Friday, July 22

What Will You Teach Your Children about Alcohol?

Pastor James McDonald has a great discussion in the link above. Alcohol is continually a hot topic question among Christians today. Would love to hear some discussion about it!
                                                                    My Story
     I am so thankful for my parents talking to me about alcohol when I was in middle school.
They didn't just talk to me about it.
They practiced what they preached.
Alcohol was never in my home. Never used on vacations. Never used period.

My parents proved to me by their consistent example from abstaining from drinking and having alcohol in the home that it WAS possible to live a full and fun life without having to reach for a beer or wine cooler to chill out. For that, I will be forever grateful.

                                    The COST     Abstaining from alcohol cost me popularity in high school. It labeled me as a, "holy roller."  It kept many people from befriending me. As an adult, in the business world, it caused others to label me, "different" or cause some to quietly in the mind consider me a "religious fanatic." Ever want to immediately alienate yourself from a crowd- deny a drink in front of others and watch people scatter away like ants. I knew it cost me and I never cared. I was confident in my beliefs and why I held to them. I never felt like I had to explain or make a scene. But asking for a diet coke at dinner instead a glass of wine makes it quite obvious to everyone around the table that you aren't a social drinker.

Abstaining from alcohol changed the way I dated. It closed many doors through the years. I'll never forget the time as a single adult I wanted this fellow to ask me out on a date so bad. The one time when he did call to ask me out on a first date was to a wine tasting!!! Yep, for real! I kindly thanked him and declined right then. He never called me back. Imagine that! Abstaining from alcohol was one of the main qualities I was looking for in a husband. One of the discussions my husband first talked about before we dated was that we both didn't drink alcohol. When we became engaged we addressed the fact that we never wanted to have its presence in our home. It never has.

                 Some Good Thoughts about Alcohol
     I love what Dr. Billy Graham had to say in one of his books. This explains my belief. He said, "I don't drink because I believe one drink leads to another and then another. I don't want any spirit to have a hold of me other than the Holy Spirit." This has become my answer when asked specifically why I don't drink by other believers. As the product of alcoholic grandfathers both my parents were quite aware of one drink leading to another. That was one of the reasons why they were so strong in preaching to me as a young teen to avoid alcohol's seduction. But they knew that something happened to a person when they let one drink lead to another drink. Their personality changed. Both their father's personality changed while under its influence. They would talk different and act different than what they normally would behave. For a child, that makes a lifelong lasting impression.

I don't mind people having differing opinions from me about drinking. Believe me, there ARE varying opinions. I don't try to get into debates about why to not drink or convince believers to not drink. Because scripture never says not to drink. People drank wine in the bible. Jesus drank wine! But I don't drink because I believe drinking alcohol hinders my witness and could cause me to not guard my witness to others.You could argue with me that gossiping, malice toward others, a bad temper and lying could hinder out witness too. YES I agree. They ALL do. But just like I try to keep myself from falling into those temptations that would hinder my witness, I believe alcohol falls in line with them for me as well.

                              Alcohol and Parenting
For my son, I will teach him my beliefs and pray he holds to the same. But even more, I will show him by example. Think about it. If a parent says, "don't drink" to their teen in high school but their teen sees them drinking a glass of wine at home or at a restaurant, what is their teen to think? It's conflicting to them. They hear their parent "say" one thing and "do" another. More than likely the message the teen hears is that its OK to drink and will be more likely to try alcohol when away from the family. I believe if you truly don't want your children to drink then words aren't enough. Actions tell the true belief.

I am not telling anyone what to "do" or "not do." I am simply sharing with you how I came to that belief and how I have been able to hold to it. The debate over whether or not to drink or not drink is one between you and God .If you are struggling over the question, seek scripture and talk to other believers. Seek out pastors beliefs and pray for God to give you clarity.

Just like Pastor McDonald shares how alcohol is the elephant in the room when it comes to believers, I too think that parents must have to take a stand and be able to openly share it with their children. To not talk about it to their teens is to let their teens fall prey to pressure. It is to send them out into battle without any weapons. Teaching our children before they are presented with the situation makes it easier for them to stand strong and stay confident in a world that is trying to bring them down.

Decide your belief.
Take a stand as a family.
Openly talk about it to your children.
They will be glad you did.
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