I believe every kid should have a passion. That passion should be something that makes them feel terrific and proud about themselves. I also believe that if a kid is passionate about whatever they do that they will avoid drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
To all of the players out there reading this – you’ve likely heard the drug speech. Which entails something like drugs aren’t cool, there is a reason people call it dope, and drugs will rot your brain. I remember taking a pledge in elementary school during D.A.R.E. week, sponsored by Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It went something like this:
I know who I am and I know that I want to stay healthy and happy.
I can stand up for myself and stick to my decision to live a drug-free life.
I can ask for support from my family, friends, teachers and even the police.
I pledge to say “No” to offers to use drugs and alcohol.
I can help others say “No” to drugs and alcohol.
While the avoiding drugs arguments are good, and the pledge is quite empowering I do not believe any of it works unless a child has a passion.
That passion can be anything. Maybe it is lacrosse, skateboarding, writing, painting, running, singing, dancing, archery, fishing, or any of a million other things. The point here is to latch onto an activity that moves your soul, and defend it from drugs and alcohol at all costs. I’ll give you a personal anecdote about how I abstained from all of these vices as I went through my younger years and teens.
I loved martial arts. In fact, there is a picture of me as a baby wearing a karate uniform – it goes that far back. Without Tae Kwon Do in elementary and middle school, and kickboxing and jiu-jitsu in high school, I can tell you unequivocally that I would have tried drugs, alcohol or cigarettes at least once. Yet I steered clear of all of them because I was ridiculously passionate about my martial arts training.
Through martial arts I made friends that were similar to me, and were very good people. It was these people that constantly kept me on the straight and narrow path. I never had to worry about a friend saying, “hey you want to try some weed,” because my friends were all too busy trying to get better at martial arts. I never tried cigarettes because I didn’t want to negatively impact my conditioning in kickboxing. I never tried alcohol or drugs because if my parents ever found out they would stop paying for my martial arts classes.
My passion became a shield that kept drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes away, but also had a very positive side-effect: I became more discerning when choosing friends outside of my martial arts academy. If someone I knew was involved in something foolish, I knew to not associate with them. Players, you may not realize it now, but the friends you keep say a lot about you. Your friends will either try to get you do to good, productive things or stupid, ill-advised things. Pick the good ones.
So to all of the players out there let me ask you – do you have a passion? Are you willing to defend it from anything that would take it away from you? In short, are you Above The Influence?
Featured Image Credit – www.brandon123.deviantart.com