A Dad, A Husband, A Boss: Responsibility Starts With Me
I’m a dad, a husband, a boss and have been fortunate to make some lifelong friendships along the way. And professionally, I’ve spent the last 20 years as CEO of Responsibility.org, working to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promote alcohol responsibility.
My kids are now 20 and 22. As they went off to college, I wondered just how much my work, our talks, the visits to their schools would influence their decisions. Not just about alcohol but also about the choices they’d make when they were on their own.
Whatever bubble I lived in burst pretty quickly when I walked into the “lodge” to get some of my son’s things at the end of his college spring term a few years ago. It’s not where he lived. But the lodge is what they called their fraternity’s party house. Now, I’m no germaphobe, but I couldn’t make myself move beyond a few feet inside the front door. The floors were sticky, every surface – including the window sills, the counters and table, and even the arms of the couch had empty beer cans on it, and the light over the dining room table had been reduced to wires hanging down with two bare bulbs. I told him I’d wait.
He came back a few minutes later with a couple of boxes, we walked outside and I said, “Son, what in the heck was that?” He calmly, and, I think honestly, went on to tell me that it was exactly what I thought it was. And I went on to tell him, calmly and honestly, all the things I think I’d already told him so many times before about the dangers of underage drinking.
And then when he wasn’t looking I had to smile. I couldn’t say I was excited about all of the decisions he was making but I was confident that overall he was making responsible choices and understood the consequences of the bad ones.
Twenty-two years into parenting, you’ll still be second-guessing whether you’ve done the right thing or the wrong thing. In the end I looked at myself and thought, you know what? So far I’ve done OK. Because...
I do this for a living so I know all the facts and all the fiction. Along side experts, we’ve worked hard to build Responsibility.org to be your trusted source.
It’s about being a good role model. It’s about using the unique perspective you have to be a voice of reason, for your kids, for your family, your community - but most importantly it's about making the right decisions for you.
We're launching our Responsibility Starts with Me campaign to kick off Alcohol Responsibility Month and to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
The campaign encourages people to think about the decisions they make each day and what being responsible with alcohol means for them, individually. If everyone thought about their decisions on this level, imagine the world we'd live in. It can start with you. Tell us how. These folks did.
*Ralph Blackman, a father of two, is President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility*