Over the past three years and 250+ posts on my blog, almost everything was written to generate a laugh or smirk and even extend the olive branch of commiseration with other parents out there who find humor in all sides of parenting. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have room to talk about other things that are a bit more serious, things that may have real consequence.
I was honored to be approached recently by representatives of The Century Council. Founded in 1991, and funded by distillers, they are a national, independent, not-for-profit organization headquartered in nearby Arlington, Virginia. An independent National Advisory Board comprised of distinguished leaders in education, medicine, government, business and other relevant disciplines assist them in the development of programs and policies.
They work with all members of the community – law enforcement, public officials, educators, parents and students – in a fight against drunk driving and underage drinking.
Last month, I was invited to an all-day summit at their headquarters, where we listened to experts discuss recent research and advice about talking to kids about alcohol and underage drinking. It’s an important topic for discussion and as a member of their parenting blog team, I intend on sharing some thoughts and facts with you guys over the next few months as part of a sponsored campaign.
I’ve always had a ‘love or hate’ relationship with alcohol.
Of course I love to reminisce about those first glorious sips of the nectar, trading high-fives for cold ones in the parking lot of a Phillies game or raising a glass to toast my marriage. But there’s also a dark side to it. I’ve watched people indulge to the point in which they’ve embarrassed or even worse, endangered their lives or the lives of others. I’ve seen people incarcerated and was witness to having a fraternity brother pass away in my old bed at our house off campus after mixing alcohol and oxycontin. Alcohol is a powerful depressant and I’d be a hypocrite to say that I, myself, haven’t experienced both sides of the spectrum.
My children are only toddlers and having this conversation with them now isn’t necessary, but at some point, it will be. While I was growing up, drinking in 7th or 8th grade was almost unheard of, but things have changed since Knight Rider and Airwolf were my favorite TV shows. The reality is that underage kids do drink alcohol, without knowing the full impact it could have on their lives.
I hope that my future blog posts related to the #TalkEarly campaign serve as a sounding board and platform for discussion, thoughts and personal stories about the effects of drunk driving and underage drinking. I hope that this will be beneficial to the parents of pre-teens and teens and can also empower those of us with younger kids, with some insight as to how we might handle this conversation when the time comes.
While with the TCC representatives last month, I recorded (don’t mind my jerking head motions, I’m hit or miss on camera) these ‘Words To Live By’, something that I keep in mind every day.
What are your words to live by?