The Price of Failing to Step Up
Like many of you reading these pages, I live in a community where under-age drinking is quite prevalent. Oh, the local D.A.R.E. program does it's yearly school thing but over the past twelve years of our living here children (yes, children, not mini-adults as some would seek to have you view them) have been caught drinking and parents have been slapped on the wrist for providing the alcohol, having it accessible to children, or looking the other way. So much for accountability and responsibility.
More than once, over the last five years of active teenage parenting, I have looked at my husband and honestly asked, "Are we the only sane parents!?" Oh, I know there are others--Anne, Dennis, Cynthia, Mark, Gary, Darla, and hundreds more--but sometimes it feels as if a warped Parallel Parenting Universe composed of mindless "can't-see-the-big-picture" fathers and mothers make up the majority of supposed adults.
Sigh. I'm sick of reading headlines and captions such as the one in the opening of this post.
What's wrong with us as adults?!
When did the safety of our children and others people's children come to mean so little?
When did we lose our brain and forfeit our soul.
For the love of the Creator when did we abdicate so thoroughly the role of Protector and Nurturer?
In my community several years ago a boy barely into his teens was dropped off in a cemetery by his equally drunken "buddies" to sleep off a serious night of binge drinking. It was winter time in the state of Illinois and after hours passed-out in the unrelenting cold this boy--this child--froze to death.
I've never been able to (and I pray I never will) shake that reality from my heart and mind. He was just a child--thirteen, maybe fourteen, years old. He should have been home playing Nintendo or flopped on the couch watching ESPN. We as a community should have been outraged and grieved and changed. Perhaps as individuals we were but as a community not enough to say, "Enough!"
We've dealt with these matters in our family and I'm no, "My babies would never think of taking a drink of alcohol," wacko-Mom here. No, I'm a realist when it comes to such matters--but that doesn't mean I capitulate and give up the battle.
Yes, teens are going to try their best to drink if they want to drink, take drugs if they want to take drugs, and a myriad of countless other things, but gads, that doesn't mean we should have Open Bar night in the family room and serve up shots. Nor give up the parental ship all together.
And when a parent DOES allow and/or encourages such asinine, illegal, and dangerous action and behavior by underage children, well, nothing short of being held accountable and judged to the fullest extent of the law should occur.