Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 2010
Source: Hanover Post, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Lori Culliton


One of the tougher parts of parenting is protecting our children from 
the evils that are out there -especially the threat of drugs.

As a member of Youth Roots in Hanover -a committee that is working to 
support youth in the community and help adults in the community to 
show better appreciation towards our youths, with a goal of 
preventing drug abuse in our young people -I've been a strong 
advocate for addressing the younger kids. I'm talking Grade 5 and up.

What I am hearing from people on the front lines is that kids as 
young as 12 have been getting in trouble with crystal meth, and it 
frightens me to death.

On Wednesday, Youth Roots hosted its third annual banquet. The guest 
speaker was a crystal meth survivor, Brittney McGee, who grew up in 
Durham. She has an incredible story to tell, and a dire warning for 
parents. It is a wake-up call that we all need.

What I have learned is that if we wait to talk about drugs with our 
kids until they are in high school, or even in the later grades of 
public school, it could be too late. Drug awareness has to start 
early. In so many ways, it's like fighting a war.

But for those of us who don't understand the attraction of putting 
horrible chemicals inside our bodies, how do we explain it to our children?

My Lightbulb is turning seven this year. She is on the last leg of 
her Grade 1 journey.

After discussing the necessity to start talking to our kids early, on 
a level they can understand, I decided to follow this advice.

"Do you know what drugs are?" I asked her one day when we were 
colouring together.

"Like medicine?" she asked.

"Well, medicine that your doctor tells you to take are good drugs," I 
said. "But bad drugs are ones that are illegal because they do bad 
things to your body."

Oh. I let her mull this over and colour for a bit, and waited for the 
question. "Why are there bad drugs?"

Good question. "It's hard to understand," I said. "Some people think 
that bad drugs will make them feel good, but it actually makes them 
do bad things."

More mulling. More colouring. "It is very important that you don't 
take candy from somebody you don't trust, especially from a bigger 
kid. If you think it is a bad idea, then it probably is."

It breaks my heart to have to tell her these things, to make her 
realize that there are bad things in the world. It would have been 
nice if she could avoid that reality for a few more years, but that 
wouldn't protect her.

It made me feel just as bad as our "stranger danger" talks.

It feels like we just can't let our kids be kids anymore, because of 
the very real dangers out there.

I wish she could just continue to believe in princesses and kingdoms, 
and make-believe worlds where only good people exist and you can 
trust everybody.

The voice of experience can explain these things. Brittney McGee 
tells her story well. Some day, I want my kid to meet Brittney. Your 
kids should, too.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart