A Message from Responsibility.org CEO Ralph Blackman
Memorial Day had a noble beginning after the Civil War. This special day was originally set aside to remember both Union and Confederate soldiers who died. Many Americans still recall those who served our country on this special day of reflection.
But over the years, this special day became a weekend. And the weekend became the gateway to the summer and instead of remembering fallen heroes, Memorial Day weekend now represents our nation’s collective shrug that the winter doldrums are behind us, our coats are back in the closet and summer vacations are right around the corner.
Though there is that collective sigh of relief, this is not the way to approach your commitment to alcohol responsibility. If you have young kids don’t take a learning opportunity and turn it into a casual wave of the hand when it comes to their curiosity about alcohol. Explain how alcohol affects kids differently. Relaxing out back watching the flames consume your dinner on the grill is not the time to ask your teen to get you another cold one and why not get one for themselves while they’re at it. It’s still the time to remind them it’s illegal and unhealthy to drink underage.
And by the way, as you pop your third and fourth painkiller at about noon the next day because the first two in the morning just didn’t do the trick, this may not be a bad time to reconsider your own consumption. Use this as a reminder for yourself, about how different substances, when mixed with alcohol, affect your abilities to drive or even watch your kids at an outing. All the rules about setting limits, understanding the boundaries, and engaging in a lifetime of conversations with your kids around alcohol responsibility still apply to the summer even if your wardrobe choices run toward bathing suits and tee shirts.
While you’re checking out everyone’s vacation pictures on Facebook, take a detour to Responsibility.org’s Virtual Bar to learn more about making responsible decisions about alcohol. Not just over the summer but all year round.
*Ralph Blackman, a father of two, is President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility*