Earlier in the year I seemed to be assaulted by this topic in the media but I set it aside for awhile so I wouldn't be BWA (Blogging While Angry). We know how that goes ; ). The sequence of events led me to outraged outbursts at the newspaper and tv. They can't hear me. I'm going to measure this out as it came to me.
The PTA of my children's high school has been fundraising and spending money and time on a campaign to teach teenagers about the dangers of skin cancer and sun safety. They are building a roof over part of a patio area. A worthy cause. Sure it is. I agree. Nearly everyone in my family has had non melanoma skin cancer, I'm just waiting for mine to show up and, as a responsible parent, have been loading my kids with sunscreen and teaching them why since they were babies. All the way back in 1987 I knew that kids should use sunscreen.
Here's the problem. The PTA of my children's school has been fundraising and spending money and time on a campaign to teach teenagers about the dangers of skin cancer and...
This is a problem I have with my community in general. Recently in the paper and on the news the following survey information was reported:
In a report that had tons of numbers and breakdowns but this is the main idea.
2010 State youth substance abuse survey for our county.
66.9 % of high school students have used alcohol or any elicit drug.
2012-01-25: Alcohol, tobacco and drug use among middle school students in ( My County) is down across the spectrum, while substance and drug abuse is up for high-schoolers living in the (Specific Area I live) communities, according to the second biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey released today.
There is only one high school in that area. That would be the one that is lodging a huge campaign about using sunscreen. The one with the bar featured in the yearbook.
Many in my community, including parents, turn a blind eye to partying. Last year Mids High School yearbook featured a local bar as a landmark. Did no one question this? No. That's the mentality around here.
Earlier this year, our local news reported on the death of a student from a nearby county who was attending college out of state.
He was 21 years old. The official cause of death:
"respiratory depression due to acute alcohol intoxication."
Everyone had nothing but praise for this young man. He was described as, "a role model and a leader." He was an excellent student. An athlete. From what they had to say about him he had great promise for the future. He was a wonderful young man. I can't even begin to imagine the heartbreak of his parents.
His former high school principal was quoted. He said:
" everyone should focus on the life [he] lived, not how he died."
And that's the problem.
People should absolutely remember the good things about this young man. They should extol the virtues and promise he exhibited.
He should be held up as a role model for what can be accomplished.
But also for what can be lost.
Many parents seem to think, my child does well in school, is involved in activities, has respectful friends. There is no way they are using drugs or alcohol.
I can almost hear the PTA parent from our high school now.
Where are you going?
Bobs brother is home from college and having a keg party at the pool. Don't worry. He said we can't have any.
Ok honey, have fun. But don't forget your sunscreen!
There is no such thing as over visiting this topic with our kids.
We battled it for 3 years with Biggest. Did what she saw prevent Middlest from bad decisions? No. Which is why during her high school years I caught her drinking once and stoned twice. Was I surprised? Yes. But the keyword here is 'caught' her. And talked. Again. About every horror imaginable from being impaired. That's 3 times compared to 3 years. Now, I trust Littlest implicitly. She cares about her health. She doesn't succumb to peer pressure. She says she doesn't get why people want to be impaired. She can't stand the smell of alcohol and nearly vomits if you merely breathe on her after communion. This Friday is her prom. No matter how tired I am, will I be sitting up waiting till 1 AM to see her in? Yes. I will.
One of the reasons I began this blog was to tell a truth. That even if you are a good parent things can go wrong. There are wonderful young people who really do stay out of trouble. But even good kids sometimes make stupid decisions. We can talk. We can teach. We can be role models. If we ignore it or deny it, we are doing a disservice to our children. The hardest lesson we learned as parents was never to assume anything. Watch. Listen. Talk. Ask questions. Do focus on the irreparable harm that drugs and alcohol can cause. Doing these things WILL NOT give you a 100% Guarantee that nothing bad will happen. But pretending bad things would never happen and doing nothing could possibly guarantee they will.
© 2012 All Rights Reserved by MOTPG
P.S. I thought I would have today to catch up on blog reading, but now have to travel unexpectedly. I will answer comments when I get back and come by to visit asap. I'm very behind on some of your blogs and that drives me nuts!!