Ben Fogle is a British newscaster, writer, and adventurer. He recently came under a bit of social-media flak when admitted that he encourages his kids to play with knives and fire. The children, 5 and 7 have owned their own whittling knives “for years now”.
‘One of the reasons that we are all so obsessed with fire is that when we are children we’re told to, ‘stay clear of fire, don’t take that match, fire is dangerous’,’ he explains.
‘We have this slight fascination with it. But that’s when problems come. Suddenly in later life, when you can start playing with fire, that’s when all sorts of disasters happen.’
He justifies his stance further by saying that ‘banning’ certain things early in life will often lead to a disproportionate obsession: ‘If you start from an early age and it doesn’t become something unknown, it loses its lustre and suddenly fire is, “whatever, I can start a fire by rubbing wood together, or with a match or a magnifying glass”. It loses its mystery.’
I firmly believe in the notion of “forbidden fruit”. The phenomenon holds true for knives and firearms. Same for alcohol. This is one area where the Europeans get it right. Wine and beer are accompaniments to the meal, and it is not uncommon for children to be poured a small glass alongside their parents.
Teach your children to respect, not fear, all things which can harm them. Show them that they can achieve mastery over that which can be misused. They will be better off for it.
Kudos to Mr. Fogle for bucking the trend and trying to help Britain retain the prefix “Great”.