Run away, or run toward?

Won’t you help me sober up
Growing up it made me numb
And I want to feel something again

Won’t you help me sober up
All the big kids they are drunk
And I want to feel something again
-AJR

(If you’re interested in the whole song, you can find it here.)

I was listening to this song this morning, and it struck a chord with me.

As the parent of a young teen, I’ve also been thinking about how alcohol and drugs are seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. Many of us had our first drink as a teenager, and our parents’ reactions probably varied greatly. I know some of my high school friends’ parents allowed them to throw parties at their homes, assuming that they were going to drink anyway, so why not control the situation? Frankly, I understand the mindset, because it’s essentially the same way I’m approaching motorcycling on the street with Annie.

I don’t want to get into parenting methods so much as I want look at the concept of adulthood. If drinking is a rite of passage into adulthood, then it’s arguable to me that adulthood is equated with the ability to escape reality. Drown your emotions in booze, food, drugs, whatever allows you to escape. I’d like to change that dynamic. How about communicating that adulthood means dealing with your problems head on, and not trying to escape them?

Wouldn’t we all be better off if we all faced our personal realities with everything that comes with them, and fixed the problems to the best of our abilities? Wouldn’t it be more personally satisfying to know that you faced your demons rather than running from them? Isn’t that what being an adult is about?

That’s what I want to communicate to Annie – that her life will be better if she faces her problems and tackles them, rather than trying to run from them.

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