Creatures of Experience
Let’s begin with a simple fact. We are creatures that develop by experiences. It is not the only way, but without some interaction with the world around us, we are unable learn enough to become a productive member of society. As an individual, you will be stunted in personal growth or stalled in reaching goals that will direct you toward a possible fulfillment of your potential. As a group of people, we will become isolated from the outside world, which leads to an intolerance of others and an ignorance of their ways. This makes the interaction an important key to our development as individuals and communities.
As a child, we are given rules that are meant to protect us and keep us in an orderly fashion. These rules can isolate us from different experiences which are likely not to be very good and are generally agreed upon. Allowing toddlers playing in the street after sunset is a fairly understandable rule that common sense supports. Warning signs on the outside of an abandoned house are meant to keep people safe from the dangers of physical harms. It goes beyond our parents’ rules. Our society has created laws that will help to benefit the learning process without physical harm being inflicted. A person must go through the proper training and reach a proper age before they can drive. This is to keep the driver and the rest of society safe. It makes sense.
Yet, how does it help if the experiences of life are regulated to the point that we are insulated from how to deal with matters of life? Imagine what would happen if we became a society that only allowed our children to learn one language. English is taught in the schools and universities. No other languages including dead ones are allowed to be learned. How quickly would we become so isolated that we could not even export or import goods such as oil or electronics? It would strangle the progressive nature of our society and the markets that we depend on as a country. We need to learn other languages so we are able to communicate.
Ok, take another example. What would happen if we did not educate ourselves and our children about simple hygiene habits? It is generally accepted that hygiene helps to prevent illness, makes one socially acceptable, and improves self-image. These points make sense. The prevention of health issues are the talking points behind a great many laws and rules of our society. Sanitation in restaurants is regulated by laws. Hospitals have rules and laws to protect the patients and doctors. Common sense shows that we need to be informed to prevent and protect.
Inevitably, someone will break the rules, ignore the regulations, or subvert the laws that prevent harm and protect our society. Yet, we explain and inform all as to the reasons and consequences of these protections. We do not just ignore or seal everyone away from the natural experiences of life. The rights of free will should be given guidelines and the explanation of the consequences.
If someone decides to rob a bank, they may succeed, but they will be facing the consequences for the rest of their lives. Yet, we teach everyone about these matters. However, it has become a method for some states to create laws that will not inform children to the consequences of their actions. They have decided that the lessons of abstinence are the only methods. In order to prevent sexual activities in our children, they have decided that it is better to keep them ignorant of the guidelines and the explanation of the consequences. Their belief is that it is better to tell them no and not truly protect them with the knowledge of what will happen if they pursue these activities. Like the idea behind personal hygiene, we should be teaching our children about the rules and consequences of these activities. Talking about them is not approving them. It is simply a form of protection for our children. Otherwise, they will likely find a way to explore without our wisdom and guidance to help them regulate their own minds and bodies for logical reasons. We must teach them so they can become trustworthy. We must treat them with the same respect that we expect from them. They are intelligent creatures, so treat them as such. One day, we will have to let go of their hands so they can find their own way.
Instilling in the hearts of our children those values that we hold dear is not the duty of society through rules and laws, but do not hamper the education of natural sciences such as our own biology. Laws are not meant to enforce one set of values on people. The free will of the people gives them the right to choose. They will pass to their children the values and that act will give them the opportunity to move our society in a better, more enlightened future rather than pull us back into the caves of complete ignorance and intolerance.