In a few months, parents will once again send their kids off to college with their chests puffed with pride, hoping theirs will be the next valedictorian, the next kid to come out a doctor or a lawyer. But hey, do you really want your kid to be one of those? They COULD be one of the kids who gets through college as the designated walker for the drunk kids on campus.
Which is more noble? Huh? St John’s College in England is about to find out. They're wooing kids with a rumored 100 British pounds a night to stay sober and help their plastered classmates get home alright. It sounds like a brilliant plan to me!
OK, yeah, they COULD be encouraging kids not to drink. But people have been working on that one for decades (centuries?), and no one has figured out how to turn coeds to teetotallers overnight. So they're left with the obvious other option -- if they're going to drink, for goodness sake, let's keep 'em safe.
These kids at St. John's will babysit the inebriated, protecting them from themselves (no getting behind the wheel) and anyone who may take advantage of their compromised state (90 percent of on-campus rapes involved alcohol). It won't just save kids' dignity. It could save lives. Which is why, as a parent, I can't slap my hands over my ears and scream "la, la, la" when anyone talks about kids drinking. I have to say I'd feel safer sending my kid to a college with this kind of service.
And there's a lesson hidden in there for parents of teens (isn't there always?). Ultimately we should be discouraging our kids from drinking (good news there -- SADD statistics claim fewer kids are imbibing these days, so it's not in vain). But short of rolling out the bubbles, we can't keep track of them every second of every day. Temptation is there. And with 72 percent of kids admitting to drinking at SOME POINT, we have to be prepared for when rather than if.
More to the point? We need to prep our kids to be safe WHEN they drink. Hard balance, but not impossible. Every kid needs an adult who says, "I don't care what time in the morning it is, how drunk or stoned you are, you call me, and I'll come. No questions asked." Ultimately it should be YOU, but if you're not comfortable, not sure you can still hold up the hard ass "don't drink, ever" line and say it, then FIND someone. A godparent. An auntie. A neighbor.
Find some way to tell your kids that their safety comes before your pride. Your kid will be better for it. Who knows? They may be the one willing to forgo the alcohol to fund their way through college as a designated walker.
Would you be happier with your kid's college if they offered this? Have you found a way to make this offer to your kid?
Image via burge5000/Flickr