I am reading the biography "The Real Thomas Jefferson" and I am amazed at all the things Jefferson did at a very young age. Did you know he was only 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence?
My husband's great-grandfather passed away when his grandfather was 14. His grandpa quit school and became the man of the family. He helped his mother run the farm and took care of his younger brothers and sisters.
What is wrong with our society that people are treated as children until they are 26 or older? The frightening new health care law requires students to be claimed as dependents on parents' insurance until the age of 26! Can someone who is babied to the age of 26 ever become a real man or woman or does that dependent mentality stick with them to some degree throughout their lives?
I know, I know, some of you are going to say that it takes that long to learn everything you need to know for certain high tech positions. I guess that's true to a point, but how much time is our youth wasting in grammar and high schools where they are not learning a fraction of what Jefferson learned by the time he went to college at age 16.
Perhaps you will argue that people live longer today. As a whole, that is true, but is that reason to prolong childhood and lower the expectations we have for young people when they are capable of so much more?
The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the federal age for employment at 14. Mature 12 and 13 years olds are out of luck. In addition, most states require work permits (available at your government-run school's guidance councilor's office) that limit the number of hours a student can work. Top that off with minimum wage laws.
Granted the intention of the Fair Labor Standards Act was to stop abusive child labor practices (you know, the kind we support when we buy all of our stuff from China) and to ensure that people have a living wage but as usually happens when the government sticks its nose in things, the result looks far different than the intention.
In effect, we have regulated jobs for our kids out of existence. Employers are unwilling to deal with the extra regulation like limitation on the number of hours they can work especially when minimum wage laws mean that they can't pay kids less for the hassle. And of course, now we can just hire illegals for jobs Americans won't do.
From age 14 on, I held jobs every summer. With school districts moving to a year-round schedule summer jobs are no longer a possibility.
We are creating generations of perennial children. It's past time we recognize what our kids are capable of and make them step up and do it.
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