Bear Grylls: ‘Children should be allowed to play with knives’

The adventurer champions recreational knife use, despite the fact the tactic left his own six-year-old with ‘blood pouring everywhere’

Making mistakes can teach some of life’s greatest lessons. But is accidentally cutting yourself and leaving blood pouring everywhere because you’re too young to know how to use a knife properly really one of them?

Yes, is the answer, according to TV adventurer Bear Grylls, who thinks parents should encourage their children to play with blades because it’s “empowering” for a developing mind to learn how to do something dangerous safely.

“Sometimes in life we get cut,” he said, adding that a “mega-sharp penknife” is a great thing to bestow upon a young man. Like his son, Huckleberry (real name), who is six. 

“My six-year-old recently cut himself on a knife, and came in with blood pouring everywhere, but, you know what? He’s not cut himself again.”

“He learned how to handle a knife,” Grylls, who is also the father of a child named Marmaduke, eight, and Jesse, 10.

“When I say to budding adventurers, ‘Listen – a blunt penknife is a dangerous knife. Make sure it’s really sharp’ – the kids’ faces light up. Like all kids, they want a mega-sharp penknife – great, but teach them to respect it and use it properly.

“Two hundred years ago, I doubt there was a six-year-old in Britain who couldn’t start a fire with a knife and a flint. It would be like a six-year-old today using a fork to pick up a fishfinger. Kids were taught to be resourceful and practical.”

Scout's Honour: Chief Scout of The Scout Association, Bear Grylls salutes the Queen and Prince Phillip in 2012 Scout's Honour: Chief Scout of The Scout Association, Bear Grylls salutes the Queen and Prince Phillip in 2012 He went on to tell the Radio Times that children must be taught “how to embrace and manage risk” by their parents.

“There is risk everywhere, even when you go out on the street. So if you teach kids to dodge risk, you totally disempower them.

“You empower kids by teaching them how to do something dangerous, but how to do it safely.”

Far from being raised by wolves, Grylls actually enjoyed a traditional education, attending famous private boys school Eton, near Windsor.

If he was in charge there, however, he says his curriculum would include practical skills, like fire lighting, knot tying, using knives and building rafts. Presumably wedged somewhere between Latin and Trigonometry.

It might be worth adding at this point that Grylls, who is, of course, the Chief Scout of The Scout Association, has his own range of knives on sale, which he markets as “the ultimate survival gear”.

The collection, sold via his website, features a number of different products, from fixed blades to Swiss Army-style pen knives and folding sheath knives.

Grylls is currently hot on the promotional trail of his new Channel 4 programme, The Island, which he’s described as “Lord of the Flies meets Bear Grylls meets Darwin’s survival of the fittest”.

In it, 13 men are marooned on an idyllic – but deadly – desert island and challenged to survive for a month.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before