Tonight at midnight my oldest child, Jonathan, becomes a responsible adult. On August 29, 1994, we were introduced to our first bundle of joy and tomorrow he turns twenty-one. Tomorrow our baby will be able to do anything and everything a grown-up can do; specifically, Jonathan is going to be able to legally purchase and drink alcohol. This new world with the possibility of alcohol consumption ushers in a whole set of temptations with which Jonathan will be required to wrestle. He will be tempted to over-imbibe and get drunk. He will be tempted to drive while impaired and break the law. I wonder if we’ve prepared him properly for what lies ahead.
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:6–8 (NIV)
I have known for a while that I will not, and I cannot, be with my adult son in every tempting circumstance. Yet, while I may not be present, my imperfect example and incomplete teaching travels wherever he may go. I hope he heard and saw the good and godly parts of my words and deeds as he was growing into the man he has become.
I hope he saw that a little wine (or an occasional beer) is squarely within the bounds of Scripture and that being drunk is not. I would like to think that he recognizes that self-control is a godly virtue but ‘under the influence’ is another way of saying out-of-control. My prayer is that he has the willpower to know when enough is enough and when one more would be one too many.
I hope that he saw the benefit of thinking ahead, and having ‘another’ may impede his ability to minister to those around him. Maybe he has seen that the choices he makes now will determine some of options he has later. The buzz of inebriation is not worth the regret of refusing to visit the sick or counsel the downtrodden.
I hope that he saw that alcohol does not make a good time better and that good times are good all by themselves. I have never been anywhere where I thought that it would be better if I were drunk. I wonder if his upbringing will remind him that great memories are meant to be remembered and that only a fool would say, “Last night was awesome; I have no idea what we did!”
I am glad that he doesn’t know what kind of a drunk his dad may be – a sloppy drunk, an angry drunk or a happy drunk – and I hope that those dear to him never know his intoxicated alter ego. I have come across every variety of drunk and can attest that none are worth being around for long periods of time. I pray he is able to maintain his glowing personality without alcoholic enhancement.
Tomorrow, my boy is a responsible adult. I hope he takes the beer distributors’ advice, given in the small print of their advertisements, to enjoy their product responsibly. I also hope that when his youthfulness gets the better of his judgment, he has the foresight to call Uber©.