I recently read an article about a 10 year old boy who is a bull fighting prodigy. He is from Mexico and is currently traveling in France partaking in non-professional demonstrations in bullfighting schools. In France, the approved age for bull fighters is sixteen. Due to the age gap, the boy’s involvement has resulted in a canceled appearance and has sparked massive debate about the dangers he faces in the ring.
His parents, who both support his involvement, state that he has been mimicking the fight since he was three and killed his first animal at the age of 6. Those opposed to the boy’s involvement in bull fighting state “that you don’t teach a child to kill at age 6. The role of a parent is to protect their child. These parents are not protecting their child; they are making him take unnecessary risks.”
It seems interesting to me the level of commitment and dedication these parents have. Although the father has been quoted as saying, “I’m afraid like all fathers are afraid for their children. … It’s like all other sports. I don’t think it’s more dangerous than horseback riding or riding competitions.”…
…Except for the charging part, with horns, in a fit of rage, by a huge animal that outweighs you 6 to 1 is what I want to say. Sitting back thinking about it, I toyed with the obvious debate of empowering your children, giving them the means, and opportunity to follow in their dreams, but then I thought about my own son, obsessed by cars and speed racing. He’s three; would I let him get behind the wheel by age 6 and on a track before puberty? Of course not, so how is driving a racing car any different from standing in front of a charging bull? What about sky diving, snake charming, or swimming with sharks for that matter, these are all things any child could easily say they want to do. Would you let them?
I am constantly amazed at the maturity, skill and intellect of my toddler. He has mastered most of the electronics in our house, remembers both my husband and my cell numbers and has no trouble giving me directions if he has been somewhere only one time. I am impressed and astonished at his abilities and see that the computer, video games, and the tallest platform on the play ground easily bore him. Of course I want to broaden his horizons and expose him to newer and neater things, but do I sacrifice his safety because I think he can handle it?
I am sure this boy has proven himself many times with his level of skill and concentration, but at what age does the mind transform from an easily distracted child, unable to really gauge, decipher or know the consequences, to a master or expert as they claim he is. Many grown men misinterpret the actions of the bull and face lethal consequences. Should we take the chance with this child?
Despite the danger factor in this situation, when does a parent allow their child to move outside the norm and do something, regardless of the challenge or danger? At what age is it okay and who is the judge to say one child is ready because of his birth date and the other is not? Anyone could argue the dangers in football or just plain swimming for that matter, so when do we stop them if an innocent game or sport can result in a tragedy?
Some have said that if something were to happen to this boy only the parent would have themselves to blame. Yet I like to think that he deserves more than that, so what if his parents would hold themselves responsible, what good would it do for this boy?
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