Nick (and his classmates) graduated from the D.A.R.E. program last week. They seem so young to be learning about such heavy topics, but as a co-worker pointed out recently, kids start smoking as early as 8 years old.
Yikes. I can’t even imagine.
Last week, as the kids and I walked into a restaurant to meet friends for dinner, we had to walk past two women out front who were smoking. My kids plugged their nose, covered their mouths, and started coughing.
Subtle they are not.
When it came time to place our drink order, I was debating about ordering a Mudslide. The waitress chimed in to extoll the virtues of the current Sangria special. Madeline turned to me and asked if it had alcohol in it.
“Yes, it does.”
She turned to the waitress and said, “Alcohol is bad. We will be having water, thank you.”
She is too much.
I have no idea where she even got that information, since, last I checked, the D.A.R.E. program was not part of her Pre-K curriculum.
The two of them are quite clear on the perils of alcohol, drugs, and smoking. And they can recite various facts on why addiction is bad. And I hope that lasts, although I realize as they get older and in new environments with different circles of friends and exposed to more, anything can happen.
Even to little people who are ordering my water for me.
At the D.A.R.E. graduation, there were various people speaking, including the school principal, the local police officer in charge of the program, the police chief, the mayor, and a state assemblyman. When the officer spoke, he spoke to the kids, instead of at them, which I think is huge. He told them that it’s ok if they make mistakes, and he will be there to help them if they do. And he has such passion for this part of his job, I believe him when he says he will be there for whatever they may need in the years to come. His role in their lives didn’t just end at graduation.
When the Mayor spoke, he shared a story that George Washington told his troops 237 years ago about the importance of who you hang out with. He said that Washington told his troops that if there is a boy walking down the street with two clowns, people who see them won’t say “There’s a boy walking with two clowns.” They will, instead, say “There’s a bunch of clowns,” driving home the point of being mindful of who you associate with.
Which is something I really harp on with the kids, and am very intentional with in my own life. We continue to invest time into relationships that are positive in our life, and shed any negative or toxic ones where we can.
And so, another milestone for my oldest as he starts writing the closing chapter on his elementary school journey. And another proud Mama moment.D.A.R.E.