A Contract For Life, Starting On Prom Night

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Have you ever looked back and recognized a critical moment when a decision was made that changed the course of your life, or the life of a loved one?

These reflections may recall feelings of relief and gratitude, or bitter anguish, dread and regret.

For a young person on life's journey, the danger lies in not knowing they are off course. Our world is filled with a growing number of critical switch points that can alter the course of a young life ever so slightly.

For most of us glancing back at the tracks, we can see there was someone who stayed with us -- whether we liked it or not -- to help us stay on course.

Perhaps this person was a friend who escorted us from a party before things got bad. Maybe it was a brother or a sister who reminded us that we were not alone. It might have been a teacher or coach who helped us realize we were better than we knew.

Any number of these people may have nudged us in one direction or another, but generations of experience tells us the most powerful influence on a child -- good or bad -- comes from parents.

This weekend, hundreds of Payson High School students will be attending prom activities. For too many of them, it will be an evening laden with switch points.

On page 5A (of the Roundup print edition) you will find a document provided by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). It is a contract for life -- an agreement or promise that can be made between a young person and a parent, or other caring adult.

In it, both parties pledge to make positive decisions and commit to a pre-arranged agreement related to alcohol, drugs, transportation and communication.

I can think of nothing on this earth more powerful than a sincere, caring parent. I encourage parents to cut out the contract and discuss its worth with their children. If a responsible parent is not available, grandparents, teachers, or clergy can present the agreement.

Too often our society jumps in to help young people who have already become lost or derailed. Don't let this weekend go by without coming to an agreement with the young people you love.

To print an electronic version of the Contract for Life, or for more information and tools to encourage open communication between parents and their children, visit www.sadd.org.

The Roundup would like to thank SADD and local businesses in Rim country who are encouraging safe and sober after-prom activities. These include: Laser bowling at Rim Country Lanes from midnight to 2 a.m. for only $5 per person including shoes. And late night movies at Sawmill Theatre featuring The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (PG) or Triple X: State of the Union (PG13). Tickets are only $5 per person with student ID and include a free small drink and small popcorn. Shows start at 12:30 a.m.

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