I was just handed a permission slip to sign so my sixth graders can go on a field trip. Where are they going? The local Baptist McChurch. To be innoculated against the evils of alcohol and tobacco. I'm not overly excited about signing this form.
Don't get me wrong - I don't want my kids smoking or drinking. We talk with the kids about it a lot - the dangers, the realities, the health risks, the social consequences, the legal issues - we talk about it all. And by "we" I don't just mean Sweet Hubby and me. "We" means our whole village: other parents, closest friends, aunts and uncles, grandmothers, mothers of peers, karate instructors and wrestling coaches. I would add the "Teen Living" teacher to that list of village voices except that sex, drugs, and personal hygeine seem to have garnered all the glory in her class. Smoking and drinking have gotten short shrift. I want the kids to hear the "Don't drink" and "Don't smoke" messages at school. I don't know that I think a field trip to a church known for its "purity programs" counts (in my book).
I don't believe that pressuring kids to sign pledge cards in front of hundreds of their peers is the answer. I don't think that portraying kids who smoke and drink as villains is particularly honest or effective. I despise the pious crap that this type of program pushes. And yet...
The school was pre-emptively defensive about the location - praising the church for offering to host the event in order to accomodate such a large group. Um, this is just for the sixth grade - and I know for a fact that they can all fit into one of several venues right at school! Isn't that what places like the cafeteria and gym and auditorium are for? Anyway... I'm going to sign this form and let Mayhem and the Princessa go. I think I'll plan on some deprogramming time afterwards.
***I wrote this post last week and never posted it! Today is the day. I talked to them about what I expected today to be like (pressure, scary information) and what they expected today to be like (pizza, no classes or homework). They both assured me that they weren't interested in smoking or drinking. Mayhem added the ominous word "yet" to his statement which almost launched me into a round of lecture until he pointed his finger at me and said, "Gotcha." Both he and the Princessa thought it was very funny. Then they reassured me that they both felt very centered in themselves and they just wanted to go have fun. OK. I guess. ***