By Cary Anne Fitzgerald, PDHP Parent & Community Outreach Coordinator
Thirteen years ago, a dear friend of mine and I were visiting a friend in the hospital who had just given birth. Walking up the street, I noticed all the local students post dismissal rushing here and there. I had a quick flash thinking of the students I graduated to those schools and wondered what it would be like to run into them x-amount of years later. Well, I did not need to wonder any longer. As luck would have it, I turned the corner right into a group of them! I locked eyes with the tall teenager who was front & center; we both reacted in surprise, but he found his voice quicker. “Ms. Sogluizzo, (written incorrectly in Italian language and pronounced ‘So-lou-so’; my maiden name they had known me by), is that really you?!?”
I spent some time with them and their new high school friends, chatting on the corner. I loved hearing about their new experiences, reminiscing and asking after their classmates. Often times, I listened, just quietly nodding as their excitement poured out. As I walked away, they called after me. “Hey. Ms. S! Just so you know, you did good. We’re ok. We don’t do drugs.” I smiled as I walked into the lobby of the hospital and before I could say anything more, “yes, Cary Anne, you did do good and so did they. What great kids”, came the voice of my friend next to me. We continued on silence, satisfied smiles on our faces.
“We don’t do drugs.”
I think about this so often in my work in PDHP. Did you know that most children cite their parents as the biggest influence in deterring them from doing drugs or drinking alcohol? Did you also know that most of those kids have never heard their parents even mention the words drugs or alcohol? When I go to our parenting workshops, often I am asked by parents, “but who is talking to our kids about this?” While, yes, we do have guidance counselors, prevention education specialists, teachers who address these concepts in their subject matter, nothing will ever beat the guiding, loving words of parent.
During this week of National Prevention Awareness, parents, use your power of influence with your children. Talk with them. They will hear you more then you realize. You’ll do good.