Previously I linked to Knox’s comment where she linked to the Glenn and Helen show where they interview Robert Epstein on adolescence, and a test designed to measure how adult one is. As you can see here, I just got carried away snarking on the test, which is actually pretty interesting.
More importantly, I agree with the basic topic: Adolescence is a bad idea. I’ll never forget sitting down to my first college course and thinking, “WTF? We could have done this five years ago!”
Even allowing for my high level of comfort with school–I’m a chronic test taker, read for fun, quite good at sitting still for long periods, basically made for school–college is way too late for just about everyone. The Boy, while fine in school, is nowhere near as comfortable and casual about it as I was, and he’s doing just fine in his class. (And he got a strict teacher, he has to turn in his notes, etc. This will work out excellently for him in terms of giving him real world experience for taking more classes.)
Anyway, I love the way the guy, Epstein, attacks the “teen brain” thing. That kind of stuff–the sort of vague assertions made by some segment of brain scientists–always smacks of phrenology to me. Teenagers used to be plenty responsible. Inexperienced, but not stupid.
In fact, the most plausible suggestion I’ve heard about adolescence is that it was created by trade guilds (unions) as a way to eliminate competition.
Well, let’s be honest: It’s hard on the ego. If we let teens work, they’d end up being better at what we do than we are. I mean, sure, we have experience, but they have energy, alertness, enthusiasm–and putting them to work early is the best way to blunt that. Wait, no, that’s not what I meant to say.
Seriously, though: Teens will work hard, for little money, and they’re eager to assume more responsibility. Adults should be afraid of them entering the workplace sooner–they would threaten our ability to slack!
Of course, if we were shrewd and up to the challenge, we could harness their energy in useful ways, and create a brand new, powerful, responsible demographic, and use our experience to direct them in ways ushered in a new era of wealth for everyone.
As always, the kids are all right. It’s the adults that are the problem.