I see in my children a desire for adventure, to be special, to do something that their peers will admire. These are fine impulses. But when I see them looking for adventure in the streets, I pray.
I don’t mean the prayers of a specific religion – I mean the daily anxious prayer that is the hallmark of any parent. Many of the perceived rites of passage of our society involve harmful, potentially fatal, behaviour. As if the past crop of drugs, legal and illegal, weren’t enough of a problem, into the mix comes this shockingly addictive, damaging drug, methamphetamine.
Our aim, in D-Force, is to direct adventurous and peer-driven impulses away from harmful choices. There are real dangers that our children face, and that they may see their friends, and even their parents, being drawn into. We need our children to step up, and to be heroic in defence of themselves and their friends and families.
As a parent, I wish this would not be needed at all, or could happen much later, but we know that the threat to our children is happening in homes, in playgrounds, in gathering places, and it is happening now.
As D-Force team members, we constantly ask ourselves, “How can we equip children to make good choices for themselves, and to support their peers in making good choices?” How can we teach them that the life-affirming choices, the right choices, are also the courageous choices?
The conclusion that we came to was that we need to involve the children, to ask them to help us solve the problem. So as well as the skills of many professionals, teachers, police officers, psychology and medical experts, media designers and academics, school children are significant in the design of the D-Force program, and will continue to be.
The menace of drug abuse needs a whole-of-community response. We hope you will join us.