Student or Learner
1. Does this ethical time bombs mean "children's ideal ethics will blow up, diappear when they reach some age or become age", which happend to me as well. So does it mean that adults want their children to give up their ideals in the end?
2. Does "neat" mean "excellent"? It's a colloquial word according a dictionary, but appears in a text.
21)We raise our children with ethical time bombs. We allow our children their ideals until they are perhaps 13 or 15 or 18 or even 22. But if they don't let go of their ideals after that age, we worry about whether they will be able to function in the real world.
After all, the real world is a different place. We have to be tough and even a little cynical. Adults know that helping others is neat, but it may take away their motivation to find a job. Adults know that peace is good, but we can't ever trust our enemies to stop preparing for war.
This is the so-called realism of adults.We instill ideals in our children, resent it when our children challenge us for not living up to them, and then feel reassured when our children give up their own ideals.
1 It doesn't mean the ideas themselves will blow up. It means there will come a time in the real world when adherence to those beliefs will cause trouble.
2 Yes, it means 'excellent', and it is colloquial. Different writers have different idea about what sort of register is right for what sort of text. In this case, the writer is imagining someone saying 'But it's kinda neat, don't you think?'