By: Zvi Gluck
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It is one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make.
If you are the parent of a teenager, or even a pre-teen, you might have heaved a sigh of relief once you got through Purim safely, thinking that you could relax and not worry about your kid getting drunk, at least until Simchas Torah.
You could do that. But if you did, you would be making a massive error, one that could have potentially devastating consequences.
Because while Purim and Simchas Torah rank up there as two days where there are those who find it socially acceptable to get completely and totally bombed, excessive alcohol consumption is a problem in our community all year long.
Keep your eyes open next Shabbos in shul. You might see the group of guys slipping out quietly during the haftora or the rav’s drasha for kiddush club, where they might have a shot or two or six, all under the guise of oneg Shabbos. If there is a kiddush after davening, check out the liquor table where adults and kids are pouring eight ounce cups of hard liquor, with some coming back for refills. And then there are the guys who take the long way home once davening is over, detouring to friends’ houses where the herring, the kichel and the divrei Torah are all accompanied by plenty of “spirited” discussion, if you catch my drift.
I’m not suggesting that we all swear off alcoholic beverages from here on in. But as the person who gets called in to deal with the train wrecks that happen when kids overindulge, let me leave you with these thoughts.
Your kids are watching you 24/7. And it is your actions, far more than your words, that speak volumes. So if the highlight of your week is having a good time by blowing through a few bottles of “the good stuff” with the guys on Shabbos morning, know that in addition to putting an incredible amount of stress on your wife and your marriage, your kids might decide that a little bit of liquid sunshine might just put some pep in their step also.
And the results, as we all know, can be disastrous.
Don’t believe me? Watch our new video, The Kiddush Club. While it is a dramatization of actual events, know that these things happen in my neighborhood, in your neighborhood and in Jewish neighborhoods everywhere, the first step for many on the road to addiction and abuse, both potentially deadly past times.
Like it or not, we are our children’s teachers and the behaviors we model for them often become the ones they adopt for themselves. Whether it is at a kiddush club, at your Shabbos table, at your Pesach seder, at a barbeque, a wedding or a birthday party, drink responsibly, as if your kids are watching your every move.
Because, let’s face it – they are.
Zvi Gluck is the director of Amudim, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction within the Jewish community and has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 18 years. For more information go to www.amudim.org.