13 April 2007

Responsible Drinking

We were out for dinner tonight and a middle school girls' sports team came into the restaurant.  Two coaches and a couple of other adult chaperones were with them.  Not long after they sat down, I glanced over and noticed that all of the adults had ordered very large glasses of beer. 
I'm not writing tonight to discuss whether drinking in general is right or wrong.    I want to talk about the irresponsibility that this action showed these young, impressionable girls as well as anyone else who happened to notice what they were drinking.  Even if you believe that drinking an alcoholic beverage with your meal is acceptable, would you do so in front of an entire sports team of middle school children who were under your care?  I think it shows a lack of good judgement on the part of all the adults involved.
Children watch everything we do.  Teachers and coaches have the opportunity to be some of the most influential people in their students' lives.  From my own educational experience, I can attest that some of my greatest mentors were my teachers.  Have teachers forgotten how important their role is in guiding young minds?  The Bible gives teachers a very high calling, and while I don't expect non-believing teachers to meet that standard, this particular incident seems to be more of a social responsibility issue.
Adolescents are faced with peer pressure daily to drink, smoke, have sex, etc...  When Susie goes to a party this weekend and is offered a beer, why shouldn't she take it since she just saw Coach Jones drinking one last night?  And how many did she see the Coach drink anyway?  1?  3?  How many beers will it take for Susie to become drunk, wasted, or until she simply throws up and passes out?  I know I'm getting a little graphic, but children aren't ready to make decisions like this.  When they see the influential adults in their lives choosing to drink, then why wouldn't they choose the same thing?  They don't see the difference in a responsible adult enjoying an occassional beer and a 13 year old drinking themselves into oblivion.
Again, if you you believe that an occasional drink is acceptable, then I would never judge you for it.   If you were choosing to drink it in front of a dozen impressionable young girls, then I would be upset.  I think this was wrong from so many angles, and I hope that in spite of my lack of eloquence as a writer, my point is clear.  Responsible teachers don't drink in front of students, and I also don't believe that parents should be drinking in front of other people's children.  And this, my friends, is yet another terrific reason that the homeschool movement is continuously booming and another reason that I know I am blessed to be a part of the homeschooling experience.

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