Tuesday, June 9, 2015

D.A.R.E and then some

  My son and his fellow 5th grade class just completed a D.A.R.E. graduation.  I was so proud, as were the other parents there,  about how awesome our kids are.  This is a program that is run by the local police department and is nationally recognized to start at a young age to teach kids to make good choices.  I know many laughed when Nancy Reagan first said "just say no" because it was simple - it is simple to say but you had to add some context to help kids know how to say no when yes is that much easier to say. 

In the years since it's inception this program has evolved and I have to say the kids were really jazzed about it.  It also brings back policing to not a "war on" which make it a us v them and combatant mentality to a community doing right by youngest citizens by teaching them to make good choices and the consequences of bad choices. 

As a mother I am sad and nervous about the drugs.  I know I am not supposed to say this but honestly I feel like I can work around the smoking thing  - though if I had to think of a gateway drug cigarettes are definitely it.  I remember my first stolen ones, from my parents, and I still say I loved smoking and the memories that go with it.  I chose to stop because I understand the consequences of continuing to smoke - so I said no .    I do know I made my own choices from there but I never crossed some boundaries - there were drugs that even at a young age I knew would be something I could not bounce back from - that would deprive me of my ability to say no. 

How do we keep our kids from drugs or drinking too much or drinking too early or having sex too early?  You cannot go all ostrich or hell and damnation on them because that does not work - they need to want to walk away and have the tools to do so under peer pressure.  Take yourself back to middle school or high school and remember that moment at a party when the beer can stopped in front of you or the joint stopped in front of you.  Even if you were never an abuser with all eyes on you saying no was not a choice most of us felt we had - if you did well then you are special.   So how do I keep my kids from knowing how to walk away.  I was lucky I knew that I should no longer hang out with a group of friends that was moving past the pot and the cheap liquor - tangent warning.  I cannot imagine why we thought drinking cheap liquor was a good idea, besides economics, it was nasty, it gave you the worst headache and most of all it got you nasty drunk.  So when my friends were moving into the heavier stuff - I made a choice to not hang out with them so much.  The guys were nice, shrugged it off, the girls were vicious - friends can hurt you more than any enemy.  I can share this experience with my kids - I survived but I also did not have to deal with social media attacks and I had enough other friends to support me.  Our kids need to make their own mistakes at times and they will all we can hope for is that we can help them make mistakes they can recover from or help them recover from them when the road gets hard.  We would love for them to not ever be in that position and provide a safe zone for if they are.  We owe them our attention and our support and they owe themselves respect - nothing should take that away from them.  

What we can teach our kids is how to choose friends who like them for who they are not for who they need to be to be friends with them.  We can encourage an open dialogue and even if we do not like what they are telling us to let them know we will help them.  We build this dialogue years prior to the age when these things are options and encourage their honesty.  It is not easy but what in parenting, besides the feeling of love you get, is.  

I applaud the D.A.R.E. program and I love the song the kids learned - we should remind them of it, a lot.  Drugs and alcohol and most of all peer acceptance are all things that have a very appealing pull - we just have to remind our children often, even when we are not comfortable, that they are in charge of their choices and that they shouldn't let the choices become in charge of them.   So the road to middle school begins ... 
People can tell me what they’ve done.  Maybe some things.  Maybe none.
But people can’t tell me what to do.  I will choose the way that’s true for me.
Don’t want to fall into the trap. Don’t want to be somebody’s sap.
I’m better than that.  I’ll go to the mat to prove I can be drug free!  Yeah, yeah!

Chorus:
D!  I won’t do drugs!
A! Won’t have An attitude!
R!  I will respect myself!
E!  I will educate me!
Repeat chorus
Now……

People can tell me what they know.  I will listen as I go.
But people can’t take my mind away.  Only I can have a say in me.
Don’t have to follow others’ path.  Don’t have to know their aftermath.
My mind is my own!  I’ll reap what I’ve sown!  I know I can be drug free!  Yeah, yeah!
 Repeat chorus twice
Now…….

BOYS:              Check your attitude at the door…

GIRLS:I’m gonna beat the odds.  I won’t do drugs.  I won’t give in
 I’m gonna call the shots in my life.  And I’m going to win.
Don’t push me.  Don’t press me.  Don’t call me friend when
All you wanna do is drag me down.  It’s time for this to end!
Check your attitude at the door!  I do not want to score!
I only want to win in this drug war!

Yell: D-A-R-E

Everyone sings chorus 2 times with clapping
Sing Chorus 1 time quietly with no clapping.
Sing Chorus last time really loud!
Everyone:  Now!  Now!
Yell: D-A-R-E!
Sing:  I will dare!
Yell: Dare!

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