Kirkwood writes an article "Adolescence: A Heresy" arguing that modern society makes our teenagers into adolescents - essentially, big children - instead of making them into responsible adults. Reviewing Roger Epstein's book The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen. Epstein, an expert psychologist, says that our society is preventing children from becoming adults.
We put our children and even young adults into strictly regimented factory schools (including Sunday schools). We keep children away from adults, don't expect adult behavior or responsibility, even prohibit it: teens can't work or drive until 16, can't marry or enter into a contract or smoke until 18, though in past societies such actions were common. All they're allowed or expected to do is go to school, consume food and entertainment, and have no-commitment sex. No wonder they rebel. Teens are capable of far more, as Kirkwood tells us:
At age 14, Andrew Jackson fought in the American War for Independence, was captured by the British. He was also orphaned. David Crockett, hero at the Alamo, struck out on his own at age 12 and returned home four years later a full-grown man. Audie Murphy, who left grade school to support his 11 brothers and sisters, won 33 combat and other service decorations during World War II before he was 20. And David Farragut, chief of the federal navy during the War of Northern Aggression, commanded his first ship at age 12.
Kirkwood is author of Real Men: Ten Courageous Americans to Know and Admire