On The “Dispassionate National Dialogue” on Lowering the Legal Drinking Age.

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent dialog around college presidents calling for lowering the drinking age on college campuses. If not… here’s a link to help initiate you: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jWXhmLxHPcv8q_iFiN7nLt7RP8CgD92L2IIO0

On the one side you have MAD (mothers against drunk drivers) and on the other side are these college presidents calling for a dispassionate national dialog. I’m not sure how you can have an absence of passion when discussing some things as important as binge drinking and drunk driving fatalities.

The presidents believe by lowering the drinking age binge drinking deaths will decline. Students will not have as much reason to binge drink at 21, having reached the legal drinking age while most of them are still living with parents ( the assumption being parents will be there to guide and train them.)

MAD points to evidence showing a decline in teen deaths since the drinking age was raised across the nation in 1988. (how many of you remember people making those booze drives to Wisconsin in the 80’s? (Since Iowa and MN had raised the drinking age long before Wisconsin) MAD argues the drinking age should stay 21, as binge drinking usually develops in younger students anyway, when parents do not take an active role.

The key ingredient? Parents. Which is why several years ago I decided I did not want my kids to learn about alcohol like I did. At a kegger, from a drunk classmate, who was trying to teach me how to get wasted as fast as possible. I also did not want my kids to falsely believe that the true test of Christian Spirituality was whether or not you drank alcohol. I wanted them to grow up with a healthy fear and respect of alcohol balanced with a biblical based understanding that alcohol can, and maybe even should, be consumed in moderation. I also wanted to be able to be a good role model for them in these things.

Back to the dispassionate national dialog- I’m really not sure what I think, I’d love to hear your thoughts about lowering the drinking age. With two sons in that “limbo” age (old enough to gamble and kill in war, sign a lease, and get married without my permission and YET not old enough to buy a beer) I’m torn.
It’s nice knowing they won’t be driving home from a bar drunk tonight, unless they just went to a friends house to get plowed. But then it’s rough, I’d like to go with them occasionally to teach them how to be biblical consumers of alcohol, imbibe without intoxication. I’d even like to be an influence on their friends, to like above the influence. My hope and prayer; the things I’ve done to teach and train them will help them to not WANT to get wasted in the first place.

I’ll post this now, to hear thoughts and responses. Then later I’ll tell you how I’ve strived to do this in my home, as I finish up my Guinness / Stongbow and reflect of God’s love on a cool summer’s night.

3 thoughts on “On The “Dispassionate National Dialogue” on Lowering the Legal Drinking Age.”

  1. What a very nice put article. All points were very pertinent. Hopefully most politicians will listen to the real story and act accordingly. All we can do is to bring up our kids the best we can with the knowledge, morals etc. we have and hope that they follow through. Because ultimately it is their decision.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Marque. I think you and I are on the same page. I remember years ago, when I was working on a committee addressing risk behaviors in teenagers, we looked at some research about the home life of kids who had alcohol abuse issues. It showed that the overwhelming majority of those kids came from two types of homes: 1. homes where alcohol was abused, and 2. homes where alcohol was banned. The students least likely to abuse came from homes where alcohol was approached responsibly and in moderation.

  3. I feel like we must have been made oout of similar molds sometimes because of the issues we see eye to eye on…not that I would be afraid to disagree where I see difference…

    I have often wondered about this issue mainly pertaining to drunk driving and binge drinking as it relates to crimnology and classes I had at UF. I actually had a professor who was totally against the drunk driving laws. At first I though- Absurd! but then the more you look into this matter, the more it seems to be a problem -http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/crovelli5.html If you have the chance read this quick article on the issue. Tired driving seems to be more of an issue…weird I know. I am in agreement with you that properly modeling behavior in the home with alcohol can help teach kids how and what to do when they encounter it and could help protect them from other things to come such as college (or even High School- who know middle school could be next) keg parties. I seem to have witnessed this phenomenon in a person whom I love… which is why we will choose to raise our child in a home where moderation trumps teetotaling and binging alike. Since I was not commanded -Thou shall not drink- I guess thou shall. Especially when we see Jesus turning water into wine… wonder what that is all about and why we do not know more about what that is about… Well, thanks for addressing this again. Keep putting it out there…

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