Five hundred years ago, a child was ready to start his life at the age of 12 or 13. The Virgin Mary was about 13 or 14 when God considered her capable of making history’s greatest act of human moral freedom.
As early as 100 years ago, the average young person was ready to begin life at the age of 15 or 16. Most schools did not teach beyond this age; a 16-year-old could be qualified to be a midwife, to teach elementary school, to be the owner of a small business.
Sixty years ago, adulthood began at 18 or 19. Our grandparents were ready to go and fight in World War II as soon as they reached legal adulthood. Many of them left behind young wives who already had children, and who took over most of the “men’s” work until the soldiers returned.
Today, many simple jobs require university or college education, and increasingly young people are not ready to set out on their own, start a family or begin a career until they are 24 or 25. Among the university-educated, it is not uncommon to find people in their 30s who are still unmarried, childless and waiting to “start” their lives.Most people tacitly assume that the proliferation of formal education is a sign of social advance.
What a refreshing article on the common sense we don't teach our children. We pay thousands in taxes that go to public education and thousands more in tuition for our private schools, yet our kids are still not all that clever.
Watch for more articles in this series.