COOL DADDIES IN A RED CUP NATION
Tall red plastic cups were lined up in big triangles on each side of the ping pong table. Within minutes of the photo being taken, most would no doubt be filled to the top with foam. The accompanying Facebook post from my friend read, “Father/son weekend at ΣΑΜ fraternity... what could be better?”
A mere two hours later, over 40 endorsements were received through the “LIKE” button. Comments ranging from “show them how it’s done” to “teach them a lesson” offered greater encouragement. Then one buzz killer wrote, “What could be better?...How about not supporting, publicizing, and participating in underage drunkardness?”
Within a few minutes, my friend texted me. “Could you please remove your comment?” he asked. I responded promptly, “Could you please remove yours?” Now, I’m not exactly certain of all the rules pertaining to Facebook etiquette. However since I did indeed post on his “property” and he is basically a good guy, I took down the offending remark.
I also decided that now was the right time to begin writing a blog, something that I had been considering for the last few months. The reason for my delay was an uncertainty about what topics I would cover. Yesterday, I realized that a defined list of topics was not as important as the passion behind them. And since it’s my blog, I hope no one will expect me to remove any of my offensive comments. And for what it’s worth, I won’t ask you to remove yours either.
But back to my friend. I did email him last night to tell him that it was not my intention to upset him. I simply explained that I had a big problem with this red cup generation that boasts to an expanding social media audience of their excess drinking and raunchy behaviors. I explained that I had an even bigger problem with parental “atta boys” that encourage such behavior.
And I have my biggest problem with beautiful teenage girls who have taken their own lives following date rapes and party rapes, with photographic evidence of the assaults being posted on social media to the point where they literally humiliate their victims to death. I did some research and learned that at least 70% of sexual crimes on campus are associated with excess alcohol consumption by the perpetrator. And around 50% of the victims had been drinking as well. And the last time I checked, the legal drinking age in this country was still 21. And the last time I checked, Lauren Spierer a New York girl attending the Indiana University was still missing after a night of hard partying. And the last time I checked, my kids still referred to me as dad and not as friend.
Far too many of my contemporaries struggle to appear cool in front of their children. Too many of them endorse and encourage under-age drinking and rowdiness while ignoring the consequences that can often result. And too many of these manly fathers have daughters of their own. If you want to be cool, join me for Thursday evening hoops at the Y and a couple of beers at The Greenhouse afterwards. If you want to be cooler, explain the dangers associated with underage drinking and partying to your children. Talk to them about sexual abuse. Talk to them about Lauren Spierer and not leaving your friends alone and defenseless when they've had too much to drink. You might not get 40 “LIKES” tonight, but in due time you’ll get a thumbs up from your kids when they realize what you did for them.