Parenting in the Haze of Legalized Marijuana
When my mother told me not to smoke, for example, or not to have sex before marriage, because my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit, it clicked. That made sense. It was an immovable barrier between me and self-destruction. My body belonged to God. It was not for my recreational use in just any way I pleased. It was for his glory.
I hope this reasoning makes sense to my children as well. As parents we will pray for such clarity in them, but we won't rely on it. Our family requires a continued discussion around health and behaviors and working towards God's best for our lives. Our parenting sets up boundaries to limit their risks of exposure to risky behaviors, which loosen as they mature. We reinforce our words with modeling a care for our own bodies and minds because we want to honor what God has offered us.
We are neither purists nor protectionists. By this I mean my husband and I do our best to demonstrate good health, and we drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation. Still, we don't exercise half as much as we should and eat our fair share of junk food. As far as treating our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit we fall short for a myriad of reasons, ranging from life with four kids to our fallen nature.
And we don't parent in a vacuum. We are attempting to raise our kids to become real adults in a real world. When they grow up and leave our home, we want them to be prepared to handle the realities of our society, marijuana and all. We're partly terrified, but this is the "in the world" life we're called to live, and it comes with potential risks.
I wish there were a step-by-step process for ensuring this drug and my children don't mix. But I'm starting to suspect the reason there haven't been many local news stories on how to tackle this new parenting dilemma is because there aren't clear talking points. I'm left with the parenting basics Christian parents have used for centuries: boundaries, prayer and continued conversations with my kids about their value to God and the free will he's given them.
Alexandra Kuykendall is Mom and Leader Content Editor at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) a ministry to moms of young kids. Her memoir, The Artist's Daughter, explores her own journey of identity development and significance from childhood to marriage and motherhood. Connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com
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