So I recently saw an article in the New York Times that talked about the benefits of having a child experience alcoholic beverages in the home before the age of 21. I am a strong proponent of this and really see it as vital to bringing up a responsible young adult capable of dealing with the pressures of excess. My own personal experience from being in school and seeing two sides of this issue form the basis for my opinion on the matter. It always seemed to me that those freshman or otherwise who came from overly restrictive homes (in relation to alcohol) were the ones who drank to get drunk exclusively and otherwise abused the new found liberation of the college drinking scene. Those who were brought up with responsible drinking in the home by and large had less issue. I am certain that the reason behind it all is that there is really only two ways to view alcohol consumption. The first is that the purpose of wine, beer or otherwise is to get yourself inebriated or as self-medication for ones inability to deal with the trials and tribulations of being a person. The second view is that these things comprise a key part of "the good life." As such, they should be enjoyed but only to the end that they comprise a part of that ideal for consumption and not by any means as a way of getting wasted. Of course, your average college student probably doesn't think about it in those terms but the particular mores and norms associated with alcohol are most certainly shaped by one's family life before college and these two scenarios definitely come into play. Having been party to responsible drinking before the age of 21 (gasp!!!) I can say that I think it made me much more responsible with alcohol after the age of 21. I know some of my readers are now thinking to themselves, "Pat...thats just because you don't remember when it didn't work out that way." I of course don't have a response to that except to say that those instances were few and far between...I think. So perhaps, I am not really the best judge of this particular theory but in my own defense...I have never been arrested (for alcohol or otherwise), driven drunk, or put myself into any serious physical danger whilst under the influence. I have however, had a lot of really good times and been able to enjoy that "good life." I suppose what it all comes down to is a lesson in parenting from someone who is not yet a parent. But of course never being afraid to give advice where it is neither asked for or needed...give your kids a drink and they won't drive you to. I also think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 or ideally removed entirely...but thats a post for another day entirely. Patrick OUT!!!