Teach Your Children Well

In the mid-70’s my husband, Bill and I were friends with a couple whose children played with our children. They lived a few blocks from us. The husband and I worked at the same hospital in the same department. I was a medical technology intern and he was a physician in the laboratory. Our families lived in the same historic downtown neighborhood. They had moved to our community from the west coast and we shared a variety interests, family dinners and children’s sports activities.
One evening after dinner at J and M’s gracious old historic home we were enjoying M’s delicious homemade cheese cake on the front porch overlooking the beautiful Gothic-style church that Bill and I attended when J nonchalantly pulled out a plastic bag of marijuana. We discovered that they were recreational users and had been since their college years. We’d already discovered they had experience with something called EST, which we had absolutely no experience with. Years later I would learn that Erhard Seminar Training was a cult spirituality practice.
That day Bill and I politely puffed but didn’t inhale and we began to distance ourselves from J and M. We moved from that neighborhood not long after. I changed jobs. They moved. We went our separate ways.
Recently, I interviewed a woman in her 40’s who told me her father began giving her pot when she was 8 to calm her (and to make sex with her easier). He was a recreational user. She ran away when she was 12, had her first child at 16, has suffered depression, anxiety, and PTSD, has suffered repeated sexual abuse and has had chaos all her life. I wish hers was the only such story I’ve heard. I have counseled a number of women with bipolar disorder and other issues who began use of pot as young as 10 or 12, usually from parents who used pot in their homes. Their brains were permanently affected and never fully developed as they should have. I have been called to healing ministry to help such women with wounds of mental illness, substance abuse, and other life-limiting dysfunction. Many of them went on from pot to abuse opioids, meth, or alcohol and now have lives that are a mess. Many have children in their teens or 20s who are also using pot or other drugs and wish they could direct their children down a different path.
I’ve seen firsthand the damage of childhood and youth use of marijuana. I’ve read the studies of adverse impact on brain development and cognitive function of THC use. I’ve read the news reports that are coming out on long term use that are dismissed by the lobbying groups and money interests that are promoting marijuana legalization and minimizing its effects.
On that Saturday morning I think our moral upbringing in Christian influenced homes, our Bible-belt roots, our decision to raise our children attending a church and its looming presence (literally) that day in our lives, our choices in high school and college about associations and decisions to say no to using pot, to protecting our children was God’s protective hand over generations that began with generations before us and will continue for generations beyond us. Teach your children well.