For whatever reasons, certain ages are allotted certain legal rights. At 16 you can get a drivers' license. Age 18 allows you to smoke, to vote and to join the military. Alcohol consumption is legal at 21. These things are big deals and have with them pretty big responsibilities.
So, how is it that before I reached any of these ages, I was entrusted with the lives of people's children? When I was about 10 years old or so, I started baby sitting. SERIOUSLY??? What were people thinking??? Nothing against my 10 year old niece, but I can't imagine her babysitting...at night...alone...with small children. HOLY CRAP!!! I can't imagine how I EVER did this!!!
Once I started to think about my babysitting days, I then thought about the end of the night. Most of the time, the dad drove me home while the mom stayed and checked on her babies. Let's take a minute to ponder that. Let it sink in...really, really sink in. I was always so uncomfortable on the ride to and from the babysitting job. When I think about it, I can't believe no one thought it was kind of awkward to put a young girl alone in a car with a grown man who, more often than not, had had a couple of drinks.
I'm not saying that anything ever happened. I think there were only a couple of dads that really creeped me out. Not that they ever did anything, I just, for some reason got a weird vibe. In my experience, the most dangerous thing about the drive home was probably the sobriety level of the dad. Not to make light of that, but I just want to be clear that I never worried that something sexual was going to happen.
I'm not much in the loop about babysitting these days. I know my siblings have mostly had family and close friends watch their kids. Their kids either go to the house of the sitter or the sitter drives him/herself over to their house.
Maybe it's just me, but I look back and can't believe I was in charge of babies, toddlers, and young children when I was still such a child. I also look back and think about the rides home and what a risk it was for me, and, for the dad.