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ROTHENBURGER – Are we too easy, or too tough on our young people?

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“At the age of nine I had to do the work of a teenager, working with four horses hitched to a set of harrows walking behind barefooted. Boots couldn’t be worn because they would fill up with dirt, the result would be very sore feet. Of course during the summer we walked barefoot even to school. However, I don’t recall this unpleasant or a hardship. I cried many a tear at that age trying to control and direct the horses in the right direction. However, with time and patience, I learned to get the job done.”

—  Ben Rothenburger

MY DAD WROTE those words not long before he died in 1992. The time he wrote about, the summer when he was nine, was 99 years ago.

I think often of my father, especially when I see stories about how tough our young people have it these days, or when I hear a debate about whether or not we should give them more responsibility.

I’d like to see an average Canadian kid today walking barefoot behind a four-horse team breaking up clods to plant a crop.

There’s talk of giving 16-year-olds the vote, and I think they’d handle it fine, but if we give them one adult responsibility, what about the rest of it?

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Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6011 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Are we too easy, or too tough on our young people?

  1. You want 16 year olds to vote therefore have adult responsibilities. First change the young offenders act and remove them so they will always be treated as an adult. Second teach life skills, financial management, personal responsibility and accountability in schools so that at least they have an inclination that Mom/dad are not responsible for their actions. In other words teach them to be an adult not a teenager because that is what they are.

  2. The real world can be a tough place. Kids need a bit of exposure to this. It seems to me that from the material standpoint, kids have it better than ever. And they are coddled more than we were. But when I was younger, there was a creek to muck around in, and fruit orchards that we walked through on the way to school. There was a lake to visit, and we played hockey on an outdoor rink. I fear that our kids’ generation faces a very tough reality in climate change, pollution, nuclear war, … you name it. Should we allow 16 year olds to vote? I think yes, because the decisions we make now impact their future.

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