Doing the right thing -- sometimes it can be hard. Sometimes lines don't seem so black and white, and many times they aren't. As a parent -- and especially as a parent of teenagers, it's really all you can do to teach them good morals and hope they remember what you've taught them since they are not likely to be under your supervision at all times.
My oldest, Keenan is 17. He is a senior this year and as the school year started last Fall he asked if he could take a road trip with a few of his buddies over Spring Break. I know that he's just a few short months away from "freedom", however I just didn't like the idea of the road trip. Lots of things could happen; they could break down in the middle of nowhere, they could run out of money, and of course you never know if they'll run into other sorts of trouble.
While I know I can't protect him from everything for the rest of his life, I do want to be able to do what I can while he's still a minor. I told him no, but that he could instead take the School-Sponsored/Chaperoned trip to California. In the name of Science, they would go to Wild Animal Park, Seaworld, Knotsberry Farm, California Adventures, Disneyland, and possibly swimming with the Dolphins should there be time. This was a great compromise and he and a bunch of his friends had soon signed up and began paying their installments.
He just returned from his California Spring-Break trip yesterday and told me about an encounter he had at one of the hotels. This particular Hotel had a swimming pool and a workout room with a huge picture window overlooking the pool. One night he, a buddy, another classmate and a foreign exchange student from school were in the workout room. An older man with an accent, poked his head in and tells the kids he's got beer and weed in his room and would they like to come join him for some "fun"? Keenan's buddy was shocked and sort of shook his head 'no' while Keenan calmly replied, "Nah... I don't drink or do drugs, but thanks anyway." The man said something to the effect of, "Well, I'm from Canada, so it's inevitable I do these things." (Whatever THAT's supposed to mean.) To Keenan's surprise, the other guy and the exchange student agreed to follow this guy to his room.
Keenan could see through the window that the man had approached several other of his classmates in the pool area, offering them the same "fun". Some followed. Most did not.
I'm not sure how many minutes passed by, but it was enough time for a myriad of thoughts to quickly pass through Keenan's mind. Why would a GROWN MAN be inviting a bunch of High School kids to his room? That just doesn't seem right; what is he getting out of it? The legal drinking age in [the exchange student's] country is 16 and they have a "non-enforcement" policy on weed, so it's likely this particular exchange student has tried both back home. However, she isn't at home. She is in a completely different country and has just entered the room of a completely strange man in a completely new town. And while Keenan thought those kids were foolish to follow that guy, because if they got caught it could mean suspension from school, the deciding factor was this. If I do nothing and something bad ends up happening to them, I will feel awful; especially about the girl.
So, Keenan and his buddy went back to their room, grabbed a few of their other guy friends and headed down to the Canadian's room. Keenan wasn't exactly sure what he would say to convince them to leave, but he felt he had to say something. He didn't want to come across as self-righteous or anything either, because even if his intentions are good, teenagers don't always have rational thinking and not all of them might see it his way.
He knocked on the door of the room and the buzzed Canadian opened it and invited them in. Keenan saw the girl and a handful of other classmates. Standing in the doorway he suddenly announced the chaperones were getting ready to make their "room checks" and that they should all head back to their rooms quickly. (Even though it wasn't curfew yet, the chaperones had a habit of doing "room checks" 20-30 minutes early each night, just to see where everyone was, who was at the pool or the game room, etc.)
Perhaps there was a student there who thought Keenan was ruining their party. But I would bet there may have been one or two in the room that were hoping for an excuse to leave, which Keenan provided. I am glad he did the right thing and felt the need to "help" some of his peers get out of a bad situation. It's not always easy to say no to something that's being offered right in front of you, and curiosity may even be enough enticement.
I feel very blessed that Keenan is confidant in his own skin and that he has enough integrity to say "no" even in the midst of his peers.
Way to go, Son! You sure know how to make a mama proud!