When I was a teenager, I read a novel titled “Too Young to Die,” penned by one creative novelist, Omondi Mak’Oloo. The two honeymooners who got themselves in a fight with notorious rats were too young to die for sure. How old are you? Can you be trusted with death?
In the world today, there is something called the majority age. Globally, an eighteen-year-old is recognised as an adult. Many things that are not accessible to the younger ages can be served to an eighteen-year-old.
So when you go to the liquor stores, you will be confronted by the warning, “strictly no sales to persons under the age of eighteen.” Does this mean that when you turn eighteen, you don’t get intoxicated? Could it be that the majority age makes it safe to drink and drive? How about the nonsense which follows the drunk and disorderly? Our world can trust you with death when you are eighteen years old. You are old enough to be trusted with death.
When there is an illicit coital contact with a person below the age of eighteen, the senior party is held under the penal code for defilement, but when two non-committal adults do the same, they are left to their own devices. Society seems to be telling them, “You are an adult; fornication cannot affect you.” “You are old enough to handle genital warts and all possible STDs. You can just do whatever you want, whatever the effect, you are old enough to die.”
In several countries, the debates are ongoing, seeking to lower the age of consent. Age of Consent refers to the age at which a person is legally considered to be mature enough to engage willingly in sexual intercourse so that it is not a crime for someone else to have sex with the person (Oxford Dictionary). In France, for instance, the age of consent is fifteen years of age. If this shocks you, the next will drop you dead!
“The lowest Age of Consent in the world is 11, in Nigeria. The age of consent is 12 in the Philippines and Angola and 13 in Burkina Faso, Comoros, Niger, and Japan. Japan often stands out as the only developed country on the list of lowest ages of consent, but local prefecture statutes in most areas of the country raise the effective age to 16-18. The highest Age of Consent in the world is 21 in Bahrain. The second-highest age of consent is 20 in South Korea, while most other countries have an Age of Consent between 16 and 18. Additionally, several Middle Eastern and African countries have no legal age of consent but ban all sexual relations outside of marriage. This has raised concerns by many international organisations, especially in some countries where girls are married at as young as 9 or 10 years old” (ageofconsent.net).
What is the age of consent in your village?
I tend to think that eighteen years of age is overrated. People tend to serve anything that is offered because they are old enough. What effect does liquor have on the minor? What about when you attain the majority age? When a thirteen-year-old takes five glasses of beer and an eighteen-year-old imbibes the same, all of them will fail the sobriety test. The same result will be achieved by all the dens whose floodgates swing open for us because of the majority age. Gonorrhea is not less merciful to an adult than it is to the minor. The effects of extramarital affairs are the same, irrespective of age.
So what? What then can we do? What do I recommend?
I don’t have any problem with the majority age or even the age of consent. However, I have a concern that seeks no legal action by the law enforcement authorities; instead, individual standards. It may be absurd that we don’t have freedom of choice as we become mature. This only makes us mere automata and not the moral agents we are supposed to be. Character develops when we have the freedom of doing whatever we want to do, but we choose not to do everything legal to be done. You may think you’re temperate when you don’t have privileges to exercise intemperance. True abstemiousness is when you refuse to eat whatever is on the table, but only what is good enough for your health. It is not being morally upright because of poverty but amidst the ability to fund your vanities.
We must be cautious with this whole issue of adulting. The world is not trusting us with all the forbidden grounds because it is safe enough for us, but we are old enough to be trusted with death! If it can kill you as a young teenager, eighteen years of age doesn’t change it. The only change is that we have no one to blame except ourselves. When a teen sets a hostel on fire, we close down and send them home. When an adult does them, we corner them in the legal bars with possible charges for arson.
The majority age is a simple euphemism for “You are on your own, whatever you want to do, just do it, and face the long arm of the law. We are not afraid of losing you.” With this in mind, we should be careful how we handle ourselves when society thinks we are old enough to be trusted with death.
Adulthood is not a privilege to do anything you want to do. It is not opening the floodgates of crimes, debauchery, and dissipation. It is an invitation to handle all privileges maturely and with the decorum of a higher proportion. Mistakes of childhood can be corrected until one becomes a great achiever again. But not so with the same errors when age has caught up with you. You may lack the time, patience, and ability for character development.
Are you above eighteen? You are not safe from misdeeds contracted in the forbidden grounds; you are just old enough to be trusted with death!