What about children being children? by not being carefree and on a n important part of life- being carefree. by forcing them to grow up early- it can be damaging to their growth… Responsibility is good, but forcing them to be adults at 9,10 or 11 years old is crazy and abusive.
On a whole, children nowadays have too much free time on their hands. This is the number one cause of kids at risk (though of course we have seen countless people point to various micro-causes, I am stating the macro-cause, and I am sure of it). Some of us remember, while others can read about it in books (fiction and nonfiction), that not too long ago and going back to the beginning of time!!! children were EXPECTED to be productive even in their childhood years. Yes, we were children too, and were granted time to play, but we were always on call to perform chores – whether it was milking the cows, filling the water barrels, taking care of siblings (this was usually left to the mother, though), helping out in the store, splitting firewood, etc, etc. (I’m not saying that I did any of those things, but I had similar responsibilities)
In fact, the main reason for summer vacation from school is because children were needed at home to help with the harvest (also because of lack of air-conditioning). So don’t start with this garbage about how kids should be carefree and not given any responsibilities.
Now, there is a fine line that must not be crossed, and that is that we cannot expect too much from our children, or give them too many responsibilities. But in this day and age, we are so far to the opposite extreme that it is wild to even think that this line will be crossed. If a child has the time to sit in front of a television show every day, and play on the Xbox with his friends for hours at a time, have no fear that the child is being “forced to grow up too fast”. Many children in fact never grow up and continue playing on their Xbox into middle age, shunning responsibility.
If a 9, 10, or 11 year old knows that when he or she comes home from school he or she will have to watch the little kids for an hour before doing homework, what is wrong with that? That’s not forcing them to be adults, that’s barely asking anything! Point to a kid who has to do that AND give the kids baths, AND put them to sleep, AND make supper for the family AND make lunches for everyone to take the next morning AND help all the kids get dressed and I will agree that the child is being abused. But having a DEFINED responsibility to younger siblings is NOT abuse and is one of many VERY GOOD ways to give a child responsibilies (if he or she can handle it physically).
I am truly amazed at how much free time youngsters have and how strongly they feel that they are entitled to it. We live in a spoiled age B”H, but that does not mean that we should become lazy and unproductive.
So, after that long megilla, I hope that I have managed to at least divert the conversation back to something that fits the title of “Society and a Developing Crisis”.