Dear Future Darwin Award Winner

While gassing up my van last week, I had a run-in with a future Darwin Award winner.  Since my exasperated reprimand had no effect, I’ll just have to get my frustrations out by writing her a letter.

Dear Future Darwin Award Winner,Dear Future Darwin Award Winner (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

I don’t know you.  I don’t know your name.  I don’t know anything about your struggles as a human being.  Honestly, I have to tell you that I really don’t care.  You see, Future Darwin Award Winner, you did something unforgivable: you put my children in danger with your stupidity that could have removed you from the gene pool.

It was a nice day.  I was happy to be filling up my van with gas for the month.  My kids were quiet.  Norton had just had a great first day at preschool.  Other folks were quietly filling their vehicles and going about life as a member of civilized society.

Then you came along.  Yes, you.  With your red shorts, your big red sun glasses, your white tube socks with red stripes above your knee, and your red peep-toed slingbacks.  You came crossing the busy road with such oblivion that I’m amazed your status as a Future Darwin Award Winner wasn’t achieved right then.  All the while, you were puffing away on your cigarette.

As a reformed smoker, I don’t enjoy the smell of cigarettes at all.  I hate the smell.  But I understand that you may not have found the way for you to quit yet.  My understanding, however, was destroyed when you mindlessly staggered through the gas station pumping area.  My good will for your incognizant stumbling became anger at your stupidity when you strode right between the pumps, puffing away on your noxious cancer stick.  You see, at that moment, Future Darwin Award Winner, you could have blown up the gas station while my sweet, innocent children were safely strapped inside my Grand Caravan.  I yelled at you to pay attention and not smoke near the gas station… but you were too dazed, to engrossed in whatever  thoughts rattled through that brain of yours, to let my words sink in.  You must have heard me ask you what the blazes you were thinking.  You looked right at me.

Yet you still stumbled on.

If you want to remove yourself from the gene pool through your own stupidity, that’s fine.  In fact, civilization might be better for it.  But you do not have the right to take my children through your idiocy as well.

Sincerely,

A mother who would like to see her children grow up to be amazing

Image courtesy of Dan/Free Digital Photos.net

Anti-Smoking Teen Makes Me Proud

Anti-Smoking Teen Makes Me Proud (Motherhood Looms)

Image from stockxchange, used with permission.

I had a conversation about tobacco with my teenaged son not that long ago.  I was pleased to find that he is militantly anti-smoking.  When he credited me with his anti-smoking attitude, I was beyond thrilled.

Statistically, smoking parents are more likely to have smoking children.  I read a UK study that indicated that children of smokers are three times more likely to become smokers themselves.  That’s a pretty significant number.  I smoked when Andy was younger.  At times in my life, I smoked quite heavily.

So how did I, his dirty smoker mother, influence my boy to become militantly anti-smoking?

I treated it like something shameful.  I never smoked where he could see it.  There was no smoking in my car or in my house.  If he’d follow me outside when I was smoking, I’d “hide” my cigarette from view and then send him back inside.  It wasn’t “cute” to see a child imitating a smoking parent.  (Fortunately, Andy never did that, but I did have quite the freak out when I saw his little cousin imitating his dad and grandfather smoking on the back deck.)  The last thing that I ever wanted was for my boy to see me smoking and think that it was okay.  It wasn’t.*

When I did finally quit, he was my biggest cheerleader.  And now he’s encouraging his school aged friends to either quit smoking or never start in the first place.

Did you raise an anti-smoking teen?  How did you do it?

*Disclaimer: No judgment on those who still smoke.  It’s hard to quit.  I get that.  That doesn’t mean that I want kids to start, though, and sending them the message that smoking is not okay is a great way to do that.