As argument rages between progressives and traditionalists, there have been widespread calls for better research into the question of whether young children should have the opportunity to experiment with sharp knives. Amazingly, no large scale, government funded research has been conducted into this vital question.
The progressive camp insists that the time has come to reject the prejudices of the past, and allow children to discover for themselves the properties of knives, as well as other kitchen implements such as food blenders and kettles. They are disgusted with the narrow minded assertions of the traditionalist camp that it is just common sense to provide the young and inexperienced with carefully controlled instruction under adult authority before allowing them to use such implements independently.
One educational expert commented, “These people claim, without the slightest bit of research evidence, that knives should not be made available to young children to experiment with. They have the temerity to appeal to common sense! They need to stop restricting children’s activities unless they can provide conclusive evidence that it is necessary to do so.”
It seems that the practice of placing sharp knives within the reach of young children is growing in popularity, following the runaway success of a YouTube video created by Sir Chris Bobbins, in which he points out that the adult world has been tyrannically restricting the creativity of the young. He gives convincing evidence of this, by showing that a three year old can think of thousands of uses for a sharp knife, whereas a thirty year old can barely manage half a dozen. Clearly the abundant imagination of children needs to be allowed to flower more fully. As another progressive thinker has memorably said, the ‘greatest resource we have in our kitchens is the children’s imagination’.
Despite such convincing arguments and the lack of any conclusive research evidence for restricting the availability of sharp knives, there remain a significant minority of naysayers who insist that it has been the practice of the human race throughout history to train the young under adult supervision. They even consider adult authority to be paramount in the kitchen, thus preventing our young people from developing into independent minded citizens who can question the powerful.
These people really need to understand that appealing to the past in such an unthinking way will never convince the modern, forward-thinking person of the twenty-first century. The burden of proof should surely rest upon those who would stifle the creativity of the young, not upon those who are determined to liberate it.