Here's another angle on the "coming of age" discussion, for those of us of a certain generation. I don't think I've posted this before, but at my age my memory's not so good ... ;)
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60s, 70s and 80s probably shouldn't have survived because:-
Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed or licked.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
When we rode our bikes we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent spokey-dokeys on the wheels.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seatbelts or airbags and riding in the passenger seat was a treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the same.
We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
We shared one drink with our friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died.
We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top-speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.
After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark.
No one was able to reach us and no one minded. We didn't have Playstations or Xboxes.
We didn't have 99 channels on TV, no video movies, surround-sound, DVD, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no internet chatrooms.
We had friends, we went outside and found them.
We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones but there were no lawsuits.
We had full-on fist-fights but no prosecution followed from other parents.
We played knock-and-run and were actually afraid of being caught.
We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we didn't rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just around the corner.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode bikes in packs and wore our coats only by the hood.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of; they actually sided with the law.
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem-solvers and inventors ever.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
We have had the luck to grow as real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good. For those of you who aren't old enough, thought you might like to read about us. The majority of students in universities today were born in 1983 - they are called youth. They have never heard of "We are the world, we are the children", and the "Uptown Girl" they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard of Rick Astley or Bananarama. For them, there has only ever been one Germany and one Vietnam. AIDS has existed since they were born. CDs have existed since they were born. Michael Jackson has always been white.
To them, John Travolta has always been round in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could be the God of dance. They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films from last year. They can never imagine life before computers. They'll never have pretended to be The A-Team, the Red Hand Gang or the Famous Five. They'll never have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why Don't You? They can't believe black and white TV ever existed and don't even know how to switch on a TV without the remote control. And they will never understand how we could leave the house without a mobile phone.
Yes, it's me. I'm back.
I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on a disk somewhere