Rights of passage

My middle child got her driver’s license today. She’s so proud. She scored a 100 on her test. She still drives with her hands on ten and two, five miles under the speed limit, and tends to slow down when cars pass, but I doubt that will last much longer.

Which got me to wondering… what did teens look forward to before cars? Was 16 a milestone age like it is now? Did dad make you wait to drive the team until a certain age? Was it as old as 16? Doubtful, since so many of the youth of that time period were already married by 16. Perhaps 10 was the age at which one could take control of the horse and buggy. I could see my youngest drive a team of horses and making them dance.

So that got me to wondering… with children learning to read in Kindergarten (something few of my pre 1900 ancestors could do at all), and use computers by age 3, maybe we should consider making children go to school until 9th grade, and then those that are ready, could go on to college. Those that weren’t could start their adult lives. Teen pregnancy might go down, if young girls could go ahead and graduate and start their families as young as 16. They’d still be teens, but they’d be better prepared for raising that family if everyone graduated at 15. By 19, we’ve have people ready to enter the work force, which would solve Social Security issues. By 23, doctors, and lawyers would be done with med school. Younger doctors would mean they’d be able to specialize in their fields earlier, which would mean they’d be able to stay in their fields longer. (from 23-66 instead of 26-66).

Kids bored with school would have time to get jobs, get real and get to college before they were old, married, with children.

No, I don’t think my daughter is ready for marriage and kids, but she’s definitely ready for college. She learned more in the first 3 years of school (preschool) than she’ll probably learn in the next two of high school. And with college out of the way, she could marry at 20, and still have her degree under her belt.

For now, I am trying to get up the courage to let her drive alone. The state says she’s perfectly capable, and she is when I am in the seat beside her. But for mom, the next right of passage is saying, “could you go get us some milk.”


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