Dave asks a great (rhetorical?) question here that begins with << Here’s a question: At what point in your life did what you think become important? >>
Hi Dave, great question. What got you thinking about this?
For me, I don’t think it was until I could vote (18). Not good!
This question was so important to my wife and I that we moved so our kids could go to Sudbury Valley School (sudval.org) where they can do what they want (all day long!) as long as they are not infringing on other people at school (other students or staff) or doing something dangerous, illegal, etc. The adult staff (no “teachers”) obviously have years of often valuable life experience and as paid employees they have have the added responsibility of taking care of the school. So no one is saying the kids are just little adults — but like you say, “what you think matters as much as what anyone else thinks.” So indeed, equal opportunity and one-person one-vote is embedded in the legal by-laws of the school. No puppet strings. 4 year-olds can vote if they want to. They know this, but are mostly happy to not vote until they are older.
UPDATE 12/4/13: Our 6-year old is serving his “every-other-year-or-so” duty as “juror” on the school’s Judicial Committee this month. He meets with the all-ages J.C. for an hour or so each day to hear the cases brought before them for that day. A powerful responsibility!
UPDATE 12/3/13: I was thinking about this today and I think I’m wrong… there are actually LOTS of times when I was a young kid that I felt important. My parents were very good at giving us responsibility and trusting us. Some examples: given freedom and responsibility very young to 1) cook and make food including lunch for school, 2) walk to and from school on my own when in 1st grade or so. 3) we kids have our own bank accounts. I remember saving up to buy “FOOTBALL II” — a hand-held video game.
Other memorable experiences of “important”:
– sports: the team is counting on you to play your part. i often pitched and played goalie, so those felt especially important
– boy scouts: I was a patrol leader for several years when I was still quite young. Kids came over to our house for weekly meetings which were totally run by me/us. No parents. The younger kids had to get MY signature to sign-off on whether they had satisfied various requirements for new badges.
– baby-sitting and lawn-mowing and dog-watching jobs
– In school: I went to traditional public school, but the times of feeling important were anytime I worked on a presentation or report where I knew I knew more about the particular subject than anyone else in the class, including the teacher.
– I will add to this list as I think of more