved almost every year meant that I had no long-term friends for guidance, either. I doubt that my mother has ever spent a night outdoors in her life, and she still regards anything more robust than a brisk walk- and any knife outside a kitchen- with polite horror.<br><br>Iím sure I was never encouraged to own a knife, nor trained in the use of one. I learned it the way I learned most things in my life, by some combination of reading books and trial-and-error. Thatís how I learned camping, for instance- when in my teens I wanted to go on a camping trip with friends, I borrowed a tent, bought an army surplus sleeping bag, and went, with no experience and no knowledge, and when I got back I took my new experience and hit the library to understand what Iíd done wrong (a lot). Eventually I became an experienced camper, then backpacker.<br><br>Iím only saying this to point out that the degree of parental involvement is not the sole determinant in such things, though I can see how it might often seem so from a Scout leaderís viewpoint.<br><br>Nor am I saying that most 9-year-olds can be expected to already have these skills. My surprise was that there was discussion about giving FIRST knives and baby-step instruction to kids from 11 to ďteenagersĒ who are already involved in Scouting, and thus presumably have some interest in such things. <br><br>Maybe my experience was abnormal, but Iíd bet that in a random group of 13-year-old boys, a significant percentage might play along with such silly games while already owning, or even carrying, things youíre not aware of. I certainly did at that age, as did most guys I knew. Some things you just donít mention to adults, they tend to react irrationally.<br>

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#4713 - 03/13/02 01:56 PM Re: Boys Knives
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Good for you! Of course, we already knew you are a rare person by your presence here and interesting posts <grin>. Your points are well taken - thanks.<br><br>Scouter Tom

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#4714 - 03/13/02 08:22 PM Re: Bill Van and scout leaders
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Remember, there's nothing wrong with being a rogue, as long as you do so selectively!
_________________________
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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#4715 - 03/13/02 08:33 PM Re: Boys Knives
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Threads often take on a life of their own, especially around the campfire. ;-)<br><br>I hope you haven't taken my comments as being critical of you or anyone elses opinion or experience. It was never meant to that ta all.<br><br>I do see the gist of your point. My folks live in a rural area of Wisconsin. The neighbors kids were allowed to drive anything on the farm, whether it was a gocart, tractor, truck or bulldozer, when and only when they could reach the pedals. Believe me, this was at a much younger age than our teenagers applying for drivers permits.<br><br>The environment my kids grow up in would not tollerate or support such application of measurement. The farm has much fewer fenders and mailboxes to dent or knock down. It is restrictive, and I lament that to some degree. But there are practical reasons for many of these unwritten guidelines. But then, all but my youngest, who can'treach the pedals, drive Grandpa's tractor when we visit them.<br><br>
_________________________
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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#4716 - 03/13/02 11:07 PM Re: Boys Knives
Anonymous
Unregistered


No, no.. no offense taken, and I didnít mean to imply that there was. Nor do I have a problem with you, or anyone else, being critical of my opinions- that's part and parcel of making them public, after all- Iíd just rather the opinions being criticized are the ones I actually hold. I just felt that my original post was being misconstrued. For one thing, I didnít want to be seen as critical of the BSA.<br><br>I understand your analogy, and I agreeÖ to a large extent, I feel that I was brought up in an environment that was more isolated, protected and sterile than was good for me, and it seems that the problem has gotten generally worse with each generation since. No, kids cannot do the things that were possible generations ago, nor can kids in an urban/suburban environment do the things that kids in a rural environment can. For the most part, I think they'd be better off if they could.<br><br>The post-war, post-Levittown suburban Mom and Dad's Utopia that we built has just never accommodated older kids very well- it wasnít designed for them, and they come to know that. Before this new environment designed them out of the picture, teenagers were not regarded as a problem, as a groupÖ they werenít much regarded as a ďgroupĒ at all. I don't really blame the parents that much. Since the agricultural revolution parents have always been primarily occupied with providing, and now with our reduced standard of living (in real terms) of recent decades, everyone who can work, has to work, just to keep a household going. Still, itís worth remembering that before WWII, and before we exiled them to vacation or retirement or nursing homes, most families included grandparents that took over a lot of the teaching load. I think thatís a big missing factor.<br><br>On the other hand, the kids themselves are not inherently much different from generation to generation, or from the city to the country. They have the same active, starved minds, and the same curiosity, and that curiosity WILL find ways to be satisfied, sterile environment or no- itís just that the more sterile the environment, the more ingenuity it will require. Perhaps itís just my age speaking, but I find the notion of an active, normal boy who hasnít explored his curiosity as to how something as basic as a knife works by his 13th year.. somewhat unlikely. Iím a bit skeptical, is all. <br>

