But the politicians far away in Washington could not know the settlers so they must make rules to regulate them and one rule was that a homesteader must be twenty-one years old. None of the rules worked as they were intended to.
Anybody knew that no two men were alike. You could measure cloth with a yardstick, or distance by miles, but you could not lump men together and measure them by any rule. Brains and character did not depend on anything but the man himself. Some men did not have the sense at sixty that some had at sixteen. And Almanzo considered that he was as good, any day, as any man twenty-one years old.
This is when Almanzo reaveals that he is only 19 but said he was 21 to get the homestead. I asked my boys what they thought about this situation. My older son thought it was okay for the reasons that Almanzo outlines. My younger son is very black and white and was adamant that this was not okay. It is tough when most of the people I am around feel like they must measure the un-measurable in order to get funding, show their worth, etc. This is also why we homeschool as education seems to be all about measuring not against a standard but against one another. Those who compare themselves by themselves are fools. We'd be wise to remember that.