Early Maturity – Bar Mitzvah

Some may say that early maturity or early adulthood may harm a child’s growth and that they will have difficult time in the society. I believe that early maturation provide for better platform for our children to succeed.

In a traditional Jewish family, they celebrate coming of adulthood at the age of 13 for boys (called Bar Mitzvah) and 12 for girls (called Bat Mitzvah). This is crucial moment in their lives, because from then they become responsible for their actions.

 

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It may seem little early to bear all that responsibility of life, but allow me to try to explain why this may be something for us to consider. From birth, children learn. Their brain is like a blank sheet of paper and they observe and learn. Please see my article on Child’s Brain is like a Sponge. At early stage, children learn mostly from their parents. Then as they start school, children learn from teachers and later on from social networks or friends. By the time, they turn 12 or 13, traditional Jewish teaching believes that they are ready for adulthood and they should be responsible for their actions.

Many of the world that we live in has legal age of 18 or somewhere there about. But imagine, if our kids celebrated into adulthood at 12 or 13. No teenage years. Imagine they become responsible for their actions. Some parents may agree that this is not a bad idea.

You may wonder what happens if they miss their teenage years. Well if this is any indication that of all the Nobel prize winners, over 20% are of Jewish heritage. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_Nobel_laureates) This is remarkable achievement in that Jewish population is less than 0.2% of the world population. Winning the Nobel prize does not mean that you are totally successful, but since these prizes are given to the best contributors to the society, then it is a good instrument to measure against.

Now just having our children celebrated into adulthood at age of 12 or 13 does not guarantee that they will be contributor to the society rather than a mere benefactor. But I hope that this gets across that we, in general, may be we are treating our children too ‘nice’.

Have you heard of little emperor syndrome? You can read about it here: (http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/10/little-emperors/). But essentially, the one child policy in China had focused the parent’s attention to their one child, too much focus. It led to children who got whatever they wanted, like little emperors. These children growing up had great difficulty in adapting to social community, thus leading to many problems.

Busy parents not having the time or the energy to properly raise their children often give them what they want, not what they need. As children grow they learn that they can get what they want if they cry or bother parents enough, until it boils over, thus comes the teenage years.

For children growing up in a large family, usually adapt to the society and become contributing members. Often, they mature quite quickly. I believe that with proper love and care, maturing our children and not ‘babying’ our children is better way to raise children.