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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear Friends,

Do you know what you will be doing this summer to separate it from the rest of the year? Whether we have kids in school or not, adults need a time to recharge, too. I am an avid supporter of solar power. No I don’t have panels on my roof or spend time lying on the beach. The panels are too expensive, and my wife burns very easily. But I do plan to “get out.” I even have a Life is Good hat with that directive front and center.

Looking through the upcoming issue of Prevention Works!, I notice a common thread. What do Dating violence, distracted families, alcopops, and summer days have in common? How about healthy recreation?

Adults serve as the primary example for our youth. What are we going to show them this summer? Let’s start with modeling healthy dating relationships. To do that, we need to actually have a date with our significant others or closest friends. Last week, I went out to dinner with my wife for the first time in too long. We went to a local Indian vegetarian restaurant in Franklin Park. We got dressed up, planned to avoid the early bird special – even if it would save money, and looked forward to a relaxing night out. Even when we finally found our destination, which turned out to be a hole in the wall in a strip mall (no offense – the food was delicious) instead of a restaurant requiring her nice dress and my shirt and tie, we settled in for a nice evening.

I was struck by several things during the evening. First, the tightly-packed tables were occupied by an elderly couple, a multi-generational family, a young family, and a group of college students. There was much laughter, passing of plates as everyone tried what each other ordered (the sharing was kept to singular tables ), and a relaxed atmosphere. There was no rush. Adults helped children order; the students had a blast – even in a place without a liquor license; and there was not a single argument to be heard.

At that moment in time, adolescents and young adults saw couples all the way into their eighties having a nice night out together; without alcohol on the menu, food and family were the center of attention – everyone was present; and since school was out, even the young children were out socially with their families until nine o’clock.

I, for one – for two with my wife, will do this again – hopefully several times – over the summer. I feel better already. What are your plans?

Steve

PS Now, if I had a blog, we could continue this conversation and really have some fun…