Atrios, ostensibly addressing anti-drug efforts in schools:
…but from my memory of that time of life there was a big tendency for adults to pretend that they never behaved like adults. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with trying to convince teens that maybe they should keep away from the booze and drugs, but the problem was that Adult Role Models held up a picture of life that was untrue. You know, a world where all good people were sober and chaste. It was as if drinking was portrayed as adolescent behavior, instead of behavior adolescents shouldn’t be doing.
My personal mantra of late is that I’m no role model–I’m an example.
Yet we continue to foist upon our children a world that can not exist, except in some sort of vacuum divorced from the reality the power brokers in charge of our anti-drug education insist upon. As Atrios points out, we treat drinking as “adolescent behavior”, and we then we wind up shocked when adolescents want to engage in such behavior. Inevitably, a good number of them are going to try a controlled substance, usually alcohol, before they are legally able to do so. Having just broken their promise to “say no”, what do they do know now once they’ve said “yes”?
And they’re not the only ones. A lot of us adults say “yes” as well. Do we hide our own hypocrisy, which is what inevitably happens when you demand a role model, or do you use the idea of our own personal examples to better inform the choices of our young charges?
“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day…”
— Mick Jagger & Keith Richards