The age of criminality in England is 10. This means that a child under the age of 10 cannot be arrested, or charged, with a crime.
The concept of moral responsibility is a tricky one, because how do we as a society decide where to draw a line?
If the killers of Jamie Bulger had been nine years and 11 months on February 12, 1993, would they have not been charged with his murder?
If a girl has intercourse two months before her 16th birthday, is that any different to if she has it two months later?
By the age of 10 (although this varies across the world and even within the UK), a child is expected to know right from wrong, and therefore be accepting of the responsibility and consequences of their behaviour.
Parenting is often blamed for children who misbehave – and I don’t mean the extremes of Robert Thompson and John Venables. But given that even grown adults sometimes have to question ethics and morality, this is murky water.
The concept of absolute and relative morality, for example, leaves huge grey areas overshadowing our ethical decisions.
If stealing is considered wrong, is it somehow less wrong depending on the circumstances, thereby making it relative to the situation?
If a man steals food for a family he can’t afford to feed, in a moment of desperation, is that less wrong than a man who steals a car for a joyride?
Perhaps the intent behind an action influences our opinions of what constitutes ‘wrong’, but there are very few examples of absolute morality in life.
Moral absolutes that the majority of stable people would agree on, such as rape and child abuse coming firmly under the ‘wrong’ heading, may see a grey area within ‘killing’ – for example, in self-defence.
It’s simply unrealistic to assume that we can blanket cover moral issues. And this also raises the concept of nature v nurture. Is a baby born with an innate sense of what is right or wrong, or does everything have to be taught via their parents?
Food for thought.
THRILLED BY MORE SUNLIGHT, BLUE SKY AND NODDING DAFFS
A timely reminder that the clocks will be changing tonight.
Putting them forward by an hour is sad news for parents of very tiny children everywhere.
That’s because it means we’ll be well into the time of year when we can no longer fool our offspring into believing it’s bedtime before they’re old enough to be able to tell the time.
My own children are well beyond the age when that was a saving grace at the end of a fraught day.
But they’re coming into the age where they are thrilled to see a little more sunlight, a blue sky or two, and the nodding heads of the daffs at the roadside.
And if you suffer from SAD, as many people do, then the spring has nearly sprung with not a moment to lose.
IT’S HARD WORK AND TRYING YOUR BEST THAT CAN LEAD TO SUCCESS
The buzzwords in education at the moment (or some of them) are ‘growth mindset’.
Thankfully, this one has common sense and science behind it, suggesting that rather than praising children simply for good work, we should of course be praising the effort.
In particular, we should be enabling children to make mistakes, as this is part and parcel of the learning process. If we are too afraid to make mistakes, we can never really learn or progress.
The old cliché that ‘practice makes perfect’ may not be fully true – what’s ‘perfect’ anyway? – but practice is certainly what it’s all about. It’s the hard work and trying your best that leads to success.
A useful lesson in the age of certain celebrities.