Marissa Burr, Assistant Opinion Editor
Our whole lives, people have been saying that they know what’s best for us. Parents, teachers, counselors, family members and even total strangers take on this level of authority in our lives. It makes you wonder, who gave them the right?
I’m not saying that these people’s opinions don’t have merit, or even that what they’re suggesting isn’t what’s best, but as the saying goes, who died and made them king of everything?
When a child is born, the decisions regarding their well-being are bestowed unto their parents or guardians. This responsibility is then shared with anyone who acts as an advising force in their life: Teachers, grandparents, babysitters, etc. At what point does the child reach an old enough age to be able to make their own decisions and override what others believe?
This can be analyzed at any level. If a nine-year-old is adamant about not liking broccoli, why should they be forced to eat it? A 40-year-old would not be. On a more complex level, if someone is 16 and wishes to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or chicken pox, but their parents don’t believe in vaccinations, who decides whether the person is allowed to get the vaccine?
These decisions can cause rifts in relationships, especially once someone becomes old enough to voice their own “controversial” opinions. Often, if an elder is asked to give their reasoning behind a decision, they are quoted saying something along the lines of “I know what’s best for you.”
My stance is that a person should have complete freedom over what happens to their body and in their life, with minimal exceptions. Once a child can voice their stance, it needs to be respected.
This will not be without consequence, though. If Johnny chooses to not eat what was made for dinner, he may not get an alternative option. If Annie wants to get drunk when she has work the next morning, that shift may not be a pleasurable experience, or she could face termination. Every action has a consequence, and I believe the sooner that is taught, the better.
Something that I’ve been wondering lately, in my early twenties, is if anyone actually knows what’s best for me. My parents still claim their decisions are the wisest, and my friends and significant other use their perspective as the people closest to me as evidence to back up their opinions on what I should do. I’ve even had professors, advisors and other faculty at the college tell me what they believe would be the best course of action.
Sometimes this advice has been requested, but often it is unsolicited (and unappreciated). My brain is overloaded enough when making big decisions without having more cooks pretending to be professional chefs and barging into my kitchen.
Then again, I know that I don’t always know what’s right for me. I am emotional, yet stubborn, and those are not the qualities of someone you’d want making life-changing decisions. So again I ask, who knows what’s best?
Sorry readers, but there isn’t one perfect answer. Trust me, I wish there was, because my life would be a hell of a lot easier then.
When in doubt, listen to your heart while still keeping in mind logic, reason and the advice of those who know and love you the most. If you get stuck, Magic 8 Balls are available for $20 on Amazon.