Isn't It Terrible?

Luther Blackmon
Noblesville, Indiana

Can you imagine the moans that would go up from the youngsters if the parents in this country should organize solidly and lay down for their offspring the following rules:

(1) No movies until 16 years old. Too much exploiting of sex and violence and glamorizing and making heroes of hoodlums and gangsters.

(2) No person can obtain a driver's license under 18 years of age. Parents think this will eliminate car thefts and crimes involving cars by teen-agers.

(3) All young men will serve compulsory apprenticeships to learn a trade after 16. This will teach them the dignity of labor and keep them busy so they will not have time to loiter around drive-ins and street corners and play games like "chicken" with cars, thus also saving lives.

(4) Dating will not be allowed until after 16.

Now, before you nail my "hide" to the wall as some kind of kook who knows nothing about children (and this I admit) and tell me that such a plan would not work and would be bad if it did, let me tell you that this is what is done in Switzerland according to an article in the Restoration Herald. And here is how bad the results are:

a. Switzerland has a divorce rate of 3.59 per thousand.

b. Less crime and fewer policemen than any other country, in Europe.

c. Almost no juvenile delinquency.

When you consider that 85 per cent of the girls in this country who drop out of school and get married are in trouble; that many others take "the pill" to avoid this kind of trouble; that boys sit in the barbershop and openly discuss the affairs they have with girls in Junior High; that the majority of the people in the penal institutions of this country are young people; the highest rate of delinquency is among boys 16 and 17 years of age, I say when these things are considered, it seems that nearly anything on the part of parents would be an improvement.

Some of the young people I know are as fine as any who have ever lived, in this, or any other country. And many parents are doing their best to help their children to become the kind of people of which the country, the parents and the youngsters themselves, may be justly proud. But they work under a great handicap, because their children must associate with those whose parents are either too lazy or too indifferent to provide the training all young people need. Their children do about as they please and this tends to make the others feel that they are denied certain of their rights. That their parents are too strict. They are "squares." They may learn too late, however, that it takes "square" parents to develop well "rounded" sons and daughters.


January 8, 1970