So, I was at the dentist yesterday for my semi-annual cleaning, and the hygienist was late getting to me, which is unusual. When she came out, she told me why she was late. She had left her 13 and 9 year old sons home alone today and they had just called her because some guy drove up in a truck and started taking pics of their house, even walking around on their deck. The kids didn't call the police first because they were worried that they'd get their parents in trouble for leaving them home alone. First, I have the urge to submit this story to Free Range Kids. I was surprised to hear another hygienist she was telling complain about how the kids' concern showed that "the government" was interfering too much in our lives. I find it interesting how sometimes the police are the "government" and sometimes they are just citizens doing their jobs to protect us from people yelling in their own homes.
Second, I was talking with her a bit to calm her down and reassure her, and we got on the subject of parents leaving their kids alone, and we started talking about this story. To sum up, a bunch of kids from a neighboring town were drinking and boating, and one of the kids deliberately ran over another kid with the boat. He was recently convicted, and this story tells the most complete story of what happened that day.
Anyway, she was telling me that she hangs out with families from this town because of hockey, and one thing she noticed is that the kids' parents DRINK so much. Their idea of any good time is to drink till they're drunk. If they have a spare hour while the kids are at practice, they go out for a drink. So it's no wonder drinking is such a horrible problem in that town. I mean, sure, kids will probably drink as part of growing up and experimentation, etc., but the culture of drinking is really crazy. And you can see from that article that the day of the accident, those kids had been drinking since lunchtime.
So it was interesting for me to run across this post via Atrios today. We recognize binge drinking as a problem, but do we understand how we contribute to it? Do we show our kids how to have fun without beer or wine?
Whether to change the drinking age is a popular topic for my student writers (I've pretty much banned it for a while because I'm so tired of it). I find that students tend to break down 50-50 on whether to lower the drinking age to 18. Many observe that we will just lower the age when students start to drink. I think they're onto something. The reason why kids will simply start drinking sooner is because they equate drinking with fun. And why shouldn't they? We adults do.