January 20th, 2007 at 01:30pm
Good afternoon again Glenn,
I absolutely agree with you about maturity and the ages at which things are allowed.
I'm 19 now, and will be 20 in June, and as I look back on the last four years or so, I just find it amazing how immature I, and everyone around me, was, and how mature we all thought we were.
I did some absolutely stupid things when I was 16, and I can honestly say that I did some stupid things at 17, and even at 18…and I probably still do to a lesser extent and will look back in a year and identify some silly things.
I think the main problem isn't so much the ages at which we allow certain things, it is more the level of maturity, and everyone matures at a different rate…it's not as if everyone is suddenly mature at 18 or 21 or any other nominal age…I certainly didn't feel any different when I was 18 years old to when I was 17 year and 364 days old. In fact I don't think it really sunk in that I was an adult for another few months.
Ultimately I don't think people can mature until they finish secondary education as high school is such an insular environment…it's not until you are out in the workforce and/or tertiary education and you have to fend for yourself in just about every thing (even if you still do live with your parents) that you truly mature.
Unfortunately we can't easily measure maturity, which is why we set nominal ages…and as most of our laws are based on the premise of the lowest common denominator, 18 is probably a fair age for voting, smoking, driving, sex etc in my view. I think the latter two are currently permitted at an age when the majority of people aren't truly ready…some are, but very few.
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