At First Thoughts, we contemplate the nature of adolescence.
A couple thoughts, then I need to earn a living:
- When we think of the great wave of pioneers that pushed ever westward, accepting the dangers and challenges of clearing land, building a house, running a farm and being totally responsible for themselves and their families, it’s good to remember that a good portion of those people would now be classified as adolescents. And need a permission slip to step off campus.
- Alexander the Great had assumed control of a nation and army, suppressed rebellion among the allies, and prepared an army for the invasion of Persia – before he was 20.
- Julius Caesar organized a strike force to retaliate against a bunch of pirates who had kidnapped him and held him for ransom, and had the pirates hanged – when he was 15.
- David Farragut fought in his first battle at sea against three British ships off South America. During this battle, he was drenched in the blood of fallen shipmate, whose corpse knocked him down the ladder into the hold. After the battle, he was put in command of one of the captured British ships, which he ably piloted back to America. He was 12.
And so on. More mundanely, farm kids – at least prior to the advent of industrial ‘fencepost to fencepost’ farming – were routinely given serious, productive responsibilities when still single digits years old.
We’ve killed all this. In its place, we have 35 year old graduate students who can barely wipe their own noses.