Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times about a current debate. Last week the Supreme Court has been listening to arguments about whether or not children should be sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that no person under 18 should be sentenced the death penalty, however the decision of life in prison is still under discussion. The most interesting part of this argument is that if we are willing to imprison these children like adults for their wrong deeds shouldn’t they also receive all the benefits of an adult. This article asks how would we feel if our children were treated the same as adults in bars, R-rated movies and strip clubs. It leaves a question about what rights children should be entitled to, and why.
Do children have a right to a “childhood”? I feel that once again we are running into unsteady waters as we all try to define just what a “childhood” should be. I know that my growing years were much different than yours but I also know I wouldn’t change them. Child labor laws are a heated argument, I also remember that I had strong opinions about age restrictions when I was too young to be hired for a job. Just as Richard said; every child is different and unique, growing and maturing at a completely different rate. There is no perfect age of maturation.
The truth is children are more educated than they were ten years ago. Well… I would at least argue that they are more aware of the world around them. Our youth are also hitting puberty at an earlier age then in the past. We as humans are developing at a faster rate and we need to take these facts into consideration when we talk about what rights are and are not appropriate.
I don’t feel like this book is necessarily a good example of “children” being taken advantage of. A child is protected because of their ignorance and naivety about the world around them. In order to be accepted into the battle school these children were considered to be highly above average in their cognitive ability. Ender himself was said to be more intelligent than many of the adults back on Earth. I don’t believe that he was not logical enough to make a decision about what he was doing. More importantly he didn’t give up when the chance was given to him.
We need to protect our children, but we also need to protect them from someone taking away a life worth living.