Posted Wednesday morning, September 19, 2018.
A stageful of seventeen year old young adult men, including the author (far right), in our high school production of “Taming of the Shrew” back in the day. [Act II, Scene I. I played Biondello, in case you want to look it up.]
More from the Department of Ideas in Search of a Post:
At seventeen you’re not legally a full-fledged adult. The law doesn’t grant you all the rights, privileges, and liberties granted as a matter of course to adults over the age of twenty-one. But you can still do just about everything legal adults can do, either as a matter of course or under certain circumstances.
You can’t vote. You can’t buy booze, beer, cigarettes, or lottery tickets. But if your parents or guardians permit it you can have a glass of wine or a smoke on their property. You can drive a car. You can own a car. You can work full-time. You can have and manage your own money. You can live on your own. If you were responsible, hardworking, and smart enough, that is, if you were adult about going about your studies and extracurriculars, you can go away to college. In some states you can get married without your parents’ or guardians’ permission. You can join the military if you have their permission.
But in doing all these things you are expected to behave as an adult. You are expected to have an adult understanding of right and wrong and make decisions accordingly. You can be forgiven if sometimes you don’t. You are, after all, still a kid. But not automatically, and not in all cases, and only if you ask for forgiveness and make amends, and sometimes not even then. Most anything is excusable. Not everything is forgivable. There are things you can do that will and should cost you for the rest of your life and you are expected to know that and understand why. You are expected to take responsibility for your actions and accept and bear the consequences.
Above it all, through it all, with it all, as the foundation of it all, you are expected---required----to treat other people as fellow human beings and not as things you’re entitled to use for your own advantage and pleasure.