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Storyteller
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Discussion Starter #1
I like bushcraft activities, but I'm not a real fan of wood smoke.

To be honest, I mostly cook over a stove while outside. Not only easier and what with all the burn bans – well, it's just easier.
OTOH, being able to make a fire under trying circumstances is certainly a survival requirement of the first stripe.
So, I have been working with my oldest grandson.

The now not so little guy is now old enough to demonstrate the needed responsibility to carry/use a pocketknife and such. This also presents the opportunity for some lessons – the very first being that that responsibility must be demonstrated over time to build and earn trust. While trust must be earned, it can help build into greater relationships...

To make a fire requires some effort to gather materials, after all, not just anything will do. This offers a chance for not only a lesson in gathering fire making materials, but also a lesson in making choices and how the choices made will have a real impact on an outcome.

Tools are needed to prepare, lay and make a fire.
So my grandson now has a pocket knife (SAK). With that, we assembled a 'fire kit'. This went into a small tin that is easily carried.

As before, a lesson can be had on both the safe way to sharpen a knife and why working to keep your tools protected and in top shape is important. A person's mind is a tool, school and study is but one way to keep it sharp as well.

Lessons on different types of tinder and how they work offers a chance to carefully explain how using alternatives to reach a goal vs 'just one correct' way to do things shouldn't be missed.

Then, there is actually starting the fire.
Not with matches or lighter (tho I ensure he has both). I've taught him how to start a fire with flint and steel. You know - Old School, the hard way.

And knowing the hard way that might just save your life when all the technology goes poof... Harder isn't always better, sometimes it's just…harder. Still, you should at least know the hard way to do things. In that, finding or learning an easier way is seen as worth the time and trouble to learn.

Starting a fire with flint and steel offers a lesson in perseverance and is a real life skill that has a reward that can be seen immediately, when fully mastered. This immediacy is important to young people, for they lack the experience that tells them work leads to reward in real life.

The other lesson to this, hard or nearly impossible things can or may, actually become easy (or at least easier) with practice. Practice is essential in so many other things in life as well.

Finally, keeping a fire going is a continuing process. Just like a relationship – it has to be fed, cared for and always monitored if it is provide the warmth you seek. Monitored, because if it gets out of control, it can destroy so much – and even take your life and the lives of others. So a related lesson is that useful things can become dangerous if care is not used…..

Starting a fire. Such a simple thing. Mundane. And yet, so full of lessons for a young person.
 

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I never really used flint and steel with my kids, but the principles are the same. We did use a ferrocerium rod and both natural and man-made tinder. Even still, it’s an exercise is perseverance, concentration, and attention to detail. I always go back to the most important basics of the simplest ignition systems: the tinder and fire preparation. If you get your kindling and larger fuel collected, organized, and kept dry and spend the time to prepare your tinder, getting (and keeping) a fire going is much, much easier.

I like your analogies to life; I used very similar ones. Many of my own life-lessons were learned from outdoors activities.

how old is your GRANDSON mine is 6 and was wondering when your`s got his 1st knife
I can’t speak for DKR, but both my kids were gifted a Mora Clipper fixed blade and a small Benchmade Mini-Griptilian folding knife (later on they both got SAK Huntsmans). I spent extra and had a custom Kydex sheath made with the addition of a Scout firesteel holder added.

I bought a half-dozen Mora Clippers in case they broke or lost theirs (never happened). I also used the carbon steel versions as it was quite apparent with they didn’t take care of their knives. We also used them to learn the basics of knife safety, sharpening, and knife maintenance. I still have both of them as my kids have grown and moved on or upgraded their own kit…they will be used for future grandchildren or our “adopted” boys from my wife’s niece who is more like another daughter.

As to when they’re ready? Tough call and it depends on the child. My daughter received her knife when she was 10 years old; my son was six. Firearms, knives, and fire are incredible tools to teach respect, responsibility, and safety. With good supervision, the younger the better…

ROCK6
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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The other bit of fire wisdom as extended to relationships.
2 logs are required, close enough to keep the other warm, but distant enough to allow the fire to breathe.
 

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I went to Walmart, bought s box of starter logs and chopped them each into 1x1x1 cubes, then put 7-8 of them into each ziplock sandwich bag with a lighter. When they all finally had a bic lighter each, I did it again. Each cube starts a fire. I have the ziplocks in a 2.5 gallon ziplock storage bag, many of them. I am doing it again next month.

Thats a trade item.....or a gift.
 

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My Grandson started with a "safety knife" (a cheap, blunted, dull folder) at @4 years old. He practiced whittling on a bar of soap sitting between my legs until he could move on. BB, he went into the Cub Scouts and earned his "Whittlin Chit".

I always used flint and steel to teach the basics of fire building and to show how each leg of the Triad joined up to make a fire.
 

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Storyteller
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Discussion Starter #10
I never really used flint and steel with my kids, but the principles are the same. We did use a ferrocerium rod and both natural and man-made tinder. Even still, it’s an exercise is perseverance, concentration, and attention to detail. I always go back to the most important basics of the simplest ignition systems: the tinder and fire preparation. If you get your kindling and larger fuel collected, organized, and kept dry and spend the time to prepare your tinder, getting (and keeping) a fire going is much, much easier.

I like your analogies to life; I used very similar ones. Many of my own life-lessons were learned from outdoors activities.



I can’t speak for DKR, but both my kids were gifted a Mora Clipper fixed blade and a small Benchmade Mini-Griptilian folding knife (later on they both got SAK Huntsmans). I spent extra and had a custom Kydex sheath made with the addition of a Scout firesteel holder added.

I bought a half-dozen Mora Clippers in case they broke or lost theirs (never happened). I also used the carbon steel versions as it was quite apparent with they didn’t take care of their knives. We also used them to learn the basics of knife safety, sharpening, and knife maintenance. I still have both of them as my kids have grown and moved on or upgraded their own kit…they will be used for future grandchildren or our “adopted” boys from my wife’s niece who is more like another daughter.

As to when they’re ready? Tough call and it depends on the child. My daughter received her knife when she was 10 years old; my son was six. Firearms, knives, and fire are incredible tools to teach respect, responsibility, and safety. With good supervision, the younger the better…

ROCK6
For a folder, I'd say 8 Y/O is good. For the advanced flint and steel striker, about 10/11Y?o simply due to eye/hand coordination.
 
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