We spend a lot of time as parents doing what’s best for our children. Even when they hate us for it. Even when we hate ourselves for it. (IT IS MUCH MORE FUN STAYING UP LATE BINGE-WATCHING FRIENDS RERUNS WAIT DAMMIT YOU HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW AND I HAVE WORK. THIS IS LAME.)
(Or something. Parenting may look differently for you.)
We make these decisions because (hopefully) we’ve learned a thing or two about life and about consequences. We are sometimes TERRIBLE at adulting, but we have learned that if we let our kids stay up all hours of the night, they are going to ruin our lives the next day. We’ve learned that if we let these small humans eat ALL the Halloween candy, they will probably puke and we’re gonna have to clean it up.
These are hard lessons for everyone, you guys.
But, as I tell my children, it is my job to make them decent grown-up humans. And hard lessons are all part of this process.
Having said that, there are some life lessons that we hope they never actually experience themselves. We hope that they’ll take our word for it that jumping off bridges just because their friends are is a really bad idea in general. We also hope that, they trust us when we say that there are things in this life that are really, really bad for them JUST SAY NO.
A couple weeks ago, I asked my daughter if she knew anyone her age who smoked or who vaped. She could name six (6!) kids.
She’s 13 and in 8th grade yet she could still name more than a handful of kids who smoked even though none of them are old enough to buy any of it.
Several weeks ago, I had a conversation about Cap City Moms joining the coalition that is taking on the big, bad tobacco industry. As a mom, this is a no-brainer. I work hard to protect my children and, yes, teach them to know right from wrong and to just say no. But even as my instincts jump in with both feet, this is the first time I really had a better understanding just how important this is. As many times as we’ve talked about just saying no, the fact that my daughter knew of (more than) SIX KIDS in 8th grade that smoked or vaped blew my mind. Sure, I had never thought to ask that question. Before, I just focused on making sure that number didn’t include MY kids.
A few weeks ago, Sarah and I joined many members of the Save Lives California team, elected officials and educators at McClatchy High School to kick off the Save Lives Coalition Campaign. I could sit here and rattle off disturbing facts and figures at how targeted our kids are by tobacco companies but I’m not going to. This time. I’m not going to sit here and preach about how teen e-cigarette use has TRIPLED between 2013 and 2014. This time.
I am, however, going to ask that we all pay attention this year. In the mess of a whatever kind of presidential race this is and all the other initiatives that come along, I want us all to pay attention to this much needed tax on tobacco products that so that more people in California take notice at just how big of a deal this all is. I’m hoping that, as parents, we pay attention to how this issue is currently (and CONSTANTLY) affecting our children. And how we can help to make it better.
For more information on Save Lives California, please visit SaveLivesCA.com.