Running With Scissors…Worse Than Sipping Wine?

Reading this Chicago Sun Times editorial by Richard Roeper I admit feeling inspired to hyperbole.

My brain immediately told my fingers to type out something like, "encouraging parents to take a ‘zero tolerance position on drinking by their minor children may be among the most destructive movements in our culture."

Of course this absurd zero tolerance position, one which Roeper so thoroughly mocks and demolishes, isn’t the most destructive movement in our culture. There are a few things in fact that make even less sense than trying to shame parents into teaching their children appropriate drinking habits, how to appreciate the affects of alcohol and how to properly enjoy the varied nuance of one of the greatest pleasures mankind has yet developed.

For example, I’m told there is a movement among some in this country to encourage young children to stick long needles in their eyes. Then there is the movement to have children run around the house while holding scissors in their teeth. By all accounts neither of these movements have caught on quite as strongly as the one that encourages parents to make sure not a drop of wine passes their children’s lips before they turn 21. But, these are worse cultural movements and I hear that support for them is growing.

I’m particularly taken with Roeper’s response to opponents of allowing minors to try wine at home. Here is a snippet from his editorial:

"A recent story from CNN put a spotlight on Stanton Peele, a psychologist and the author of Addiction-Proof Your Child, and other books on addiction.

"Peele’s own daughter, Amanda, says that starting in middle school,
her parents allowed her to drink wine and beer in moderation at family

" ‘It wasn’t some forbidden fruit," says Amanda. ‘I didn’t have to go out to a field with my friends and have 18 beers.’

"Peele says he taught his children "to drink in a civilized fashion, like a civilized human being."

"Calvina Fey, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, calls Peele’s theory ‘ridiculous.’

"By allowing teens to drink," Fey tells CNN, "you are giving permission to your children to do harmful things."

With all due respect: give me a friggin’ break."

Mr. Roeper, it’s very unlikely anyone like Calvina is going to give you a Friggin Break. In fact, it’s much more likely that Calvina will lobby to see parents spend a couple years in jail if they offer a tiny sip of wine to their children at meal time.

At least Calvina isn’t advocating small children stick needles in their eyes.

8 Responses

  1. Gretchen - October 8, 2007

    I have never been a big fan of sticking needles in eyes or running with scissors. I guess I was raised in a European household, since I was offered a sip of wine with holiday dinners from the time that I was about 5. My girls have been raised the same way. Ironically of the two tablespoons that put into their cordial glasses at Christmas, rarely is more than half of it consumed. Clearly, I am part of the problem, teaching my children to become binge drinkers!

  2. winehiker - October 8, 2007

    From the “Oh No, I Feel Some Hyperbole Of My Own Coming On” Department: If children are allowed to have a little wine with dinner, then the next thing you know is that this country might have a whole lot less alcoholics AND our health care system wouldn’t be as FUBAR’d as the Zero Tolerance approach.
    There. I said it. And today’s hype is tomorrow’s hip.

  3. Jack Everitt - October 8, 2007

    Let’s see, “Teach moderation at home” or “(binge) Drink at College” – hmmm, which is best? Oh Calvina Fey, you are today’s Queen of the Clueless.

  4. el jefe - October 8, 2007

    ZT also leads to insanities like 1st graders being expelled for having a butter knife in their lunch box.
    And by the way, by allowing my children to cross the street by themselves, aren’t I “giving permission to [my] children to do harmful things”?

  5. Wine Biz Radio - October 9, 2007

    Wine Biz Radio: October 8, 2007

    Kaz and Randy have Tom Wark (of Wark Communications) come to visit. The weather gets predicted, The Book gets reviewed, Randy retches about liver-oyster-mushroom-eggplant casserole, podcasts as Chia pets, Josie Gay of Heart of Sonoma Valley promotes th…

  6. Amy - October 9, 2007

    I have to say I agree with Peele,Parents should be able to teach their children moderation at home. Wine paired with food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and does not teach harm. Maybe they’d be more comfortable if the kids wore helmets while sipping.

  7. Oenophilus - October 10, 2007

    My daughter’s first taste came soon after her birth when I placed my finger in her mouth first after I dipped it into Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose then second after I dipped it into Robert Biale’s Valsecchi Zinfandel. Malia then protested going back to drinking from Mommy. BTW – her first complex sentence came at her 2nd Christmas dinner when a lull in conversation was broken by a tiny, “May I have more champagne please?” Ten necks barely avoided whiplash they snapped so hard to look at her then at very proud me!

  8. Wine Scamp - November 12, 2007

    Wont Somebody Please Think of the Children?

    Interesting article over at the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday about kids and winery tasting rooms, i.e. whether its appropriate to bring your kids to wineries you visit. Dr. Vino ran a delightful series of posts on this subject, starting wit…

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