We now know it is possible for teenagers to cook decent meals on their own. In fact, as reported in The New Yorker, a thirteen-year old can read The French Laundry Cookbook, watch a few You Tube cooking videos and begin cooking at a rarified level that approaches that of a Michelin-stared chef. As one recognized restaurateur postulated, the reason that this thirteen-year old’s (Flynn McGarry) food creations are so good is because he hasn’t had a chance to contaminate his pure palate with alcohol or tobacco.
Does this mean that we can expect other thirteen-year olds to amaze us in a similar manner? Perhaps a thirteen-year old banker could provide some needed guidance in these confusing times to some of our nation’s major banks and the Senate Banking Committee. Would a thirteen-year old be able to determine whether there was any extraordinary risk in allowing banks to make “Wall Street” bets using money from his account? If his palate was uncontaminated by millions of dollars in dreamed-of-profits—perhaps so.
Could a TYO (thirteen year old) recognize that some relationships require honest, up-front disclosure (i.e., telling the whole truth), while others may not? If this were possible, then the whole topic of providing what might be called inside information to some clients, who pay more, but not to other investors who do not—a subject that is currently confusing some of our largest stock underwriters—possibly could be straightened out. Transparency would seem to be a big subject for a thirteen year old to grasp, but that doesn’t mean that a thirteen year old couldn’t break down the issues which appear to be confusing politicians in Washington and determine on his or her own what truthful disclosure means.
This question could be easily answered by asking a TYO. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any thirteen year olds, but to the next TYO I meet, I will ask this question: “If your mom asked you tonight whether you turned in your homework at school today, would you give her any different answer than you would give your father because he is the one who pays you your weekly allowance?” I’ll bet I can already guess the answer.
There are other pressing issues that we adults with stuffed minds can’t seem to resolve—like the complicated tryst between environmental advocates and those who want to develop more of our natural resources, or how about the very schools that our thirteen-year olds are attending and which have sunk from the best in the world to also-rans. If we could call on the amazing ability of our thirteen-year olds to inform themselves and then help us adults to make better decisions, there is no telling what we could do. I’m not sure how we keep the contamination of American culture out of their lives and minds so that TYOs will remain an important resource for our country. A return to the blank slate? That would mean restricting their access to Network TV, most Hollywood products and much of the Internet—a cultural impossibility. Nevertheless, I think it is time to move TYOs from the babysitting list into more challenging positions. If they can clean up their rooms, why couldn’t they clean up Washington or our state capitols?