The recent wet dry votes across the region have mostly led to counties continuing to stay dry. As someone who has never lived in an area that questioned wet versus dry, I have to admit I am a bit confused by the whole notion of living in a dry county.
In dry counties you can drink, you can have alcohol at your home, you just can’t buy it. If you have all of the freedoms of a wet county but just have to drive farther to get alcohol where’s the advantage to being dry? Alcohol is still all around you.
I have spent my entire life in wet areas. Truly, until I was beginning work for the Appalachia Service Project I didn’t know there was such a thing as a dry county. We were not allowed to drink during the time we worked for the ASP, and I was only 18 anyway, but I worked in Knott County which was, as far as I knew, the first time I had ever spent in a dry county.
Since I didn’t drink it really didn’t phase me, however, growing up in a wet county never phased me either. It wasn’t until I was 21 and could buy alcohol that where it was sold had any relevance to my life what so ever.
Not wanting children to see alcohol was one of the main reasons many people gave in the counties that stayed dry in the recent elections. In Knott County particularly, many parents that were interviewed were very concerned about what seeing a beer in a store would do to their child.
Since there are very few large grocery stores or other businesses, most Knott County residents work or shop in Perry County where they will see beer at the grocery and gas station. It has been this way for years, and considering Walmart is close to the county line it will inevitably stay this way.
Alcohol is on TV, it is in music, in fact I have a song called “Drunk” stuck in my head right now. But like most people I do not see alcohol and automatically feel the need to drink. Assuming that it would isn’t giving enough credit to your own parenting.
If you truly want your children to grow up understanding the dangers of alcohol, hiding them away from it isn’t going to help.
Amish teenagers go on what is called Rumspringa, or a time of adolescent wandering, to determine if they will commit to their faith. Amish teens are sent out into a world that they have never seen. This often leads to them not understanding the consequences to their actions. They party, have sex, drink, and try drugs. In 1998 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it went so far that Amish youths were busted selling cocaine.
While it is not always the case, often times knowledge can be the power needed to make an informed decision. Maybe if Amish children had grown up seeing these consequences they would have had the knowledge to not get involved in these behaviors.
If a child goes near a hot stove and a parent screams no, the child is likely to do it again not understanding what will happen. If a child goes near a hot stove and a parent explained that it is hot and it will hurt they will understand the consequences of the action.
I have a beer every now and then but I rarely, if ever, drink to excess. This is mostly due to knowing what can happen, seeing what can happen, and my parents telling me all of the consequences allowing me to make an informed decision. Parents and residents of Knott County need to give their children and themselves more credit.