The trials and tribulations of being a parent are many. Most of the time, however, nothing is a crisis. I do get mad from time to time at outrageous behavior from my son. I try not to be a strict and controlling father, but I do have to draw the line somewhere. When he forgets to tell me where is going, turns off his cell phone, and comes home late, I am outraged. Then he more than makes up for it by helping me in the yard or by washing the car. When he gets good grades, I am ecstatic.
I am not thrilled, however, when he uses the hot tub in the back of the house for beer drinking sessions with friends. I never limit his use of the tub, so he didn’t think to ask permission. But he is underage and I can’t sanction beer drinking. I feel derelict as a parent. When I came home from a night out with the wife and found him sitting in the hot tub, comfy as can be, with a friend, I wanted to punish him. I thought about it and realized that at least he was drinking at home. I also was a bit impressed that he shares my passion for a good beer. That might not be the best way for father and son to bond, but it is at the same time something positive. When he is twenty-one, we will surely go out together in the hunt for great local beer. We have a few cool breweries and I would love to take him along. I will just have to wait a few short years.
I do talk about beer with my son, which stimulated his initial interest. He was fascinated as much as I was by the vast number of choices of brands. As my knowledge and experience grows, I can counsel him as to the best products for his taste buds. It is all about flavor but beer drinking is also a social experience that he can enjoy with his friends when he is old. My social life certainly revolves around get-togethers to watch a movie or ball game with a cold beer in hand. However, I don’t want my son to go overboard now or in the future. He must learn how to keep things in control and never imbibe any alcohol to get drunk. How do you teach that to a kid? I believe I can do this by setting a good example. My son will never see me overindulge. He will know that an adult knows when to quit. If he has good habits, he can drink at the beach, on camping trips, in the backyard during a barbecue, and at parties and other outings. I don’t want to worry about driving and I hope he won’t let me down.
Meanwhile, give me a cold brew any time as I thoroughly enjoy it—one or two at a time. It is one of life’s great pleasures.