If the Kids Said No a Lot This Week, That’s a Big YES, RMT’ers!

This week (October 22 through October 26, 2012)  is National Red Ribbon Week, RMT’ers! If you have a child in public school then I am sure you have been celebrating all week long just like us with a variety of fun and festive activities each day to commemorate the occasion. This year’s theme is, “The Best Me is Drug Free.”

T’s school even dressed up for National Red Ribbon Week. The event is in its 28th year, all thanks to ongoing efforts by the National Family Partnership.

Sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP), Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 to honor Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who was killed in the line of duty. The purpose of the Red Ribbon Week Celebration and the National Red Ribbon Campaign is to make students of all ages aware of the dangers and problems associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, and the misuse of prescription drugs.

T really took it to heart when I mentioned that Monday he could wear red to school. I gave him a choice between a red shirt-blue pants or blue shirt-red pants. He asked why not both? Well, OK, then, both it was!

Or, as T came home saying on Monday, “Say no to the bad drugs!” When I asked him why he said, “They can make you do bad things; they can make you very sick.” Yes, yes they can, T. Now how can we guarantee that T and all our kids will remember this through the years?!

Having said that, and in the interest of full disclosure, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t state this for the record: C and I enjoy alcohol. Wine in particular. Very, very much. Shocking I know, especially for those who know us (not). But please re-read the words I used there: We ENJOY wine. We don’t abuse it. We don’t over-serve ourselves (or allow others to over-serve us), nor do we drink and drive. T also sees that we enjoy having a drink or two on a very regular basis (as in, with dinner nightly). However, C and I are adults, and we have the privilege to enjoy such pleasures so long as we are not abusive and do not endanger ourselves or others with our behaviors surrounding its use. C and I also believe (as do many others – see Europe) that by giving T a first-hand, eyewitness account of the responsible use of alcohol – as an adult beverage accompaniment to a meal – that we are demonstrating to him what actual and true responsibility is versus just talking about it in an abstract way.

Wow, I sounded like a real grown-up just now, didn’t I? Yikes.

It’s crazy sock – and shoe – day every day for T, but I made sure to ask which specific crazy socks he wanted to wear on Tuesday for Red Ribbon Week.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the festivities of Red Ribbon Week… Who knew there were so many wonderful (and wacky) ways to teach our kids of all-ages how to just say no to the “bad drugs”?! Not that T needs any help saying the word “NO” at the age of five really, but as the years go by I definitely acknowledge and realize that this word becomes harder for humans to utter whatever the situation, especially when this word has to do with standing up to peer pressure and/or other pressures during the developmental years. Thus, the Red Ribbon Week program is proof-positive that it’s never too early in a child’s life to start teaching them about the dangers of drug use and abuse.

DAH DAH DAHDAHDAHDAH RedRibbonWeek… T sported his new “Rainbow Afro Circus” wig this Thursday at school for crazy hair day. While he was the only one in his class with this wig, many other students on campus had them. I guess the release of Madagascar 3 a couple of Tuesdays ago helped out a lot of us parents by providing a mess-free hair styling option (and with an early holiday present of the movie, too!).

Let me repeat that again in case you missed it: It’s never too early in a child’s life to start teaching them about the dangers of drugs. Sadly, these kids are bombarded with mixed media messages at every turn, and it’s up to us parents along with our schools to present a unified message about the important things – like saying no to drug use, misuse, and abuse – early and often. Really, it’s something that cannot be stressed too much, and what better way than to deliver the message in a fun and kid-friendly (and age-appropriate) way? I bet they’re more likely to listen to and understand the message that way, too. And if you are looking for a great way to begin the conversation with your Kindergarten-aged child about saying no to drugs, Babycenter has some great guidelines for you to get started (there are also other links for slightly older children on the same website as well).

As part of this year’s Red Ribbon Week Celebration, T’s class (and all of the classes at his school) signed a pledge to live their lives free of drug abuse. His teacher posted their class’ pledge on his classroom door, and the others are on public display this week as well.

This was T’s week-long event schedule for his school’s Red Ribbon Week Celebration:

Monday – “The Best Me is Drug Free” Students were encouraged to wear red to school to show their support for a healthy lifestyle. Students signed the Red Ribbon Pledge in class and received a Red Ribbon bracelet from PTA.

Tuesday – “Sock It to Drugs” Students were encouraged to wear “Crazy” socks to show their support for a healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday – “Design a T and be Drug Free” Students were encouraged to design and decorate their own drug-free T-shirt from home to wear to school on this day. “Please do not draw on school uniforms!” the flier said. Pictures and words were to be appropriate for all grades TK-8. Students with a designed T-shirt got a red vine during lunch from the PTA.

Thursday – “We’re CRAZY about being Drug Free!” Students were encouraged to wear their hair “Crazy” to show support for a healthy lifestyle.

Friday – “Being Drug-Free Comes in Cans, I Can, You Can, We Can” Students today were encouraged to bring a canned food item from home and drop it off in the red buckets in the main office hallway. All canned food will be donated to a local Long Beach food bank.

Uncle Sam even delivered his message at T’s school during this year’s Red Ribbon Week.

What cool and creative activities did your schools or youth organizations set up for Red Ribbon Week in your community this year, RMT’ers?