June 11, 2013
Don’t mix alcohol with graduation parties
Graduation Day at our local high schools brings a whole range of emotions — pride, relief, amazement. And trepidation.
Certainly, the anxiety comes from the unknown future as students prepare to move away from families and begin new life, job and educational challenges.
But the first wave of fear is about the well-deserved partying in celebration of commencement and warm weather that often goes hand-in-hand with drunken driving and the loss of life of a local graduate or student while summer is just getting started.
The answer is almost too easy. Party hearty, but without drugs and alcohol. Keep the activities to dancing, a robust game of volleyball or even a cooking competition. Just do it sober.
The message to teens is confusing. Parents often allow their teenagers to drink at home, even if it’s just at dinner. At graduation, it’s often the parents who buy the keg of beer for a chaperoned party, ensuring no one will have access to car keys. But that’s not OK. The message should be a strong resounding “no” to alcohol and drugs — because it is against the law for minors to consume.
Schools, society and parents teach about the dangers of driving high and the unhealthy aspects of drugs and alcohol. But somehow, the fact that drinking or smoking marijuana before age 21 is illegal seems to be a diluted message.
From an early age, children learn to follow house rules and school rules. By the time teens begin to mature and act independently, the need to follow laws is softened by society’s actions to try to skirt the law — just a little.
Teens take that in and test it, often with too many bottles of beer and the subconscious belief that they are indestructible.
Adults, give teens a chance with clear instructions of life’s expectations. Let them know that laws are NOT meant to be broken. Lead by example.
Teens, thank your parents by being safe, refusing to be the one to break their hearts with a tragedy. With maturity comes the realization that your actions affect others.