I think whittling could be classified in two categories....one, the art of taking a raw section of wood and shaping it into a creation....two, just taking a stick and repeatedly shaving it down until it becomes pointed or just falls apart. Either way, whittling can be very relaxing.
My dad used to whittle and even though he wasn't a master at the craft, what he carved was given to one of his children (usually me). My dad worked with his hands doing carpentry, brickwork, plumbing, roofing....if it was in the building trades, my dad could do it. As the youngest and only boy, he would take me along on his jobs and let me hand him tools he needed or let me help in whatever ways I could, according to my age and ability. When it was time for a break, sometimes dad would sit and pull out his old pocket knife and whittle a little canoe or stick man or some other simple toy, and hand it to me.
I've had more than one guy tell me that when he sits down and takes his knife in hand, examines a piece of wood and envisions what might be locked within, he is relaxed and his world soon shrinks down to just that few inches in front of his face. It's just him and the wood. I read a quote once (by whom, I don't know) that said: “Whittling is like free therapy....AND you get spoons!”
Over the years I believe we have lost the art of whittling. We are occupied with video games, constant work on our “devices” or just being busy for the sake of being busy! I doubt many dads even carry a pocket knife much less have the know how to turn a piece of wood into a tiny toy. Plus, I think we would miss the idea that it's not how good that toy turn out but the fact that Dad took the time to think of and hand make a “thing”...anything that he then hands to his child.
So what do you say, Dad? Let's get carving. It's a great way to relax, concentrate and make some wonderful memories with and for our kids.