Magic Cutoff Period
By Hiram Cohen
Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring become accountable for their own actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, ‘It’s their life,’ and feel nothing?
In My Twenties
When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my son’s head. I asked, ‘When do you stop worrying?’ The nurse said, ‘When they get out of the accident stage.’ My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
In My Thirties
When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher said, ‘Don’t worry, they all go through this stage and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy them.’ My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
In My Forties
When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open. A friend said, ‘They’re trying to find themselves. Don’t worry, in a few years, you can stop worrying. They’ll be adults.’ My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
In My Fifties
By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.
I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments. My friends said that when my kids got married I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my Dad’s warm smile and his occasional, ‘You look pale. Are you alright? Call me the minute you get home. Are you depressed about something?’
Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse, or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?
The Torch Has Been Passed
One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, ‘Where were you? I’ve been calling for 3 days, and no one answered. I was worried.’ I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.
More About The Age Of Accountability
The “age of accountability” is a theological concept, primarily found in certain Christian traditions, that addresses the age at which a person is considered morally responsible or accountable for their actions before God. This concept is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but it is derived from various scriptural principles and interpretations.
The idea is based on the understanding that before a certain age, typically considered to be around the pre-adolescent period, children are seen as innocent and not fully capable of understanding the consequences of their actions. Thus, they are not held accountable for their sins in the same way as adults.
Different Christian denominations have varying beliefs regarding the age of accountability
Here are a few of the more common beliefs:
1. Notion of Innocence:
Some believe that children, before reaching the age of accountability, are in a state of innocence and, should they pass away, are received into God’s grace and not held accountable for sin.
2. Lack of Explicit Biblical Reference:
The term “age of accountability” is not explicitly stated in the Bible. Instead, it is derived from interpretations of various biblical passages, including Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God and His love for children.
3. Varied Interpretations:
There’s no uniform agreement among Christian denominations regarding the specific age at which a person becomes morally accountable. Some suggest the age of twelve (the age of Jesus in the temple) while others believe it may differ for each individual based on their intellectual and spiritual development.
4. Emphasis on Grace and Compassion:
The idea of the age of accountability is often linked to God’s grace and compassion, ensuring that children who haven’t reached this age are received into God’s presence with mercy.
The concept of the age of accountability is a theological understanding rather than a direct biblical doctrine. Different Christian denominations and theological perspectives hold varying beliefs regarding this concept, and it’s interpreted and understood differently within each tradition. It is generally seen as a way to reconcile God’s justice and mercy in relation to the salvation of children.