Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wanna Beer?

So after my Friday night rant, you know the one where I complained about the town not parenting their children, I relaxed for a nice weekend of R & R.

Then 60 Minutes came along.

Ladies and Gentlemen! May I introduce you to the geniuses that we get to deal with!

Consider a stunning statistic: Between 10 and 20 percent of all the alcohol consumed in this country is drunk by kids who are underage.

It’s an epidemic that leaves parents facing agonizing choices -- parents like Bill and Pat Anderson in West Warwick, R.I. When their son, Gregg, asked to throw an after-prom party with alcohol at their home, their first response was, "No way."

But then, Gregg told them the party would be at a local beach instead -- and that got them thinking. At the beach, there would be no supervision, and everyone would have to drive home. At their house, they could lay down some rules.


The only solace that I took from this video was the fact that this happens in other towns around the United States. Maybe you've heard the stories. I know I have. Parents let kids and a couple of friends come on over with a booze (they don't buy it). They buzz upstairs to watch Letterman, and the students have a makeshift party. The next morning, a few select, hungover yahoos get to clean up the mess. Yep, I have heard that many times. Oh, except I've had students talk about parents having pot parties as well (one described as a 'hookah party', insiders may understand). Finally, since this is Ukiah, I have the family pot garden where Mom, Dad and the kids do a little Sunday 'weeding'.

Of course, this points to a massive epidemic that goes beyond booze. It is parenting. This was stated at the end of the program,
One of the things that we've done, I think, for too long in this country, is say, 'You know what? Kids will always drink. I drank, my dad drank, his dad drank. Let's just accept it,'" says Morrison.

"I don't think that's a good way to handle a problem, because if you’re gonna say that it’s OK for parents to allow kids to consume illegal substances as long as they take their keys away from them, basically what you're saying is, 'We give up.'”

"We give up." I've had parents tell me those exact words many, many times. What has happened to parenting? Parents are so much more concerned with a Gilmore Girlsesque relationship with their children than actually raising them to use common sense. What it is coming down to is that kids are learning more and more about the world from peer groups, many of who are dangerous and stupid. So how do we solve a parenting issue?

Think fast teachers!! Because we are being blamed for the lack of academic achievement in this environment. We are the reason that students don't do their work. We are the reason students can't critically think. We are the reason students have low self-esteem. We are the reason that more students are dropping out of high school and college. Oh yeah, and we are the only ones out here that know the truth, or so it seems.

As for the boozey kiddies, I'll say the same thing to you as I said to my classes two weeks ago. In Bangalore, India and Shenzhen, China, there are students that want IT more than you. They have more drive, more discipline and more dignity. They know what you are doing and are preparing to pass you by.

Wake up ladies and gentlemen, it is a bigger problem than you think.
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