In elucidation of our forthcoming theme, we would relate the following humorous, but, instructive, anecdote:

 [A local Pastor, following his return home from the conduct of his Sunday Church service, responsibly, decided to engage in his serially, postponed chore, of repaving the cracked concrete walk directly in front of his family residence. It was a rather warm afternoon and he perspired, profusely, from the three hours of mixing and laying of the cement and the painstaking, finishing and smoothing of the surface. His next-door neighbor, a member of his church congregation, came outdoors and complimented him, profusely, on the excellence of the finished job. Just then, an eight-year-old boy carelessly, ran over the still wet, concrete walk, angering the Pastor, who thereupon, gave the boy a spanking for his irresponsible deed. The neighbor stated, confusedly: “But Reverend, in this morning’s sermon, you preached that corporal punishment was not religiously, acceptable or proper.” The Pastor cagily, replied, “That admonition was in theory, but this offense is in the concrete!”

Our American-English lexicon features various terms and vocabulary such as “age-appropriate,” which are eminently, useful and salubrious, in theory, but empirically unclear and disputed as to their pragmatic, (concrete) application. Our themed subject is such an instance of a flawlessly, rational and pragmatic, concept, however, by virtue of its, necessarily, subjective and judgmental nature is, in its application, the impetus for substantial dispute and societal conflict.

Essentially, “age-appropriate,” refers to that aspect of normalization that reinforces such elements as, recognition of an individual as a person of a certain chronological age. Included, are dress, language, choice of education, physical and social development, choice of leisure and recreational activity, physical and emotional maturity, personal possessions and self-perception.

An official, formalized, determination of “age appropriateness” may be observed in those societal, standards, which are expressed in the written law, concerning the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages, employment, voting, marriage, legal consent to sexual relations, capacity to enter into enforceable contracts. Such, particular, “age-appropriate,” legal determinations are precedential and objective in their standards and application and are variable only when society will have so determined. Whether these proscriptions are realistic or arbitrary, fair or unrealistic is exclusively, for the legislature (society) to determine.

While, accord would, predictably, exist as to particular matters of obvious, highly, improper, behaviors ( i.e., offering a baseball bat to elderly, sick, grandma, dressing in a batman costume for religious prayer services, exposing a three-year-old to a cage wrestling match, giving an expensive, box of Cuban cigars, to a ten- year old child, dressing a fat, aging grandpa in a yellow bikini, offering a vodka martini to a middle school sophomore), by contrast, determinations of age propriety, (other than those governmentally, determined), are usually, subjective and, eternally, ripe for contention. Considerations of age appropriateness have often, appeared to coincide, analogously, with an individual’s politically, liberal or conservative inclination and at relevant times, his religious stance.

The most significant and empirically, the most, impactful of contested appraisals of age appropriateness, is cogently, found in the delicate, area of sex education. In this context, it is often, possible to discern some degree of confluence, between an individual’s political affiliation and his inclinations regarding childhood sex education. It would bizarrely, appear that right-wing, conservatives, are against early sex education and enlightenment, and as well, opposed to contraception and (avoidable) unwanted pregnancies. Their opposition to abortion earns them, a trifecta gold medal for this spectacular feat of intransigent ignorance.

We would urge the subscription to the enlightened and principled standard, that unless a pursued, subject of instruction or a particular, rational course of action is not, clearly, harmful, illegal, or in demonstrable opposition to the morality, or just governance of the community, that the evaluation of propriety of a choice of lifestyle, action or other rational behavior, be left, empirically, to the individual citizen, for his own, privately earned, gain or detriment.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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