For over 20 years now, I have been pleading with parents and educators not to ply their children/students with alcohol, including my 2016 Gateway to the Angel of Death column in these digital pages.
In this video, I plead with adults to be compassionate to their friends and family members who are struggling with addiction for whom Purim is a dangerous time of the year.
Nonetheless, an important component of a comprehensive parenting plan for Purim is planning for the reality that since the beginning of time, teenagers have ignored their parents’ warnings and done foolish and dangerous things.
I suggest that all parents of teenagers consider offering your kids a no-questions-asked pickup on Purim in the event that they drink too much. So often teens get into far greater danger after getting drunk – getting a ride home with someone who is under the influence, or hanging out for hours in dangerous settings until they are sober – because they are afraid of how their parents will react.
Offering them a no-questions-asked pickup does not imply that you are condoning or winking at their poor behavior. It informs them that their lives matter even more than the rules you have set and they have broken.
Our sages inform us that God himself (see Rashi’s commentary on Bereshis/Genesis 1:1) initially planned for the world to operate under midat ha’din (loosely, rule of law). Once God created His children, however, He realized that a world populated with frail humans would need a combination of rachamim (mercy) and din (law) to exist.
When parenting children in these changing and complicated times, we would be well served to heed the call of our prophets and follow God’s path by striving for perfection, and adjusting for “Plan B.”
Best wishes for a meaningful and safe Purim.