Time is a wastin’ for Kenai Peninsula seniors. There’s not much of it left before they venture out to take their first steps out of high school.
For some it means continuing education; for others, work.
The steps each of you take will determine your future in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. Each footprint leads you down a path of uncertainty. It’s a rite of passage.
The worst that could happen is to lose your footing before your future begins. Unfortunately, such occurrences are realistic today, and it all starts with one drink, or one hit.
Here’s a sad statistic: The average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9 years old.
As a community, we can only hope parents have taken responsibility to be their child’s guardian and instill in them the consequences of such behavior. It only takes one moment to change a life even for the worse.
The Clarion poll this week asks whether schools are doing enough to discourage bullying. Many have identified the parents as the ones responsible for controlling such behavior, while others blame the schools for allowing it to happen.
We believe it’s up to the parents. Positive behavior is learned and should be reinforced at home, not in the hallways and locker rooms.
Kids are going to rebel, experiment and make mistakes, but they’re less likely to prolong it if parents have set a good example.
According to Joseph A. Califano Jr., chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “A child who reaches age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using drugs is virtually certain never to do so.” (http://www.focusas.com/Alcohol.html)
While that’s encouraging, it certainly means a lot of work on the part of parents. Of course, no one ever said it was an easy role.
Growing up has never been easy and each generation faces its own challenges, from walking two miles to school to bullies to predators to MySpace.com. And there hasn’t been a senior class that hasn’t struggled through peer pressure of some kind along the way namely drinking and drugs.
Graduation means parties, and sometimes parties get out of control. Whether it’s beer, wine, hard liquor, pot, crystal meth or huffing, peer pressure can be very powerful.
The three leading causes of death for 15- to 24-year-olds are automobile crashes, homicides and suicides, and alcohol is a leading factor in all three.
Do you know where your child is? Who they hang out with? What they’re doing?
Parents can’t protect their children 24-7, but they can be in their heads. And as seniors get ready to leave the nest, it’s especially hard to know whether the previous 18 years will stick or slide.
Seniors, celebrate your graduation, it’s one of the biggest steps you’ll take in your life. But remember to keep your head about you. You’ve spent 18 years getting to this point, and now you have the rest of your life ahead of you.
Don’t let drugs and alcohol ruin your life. Your future is calling.
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