Thursday, November 29, 2007

Red Ribbon Week - Creating Tomorrow's Parrots Today!

Last night on the way home from Wednesday Night Pizza, both Monkeys rode with me. We were almost home before Monkey See commented that something smells. On further inquiry, he declared that it smelled kind of like a skunk.


So I explained to the Monkeys that it could be a skunk, or it could be pot, because pot smells kind of like skunk. In stereo I get:

"What's pot?"

Um… you know… Marijuana?

You could hear the blank stares.

Wait just a minute, I demand. Didn't y'all just have Red Ribbon Week? Didn't they tell you anything about the drugs you're supposed to be saying no to?

"Nope," pipes up Monkey Do. "They just tell us to 'Just say NO! to Drugs."

"They just tell us to wear the ribbon and decorate our lockers," adds Monkey See.

Am I the only one who sees the problem with this? If kids don't know what drugs are, what they look like, what they act like, what happens when you take them and why you shouldn't… How are they supposed to make the kind of informed, intelligent decisions that keep kids strong in the face of peer pressure? How are they supposed to know that the cigarette their buddy is handing them isn't just the nicotine that their mother swore she'd smack them for trying but actual DRUGS!

And how the freaking hell are they supposed to know that the little square of paper isn't a tongue tattoo and that it's not going to be the kind of fun they're expecting?

When did we stop trusting our kids to make intelligent decisions based on good information and their moral base (whatever that may be)? Why are we teaching them things that are potentially life-altering choices by rote and expecting them to parrot that back to us?

Being able to recite the "just say no" litany isn't going to help them when they hit junior high and high school. Peer pressure isn't dumb. Peer pressure went to the same schools and sat through the same red ribbon weeks. Peer pressure is going to figure out the sales pitch:

"But it's not drugs, Monkey Do, they're just mushrooms. Your mom wouldn't mind if you had mushrooms, would she?"

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