Category Archives: Learning

Forbidden Knowledge

What is forbidden knowledge in your household? This came up for me the other night with my son’s question “Daddy. How do you pick a lock?” Now I am firm believer that there shouldn’t be forbidden knowledge. If they know enough to ask the question then we need to talk about it. Obviously questions that could pose a threat to them or property would need to be handled even more carefully.

I told him that I need to do some research and we could discuss it later. That is a fairly common response and he went away happy. The first thing I did was look up the legality of picking locks and the possession of lock picks. Where I am lock picks require a license so this talk with him is going to be completely theory. Then I thought about what we needed to know and looked up some articles and videos for us to use.

The first thing we need to know was how locks work. Wikipedia had a great article with very clear graphics. I found this interesting as did my son and daughter who had decided to join us. I actually didn’t know exactly how locks worked. The point was that they learn something new and though it was cool. These diagrams also made it clear how picking could be accomplished.

The second thing we talked about was the legality of picking locks. I explained to them that the tools for picking locks would be illegal for them to possess and for me as well. We then talked about who could use them. My son who watches to many police shows(NCIS,CSI,…) with mommy said “Police Officers”. We talked about locksmiths and the time I locked everyone out of the office because the door at the top of the stairs had a different lock that no one had a key for. I then asked when it would be wrong to pick locks. Both my kids answer quickly “To steal something”. Satisfied that they understood the consequences we moved on to the how.

The ‘how’, I have no idea how to pick a lock. I had some vague memories from my childhood of trying to open my bike lock with a paperclip with no success. Google came to my rescue and after a couple of videos that sort of explained we came to this one that showed it very well. My kids were fascinated by it and we watched it a couple of times as well as a couple of others.

The final item was a discussion on how easy the lock was to pick and the concept of what is secure. For me the bottom line is that I like them being curious and seeking knowledge. I also want them to know they can trust me and I’ll answer the best I can when they start having the really tough questions.