I’m not sure how most parents tackle the birds and the bee’s conversation with their kids these days or whether many don’t do it at all out of the sheer cringe factor, but for my mother, her strategy was carefully placing a copy of the book Where Did I Come From, just on the corner of my bed for me to find one day after school.
I remember coming home, I think about the age of 14, throwing my bag on the floor and then locking eyes with the cartoon character baby, crawling out of the title. The tag line to the book was ‘The facts of life without any nonsense and with illustrations’. I didn’t think it then but it does occur to me now that that description of the book may be a touch on the contradictory side. I will say however that I was thankful to the book for preventing a sex conversation with the last person I wanted to discuss sex with at that age.
The book has sold millions of copies over the 20 years since its release and has probably saved twice as many parents from fumbling their way red faced through a conversation they’d prefer they never had to have.
Last year Gary Pert, the chief executive of Collingwood came out and told News Limited that drugs were a serious issue with young men in the community and ‘it would be naïve to think it wasn’t also an issue with the AFL’. Clearly he was right.
However I remember at the time thinking that it’s all very well to make public statements like that, and all yes certainly essential to acknowledge that we have a very big recreational drug issue in Australia, and I do mean very big but I think caution has to be taken when throwing the word drugs out there so publicly because there are a lot of little ears out there listening whether you realise it or not.
This latest scandal that’s erupted around sports and drugs, beginning with the Essendon football club and now seeping into the NRL is bound to be already creating a ripple effect that is unlikely yet to be truly understood.
Forget how saddened and disgusted we adults are, as national sport lovers are at this unfolding scandal, what about how this will settle with our kids? ‘A DARK DAY FOR AUSTRALIAN SPORT’ a headline last week, is accurate but really, will we honestly stop watching our favourite games or attending a match? Will the average Aussie bloke cut off their right arm to make a point? No, and I don’t think they’ll sever themselves from their sport either.
If kids find out about sex in their schools even though they’re not yet having it, they’re going to hear stories of these great sporting clubs and identities being tainted with drugs and we can’t just expect that it won’t have a lasting effect on their little minds.
Drugs are sinister enough to an adult that knows nothing about them but to a child, even more. Sinister subjects to a child equals fear and the boogieman syndrome. It ruins their trust and their faith in grown ups. Many of those grown ups being people they aspire to be when they grow up.
I’m not implying for a second that this issue and failure of integrity from the people involved is not news worthy, but there should be thought to toning it down, making it public and then letting the authorities do their job.
Society needs things like sport to unite them, excite them and bring them joy. Without that, life loses an amount of meaning that makes for a healthy culture.
It’s pretty sad that we need to add another scary and awkward chat to the list of parenting ‘to-do’s, but we’ve got to this stage now with young kids who didn’t need to know about drugs so young, but now do need to know so that they aren’t frightened and confused about what’s being said about a select group of their heroes.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS? DO YOU THINK THE KIDS NEED TO BE SPOKEN TO AT A VERY YOUNG AGE ABOUT DRUGS IN SPORT?