Sunday, May 16, 2010

Drugs vs. Reading good books

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is implementing a new program within DARE (drug abuse resistance education - btw have I mentioned how annoying I find cutesy acronyms?). I'm glad they're being creative about personnel resources. I know it's been around a while, but I don't know if it's really been demonstrated to be effective. Given the teenage drinking rate is chronically increasing, I'm not sure if it's so worthwhile.

Drugs & alcohol are some of the few things that worry me about being a parent ... I cannot remember ever being even vaguely interested in trying anything. Alcohol was always an ordinary part of life: I've never seen either of my parents intoxicated. Albeit, this is no doubt part of a child's perception of things - - but still, being intoxicated was always seen as something stupid, just as doing drugs was seen as something stupid.

Yet, I never got any peer pressure to do either. My high-school classmates drank - yet the rebellious aspect always seemed to be the simple "look at what I can get away with". Getting drunk didn't seem to be the goal. Admittedly, since I was never part of the social circles, this is a perception from outside.

Still, both of my parents smoked, and I was also never tempted to smoke either. I didn't see it as bad or good, just something that seemed like "mom and dad do it". Unlike drinking, which I assumed all adults did, smoking seemed to be more of a personal choice.

My brothers & I got wine at the big holiday dinners (Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter) - just a little bit. I think I was 12 the first time I did. I distinctly remember it, since it seemed to be such a big deal.

I once wondered if being Roman Catholic might make drinking less of a mystery. We normally let children take communion when they're around 9 or 10 and we use real wine. Never the less, I'm sure Catholics are just as likely to drink underage as any other group, so my assumption is likely empty. (let's not even get into what 'underage' is or ought to be)

There are so many things that are critical to a child having a healthy, well-adjusted life, e.g. reading, respecting others, personal faith. In the grand scale of things, I'm more worried about the boys avoiding the life-destroying activities (drugs/teenage sex) than whether they read at age 5 or 6. Yet, I can influence the reading far more than the others.

No comments: