Crossbows and pencils and electrical tape, oh my!

Today, a friend of K’s came over and taught my children how to make a crossbow.

Had you asked me when I was 12 or 13 if I thought teaching children to make crossbows was a good idea, I would probably have said no. I was a cautious child, after all, and a conscientious babysitter, and the idea of intentionally arming my charges would have been more than a little scary. Someone could shoot an eye out, after all.

Had you asked me later, when I was 19 or so and had been working for the museum for a while, I’d have given a knee-jerk “No!” followed by a curious inward smile as I started to ponder whether it could be done easily, what materials could be used, and if Richard (a co-worker who was also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and worked at making himself chainmail armour during breaks) might happen to have a real crossbow floating around his apartment, perhaps sharing a wall with his sword. Or at least a working reproduction.

And if he’d teach me how to make one.

Just out of curiosity, of course.

Had you asked me when my kids were infants, I’d have said “Heck no!” and probably never have let you babysit. Ever. Not that I was overprotective of my babies or anything.

But today… today, when S showed up on our doorstep with a tiny catapult he built with the help of this book (which has been on my Amazon wishlist for a few months):

wearing a very big grin (and I do mean collosally big – I swear his smile went beyond ear to ear!)…

When he said “I got a new book and it is so cool!  I made a crossbow! Can I show K how to built a crossbow like this one?”

I said yes.

You see, somewhere between the birth of my babes and now, I’ve been corrupted. Corrupted in part by Ken Robinson and his thoughts on creativity

And his thoughts on revamping education

And also by this Gever Tulley and his Tinkering School, and his book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) (which is also on my Amazon wishlist)

So when a charming 10 year old boy showed up at our door, the proud builder of a crossbow of his very own,  and he offered to share his newfound knowledge with K and B… of course I said yes.

And I was only a little bit jealous.

Besides, I can always get K to teach me how to make one tomorrow.


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