Awoke Grumpy

What's got me now you may ask. As my family and friends full well know, there are subjects that just push my buttons into righteous indignation. One of them being dealing with a sub-par curriculum in our local school system. Today was the straw that broke the camel's back, with a note from the Middlesex County chapter of NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence).

We have been getting these touchy-feeley footprints worksheets brought home with my son's homework. Over time these things have been getting more irritating and intrusive. The worksheets are intended to serve as a starting point to talk about any number of issues that may confront a child these days. The topics are what I consider part of general parenting, such as peer pressure and conflict resolution. For the most part these have been superfluous in that they are things we have been discussing in varying forms since the day he was born. Bottom line, these were just annoyances, like someone reminding you to take out the garbage when it was already done.

Today's note pushed the boundaries. It was not directed at my son, but at myself and Karen. They were asking us to sign a pledge stating we will never serve or provide alcohol to and individual under the age of 21. I proceeded to crumple it up and deposit it into the appropriate receptacle for recycling, but the more I thought about it, the more I became incensed. While I am all for curbing the consumption of alcohol by anyone that is not mature enough to deal with it responsibly, I know the law and I'm not signing an empty pledge. I needed to research this further.

Who was NCADD and why are they doing this. It tuns out this organization was formed by the first woman to became clean and sober through AA. She saw the need to de-stigmatize the disease aspect of alcoholism. A very worthy cause, but what does this have to do with to feel good stuff they had been sending. In my estimation nothing! This group's parent organization is fighting the good fight. They are attempting to keep people from becoming dependent on alcohol and drugs through education.

It has become painfully clear the the local Middlesex, NJ chapter of this organization has deemed itself to be my parent and tell me what I should be talking to my child about. Boy this is starting to sound like a "don't teach my child about sex" rant, but it's not. I am all for these issues to be covered in the school system. In fact I encourage it. The fact is that we have had similar discussions already, so it's no big deal if it's covered in the classroom, just don't tell me to do it at home. This brings a parallel topic to mind though; how effective are those abstinence pledges anyway?

Does the NCADD really think that my signing this meaningless pledge will stop me if I'm stupid enough serve alcohol to someone who shouldn't be consuming it? You will notice my theme here "someone who shouldn't be consuming it." I am not specifying an age here. Come to my house, if I think you've had too much, I'll cut you off. If I know you have a drinking problem, I won't serve you at all. Don't have a problem, but I know you have a history of drinking too much, none for you too. I don't want to be on the receiving end of a law suit. This is just common sense. Bottom line is even if you're over 21 you still might not get served. The converse is true as well.

I know, as a child, many of you have consumed alcohol under parental supervision. One of my favorite memories was sharing a beer with my father. Come to think of it, doesn't the church serve wine at communions? Didn't they sign the pledge?

I know in my house at some point in the future, my son will be drinking wine and or beer with me. I think the whole process is a waste of my time. I will be respectfully requesting that the school no longer send home the footprints worksheets. I really just wish the would improve the curriculum and stop teaching to the tests.