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#4717 - 03/13/02 11:36 PM Re: Boys Knives
johnbaker Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 384
Loc: USA
Presumed,<br><br>Thanks for livening up the discussion!<br><br>By the way, I had my first pocket knife at age 5. I hunted unsupervised at 12. I bought my own motorcycle at 14 (offroad only till 15 1/2 & permitted). I didn't become an old fuddy duddy until I had kids of my own. Something change then. But I still want them to be able to do the same kinds of things I did--I just want to be sure they're trained right & doing them carefully, at least during their formative starter years (while I still have a chance to help).<br><br>Regards,<br><br>John

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#4718 - 03/14/02 12:23 AM Re: Boys Knives
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for the kind words.... I think they were kind words. I suppose "rare person" could cover a lot of possibilities... :-)

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#4719 - 03/14/02 12:37 AM Re: Boys Knives
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Willie,<br><br>Emery cloth is made with a fine grained impure aluminum oxide (maybe garnet?). It would be OK, I think. Try it out and see how it works. It's a classic for polishing metal, so it should work.<br><br>The wet-or-dry paper I was refering to is black - silicone carbide is the abrasive (harder than emery). As for grits, try combos of 220 and 320, 320 and 400, 320 and 600 - those are just suggestions. Contact cement seems to work fine.<br><br>It seems to me that the aluminium oxide papers loose the grit faster than the silicone carbide papers. If the silicone carbide paper is used wet (water), it seems to last a long long time. Funny thing - when grinding tool bits, I use aluminum oxide for tool steels and silicone carbide for carbide bits... but that's my experience with sandpaper for sharpening; the silicone carbide works better for me.<br><br>3M makes diamond dust sand paper, BTW - I bet it's spendy...<br><br>Regards,<br><br>Tom

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#4720 - 03/14/02 03:43 AM Re: Boys Knives
Anonymous
Unregistered


Here, here. <br><br>While part of why I was never a scout was the theo-political aspect of the local troops (all run by christian fundementalists who turned them into prayer meetings- I'd sooner stick my hand in a nest of Amazonian army ants), the big part was that what parts of BSA aren't taken over by fundementalists seemed to have been taken over by mother-may-I's who were used to city living and having thier thinking done for them. <br><br>I know I was different than most kids, but by the time most kids in scouting are getting permission to use pocket knives, I'd been using fixed bladed knives for years and carried one outside of school one a daily basis. I'd used saws and axes and machetes and even some power tools- HORRORS!! <br><br> If you raise kids without sheltering them from everything, you might be suprised at how young they are when they are ready for responsability. And that isn't just me- it's most of human history. A hundred years ago, unless you were a city-kid and thus retarded by your enviroment, you knew about things like knives and guns and dealing with your dinner outside of a convient wrapper by the time you were 7 or 8. <br><br>No offense to the scouters on this list, but unless I've failed to notice that the generation behind me is full of developmentally delayed kids, you really are insulting thier intelligence. Treat them with respect, give them some REAL responsability (not simple stuff like taking out the trash, but something where risks are real and right there in front of them, be it going hungry or cold for a night, or getting cut or burned or maybe even letting them break a bone), and let them learn on the real thing rather than dulled and safetified junk, and you get kids who can take care of themselves when it isn't a text book situation that has a simple, rote-learning solution. <br><br>And before anyone mentions me not having kids, you're right. But my nephew is 4, and his dad and I have taken him on the range (he is only allowed to handle empty brass and amgazines at this point, though), he knows knife and gun safety, and he's helped to clean deer and seen it go from being fuzzy to lunch. He knows how and when to use a saw and a hammer, and has learned how to spend a night in the woods if he has to. He's had his state mandated testing, and those say he's stronger, smarter and healthier than the other kids his age. He's coming up like my siblings and I did, and we tested the same way when were that age. <br><br>Stop treating young adults like kids, and they will become adults rather than little kids in adult bodies. It wasn't that long ago that a 14 or 15 year old was considered to be something of an adult and ready and able to be treated like one, by themselves and the world.

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#4721 - 03/14/02 03:59 AM Re: Boys Knives
Anonymous
Unregistered


John, I hate to disagree with you, but most 9 year olds who haven't been ubanified can handle a knife safely. By that age, I was using hatchets and machetes and hammers on real nails.<br><br>Of course, that means that they have to know how to think through a problem rather than brute force it or ask someone to think for them, becuase you have to think about what you are doing, and not be a total couch potato. Maybe do something boring and not very high tech that builds strength, like stacking wood or shoveling the deck or raking leaves. Build a tree house or help redo the deck. That kind of thing.<br><br>Of course, city kids get screwed out of all of that. And I really do pity them.<br><br>(And yes, I do have a bias against people who think living a concrete cave behind a triple locked door is natural, and think meat starts off in a styrofoam tray. One of the problems with America is that most folks are born, raised and living urban areas, and thus never really get to meet the real world.)

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