Nebraskans are up in arms because the Feds are talking about tightening child labor laws on farms. Detasseling in particular would be affected, a job that employs hundreds of sub-16-year-olds every summer. From what I understand, detasseling is a difficult job, but one that pays youngsters relatively well. Considering that it's very difficult for kids under age 16 to get any job, many youth rely on detasseling for spending money they wouldn't otherwise have easy access to.
I remember being very excited about detasseling when I was a kid. I couldn't wait to be old enough and tall enough for the job. I was all set to go ... and then I got a paper route instead. It was probably for the best. Considering how poorly my body deals with heat, detasseling probably would have killed me. (I don't mean that figuratively.)
I wonder how many of you detasseled when you were younger. What was it like? Was it worth it? Based on your experiences, should regulations be tightened to keep 15, 14, and 13 year-olds out of the fields?
I of course want to protect kids within certain parameters, and in particular I want to protect them from idiot adults. But at the same time I don't want to take away perfectly good work opportunities. We need to find more opportunities for young teens (and even pre-teens) to work hard and earn some cash, not fewer. I'm not sure what role detasseling plays in that goal of mine, but it appears to my uneducated eye to be an appropriate component.
I want my kids to have job opportunities when they get older. Sooner rather than later, in fact. I'm all for reasonable regulations to protect my kids while they hold those jobs, but if regulations become so stringent as to eliminate opportunities for the kids, they're doing more harm than good.