How about a glass half full?

This post is more a muse, an observation, a posed question.

First the question: Why is controlled drinking for the under-aged so frowned upon in the USA? Why does our society penalize safe and controlled introductions to drinking for those we are entrusted with?

Now the observation: We don’t, as a rule, introduce our children to safe drinking habits. And if we do, we are often met with consternation from others, and run the real risk of the aforementioned penalized actions. Generally, the blind-eye method is engaged: we let them discover the world of alcohol without a modicum of our involvement, guidance, or wisdom. Don’t get me wrong; we’re very good at the “talk”, the “warning of danger”, THAT is how American society defines our duty.

Finally, the muse: Repression on any level generally backfires, even if it’s well-meaning and presumably informed. We are this country of freedoms, liberty, and progressive views. Yet we send a loud and clear message to our kids that something as powerful and complicated as alcohol consumption is something they must discover on their own. Our kids’ only alternative is to learn the fine art of deception that often leads to risky, unsafe activities; hence, they run the risk of dying from alcohol related accidents on the road, or from college craziness and subsequent alcohol poisoning, or date rape, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases… the list goes on. But hey, at least our antiquated and puritanical views are safe and sound! Isn’t it ironic that for most of our college bound children, the first quarter/semester of their college career includes the understanding that they will probably under-perform due to the discovery of the “party”?

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if our little Dicks and Janes were offered a glass of watered down wine under our safe parental guidance at a younger age, begin their education of safe sane practices, when we have optimum control? But why risk getting hauled off to jail for child abuse when our kids can figure it out for themselves later, when they know it all, and are invincible?

Normally, my blog will be more light and blithe, and focus on the art of wine, and food and living well. I just wish we could adjust our society to include our kids in the process too.


7 Responses to “How about a glass half full?”

  1. 1 Spencer Bartlett
    January 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I totally agree with this whole thing. I am currently a Junior at UCSB and have to say that if parents would just take the time to introduce kids to alcohol at a younger and more controllable age, they would be more well versed and in the know about what actually happens to them and their bodies when they drink. If they were able to notice the signs, they would be more likely to avoid those nights of dangerous intoxication. Just saying, parents really drop the ball for the most part.

    • 2 Patrick Bartlett
      January 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks – hope this post and your comment spurs more conversation – show it to some of your college friends – I’d love their feed back as well!

  2. January 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Go to any college and you’ll see we reap what we sow: binging like you can’t imagine. But like so many other things, we don’t worry about what we can’t see in front of our own eyes. Too many in this country want to make things illegal, thinking that will make them go away (abortion, underage drinking, marijuana, immigration), when really the goal, whether they know it or not, is to drive the undesired behavior underground where we won’t have to look at it. I call it the Toilet Effect. Flush it, I don’t care where it goes, so long as I don’t have to pay any attention to it.

  3. 4 Rob Lee
    January 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Europeans go to bars/pubs as a social experience; have a drink and catch-up with neighbors, friends, and to meet new people. Americans go to bars like they are on a “Mission from God” to get hammered. Why such a cultural divide? Exactly what you wrote about, thanks to false puritanical values we let our kids watch movies with tons of death and maiming but freak at the thought of sex and alcohol. Great observation, and something we as a culture need to address and change!

    • 5 Patrick Bartlett
      January 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Bingo!!! The whole topic of passive approval of violence in the media and disdain for sex and alcohol is a sad commentary on the warped values our society pushes!!! Thanks for your comments, hopefully someone’s listening! But hey, if not, we’ll just keep this soapbox alive until they are, right?

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Patrick Bartlett

A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!


January 2010
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