We have a 4-year-old granddaughter who would like to be “in charge” of her parents and siblings, two cats and one dog. Happily, the adults in her life gently remind Cora that she has a lot of growing up to do before she can take on that role.
We have a 6-year-old grandson who “needs” to have a sophisticated iPhone so that he can watch his favorite cartoon whenever he would like. Fortunately, he also has loving parents who know that he lacks many years of maturity before he can handle all the aspects of a smartphone. He needs judgment and wisdom, which no one expects a 6-year-old to have.
Our teenage granddaughters, ages 14 and 15, living in Virginia, were so excited at the prospect of having their driver’s licenses. Their eagerness to drive came long before the parents and the state deemed them mature enough to handle the enormous responsibility of a powerful vehicle. In Virginia, that magic age is 16; New Jersey likes to grant that privilege at 17.
Adults can’t manage,
so let’s turn it over to the children.
Also in our state, we recognize that getting married can’t occur until age 18, unless there is parental consent.
It seems that caring about young people means giving them freedom to be young and not taking on adult responsibilities before they are ready. Sometimes, that means protecting them from themselves when desires and expectations go beyond what is best. Shouldn’t that be the role of family and government, in some instances?
Now our Governor Murphy is advocating for the voting age to be lowered. The City of Newark thinks that’s a good idea and has made it official. Sixteen-year-olds can now vote in school board elections. The city is hoping to “boost turnout in the little-noticed school board elections.” Adults can’t manage, so let’s turn it over to the children. What is wrong here?
Do you remember being 16? … I do, and while I was a serious student and rather more interested than my peers in public events, I was no more able to make judgments about hiring and firing of teachers, administrators and choosing curricula than 4-year-old Cora is able to manage her family. That is not a put down of Cora or 16-year-olds. They are not mentally prepared for such roles and if we, as adults, are unable to see that, then we are all in trouble.
Katie, bar the door! (an old expression that means, watch out, trouble is on its way).
Governor Murphy, what are you thinking? Newark, let your teenagers be teenagers and don’t ask them to do what the adults are failing to do.
From the Bible:
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child does. But when I became a man, my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood. – From 1 Corinthians Chapter 13