The Color of the Morality Scale Age is not an excuse for one’s wrong decisions. In Chalked Hussein’s Kite Runner, Emir is a young boy growing up in Afghanistan in the ass’s. Emir lives with his father, their housekeeper All and Alias son Hosannas. Emir and Hosannas come from different classes and religious groups but they play and giggle together as best friends would normally do. In the winter of 1975, Emir witnesses Hosannas being sexually harassed in an alley way. Emir turns and runs away and never really speaks to Hosannas or looks him in the eyes again.
Emir turns his back on his friend and lies to his father about what happened in the alley. Emir is only 12 and some would say a child of 12 years old is still young and naive and should not be held accountable for their actions. However, children at the age of 12 are old enough to understand that their actions have consequences. Young age does not excuse poor actions and decisions, nor does it play a role in determining the moral value of a child’s actions. The color of a scale does not play a role in which way the scale tips, Just as age is not a factor when it comes to determining the morality of one’s decisions.
Young age should be defined n a child’s abilities and responsibilities. If a person is allowed and able to be independent, the child is old enough to be held accountable for their actions. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With freedom comes responsibility. ” This quote has significant meaning and connection to the story of Emir and in everyday life. Roosevelt makes a very clear point that, while freedom is great, the more freedom one gains the more responsibilities that person has. Emir is given the freedom to run around with Hosannas playing and going to the market to buy toys.
Emir nostalgically recalls, “We snaked our way among the merchants and the beggars, wandered wrought narrow alleys cramped with rows of tiny, tightly packed stalls. ” Experts on child-development have concluded that “The more they function in the world outside family, the more they need to learn structure and rules to deal with this outside world” (stimulates. Com). The experts are basically stating that the more a child is exposed to the world, the more important it is that children learn the rules and “ways” of their society.
Children who are allowed to roam free and walk through busy markets, without an adult, are also old enough to be held accountable for their actions while they are out enjoying their freedom. Some people would argue that a person is a child until the legal age of 18. According to the North Carolina General Statutes, a Juvenile is defined as “any person who has not reached the person’s eighteenth birthday’ (NC General Statutes Section 78-1501 (17)). This definition is defining a Juvenile as anyone who is under the age of eighteen.
Legally this is true in America; however, a child that is old enough to not have to be supervised by an adult 24-7 is also old enough to accept full responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions while being independent. A child who is twelve years of age is eligible to go to the Juvenile detention center and are held accountable for countries that allow children under the age of thirteen get married. In many Middle Eastern countries child marriage is allowed. A 13 year old boy in Pakistan was married to a sixteen year old girl (CNN World).
When questions were raised about the appropriateness of the marriage, the boy simply said, “Islamic law says a couple can marry if both have reached puberty and if their parent’s approve” (CNN World). Marriage is a big commitment that causes people to take responsibility for their actions. Therefore, because Emir is old enough to roam the town independently and is even “old enough” to be married in his culture and religion, the twelve year old Emir should and can be held responsible for his actions.
Morality can be defined as “conformity to the ideals of right human conduct” (Merriam-Webster. Com). Morality is the same for a child as for an adult. The words morally good and immorally bad do not have different meanings purely based on one’s age. Emir abandons his friend Hosannas when he sees that Hosannas is getting abused (77 Hussein). Emir decides to lip away quietly instead of intervening, even though he knows that, had the roles been reversed, Hosannas would have interfered. Emir makes the decision to turn his back when his best friend needed him the most.
The situation would be Just as immoral if an adult had done what Emir did to Hosannas. There is no such thing as a balanced scale when it comes to determining the morality of one’s actions. Young age does not excuse a person from their poor actions and immoral decisions. The person needs to accept full responsibility for their actions and face the consequences and effects of their decisions and actions. A six year old knows that tinting another person is wrong, but children of this age don’t fully comprehend why hitting is wrong nor does the child feel guilty after acting badly.
Twelve year olds, however, should be able to understand whether or not their decisions and actions are good or bad, along with why they are good and bad decisions and actions. Several child-development experts were asked the question “how and when (do) children develop a moral sense” (stimulates. Com). The experts agreed and concluded that “chronological age meaner nothing” and that “children must be held responsible for their behavior” (stimulates. Com). The experts stated very clearly that age is not a factor and that children need to be held responsible for their actions.
Twelve year olds also understand the feeling of guilt that results from their bad or immoral actions and decisions. Emir knows that what he did to Hosannas was horrible because he lives with the guilt of his actions and decisions for over a decade. Emir feels so guilty about his actions from that day, that he avoids looking at or speaking to Hosannas after the incident (88-89 Hussein). A child who feels guilty about their bad or immoral ways is obviously able to conclude that certain actions are good while others re bad.
A child that knows the difference between good and bad actions and decisions should also be expected to accept responsibility and face the consequences of their actions. A person that is independent and allowed to make their own decisions should be morally stable and aware about what is seen by society as good actions and bad actions. A child of 12 is mentally mature enough to understand the morality of their actions, as well as the understanding that their consequences have actions. Emir made some very poor decisions and had to face the consequences and live with the guilt of his poorly made decisions.
Young age does excuse a child’s bad or immoral actions altogether. A child who is old enough to make independent decisions is also ready to take on the responsibility of claiming their actions, both good and bad, as their own. Children should face the consequences of their actions and know before they act whether an action is good or bad. A person’s age is not one of the weights on the balance that determines the morality of their actions. Age is simply the color of the balance, irrelevant to which way the morality scale tips. Works Cited “Adolescents and Decision Making. ” The Center for Youth and Leadership.