One day as we were peeling garlic, a child that was running past dropped a knife on my shoulder. It bounced, landed on the ground. The child picked up the knife and resumed running.
Nothing happened besides me reacting with surprise; the knives at the Golden Temple were so blunt that it would have been difficult to cut butter. However, this made me think. There was no minimum qualification to help out at the Golden Temple. Everyone who determined themselves able to help did so.
Although I don’t necessarily condone allowing children to run with knives, there is something to be said about how we treat children in the U.S.. It seems that every year the definition of child or teenager or young adult stretches further into our lifespans. When we are younger, people tell us that we will be able to do or understand something when we’re older, but we ourselves take a long time to feel capable. Even in college, there seems to a paralysis holding us back from action because we think we need more schooling before we can make a difference. I’m not saying that higher education isn’t useful or that children understand just as much as adults do, but the opportunity for people to contribute as much or as little as they would like starting from birth is unique in that there aren’t any barriers to contributing. Maybe we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for, and all it takes is stepping up to try (and fail and try again).