I have a friend who spent time in Germany as a missionary. He talked about how the teenagers viewed drinking as a social gathering, not as a party activity. He talked about how it was completely different, there was respect and honor inside of drinking a beer, and it was done with all ages, not just with a bunch of high schoolers gathered in a basement.
What if we lowered the drinking age to 18? Would it change anything? Would it make a difference for all the binge drinkers and drunk drivers? I read a very interesting article on CNN.com the other day (Check the article here). The basic assumption of the article is that the age limit and restriction of drinking alcohol for minors is not working. The stats continue to rise, specifically amongst women.
I think the interesting thing about all of is that the age requirement really only affects people who want to drink in public. It is like a high schooler said to me, “if you want to drink you can find somewhere to drink.” I am 23, I never drank any alcohol until I was 21. Why? Partially because I knew that it was illegal, but mainly because my group of friends had an understanding about alcohol and getting drunk. We were not into that stuff. We would rather do other things and entertain ourselves that way. I would not call it peer pressure, but I would say that we influenced each other in ways to call each other beyond that.
I have heard the argument that if you tell someone to not eat out of the cookie jar they are bound to do to eat out of the cookie jar. I find it interesting how rules motivate us to break them. It would be interesting to see what happened if the drinking age was lowered. But I do not think it will solve the overall problem. Students are not being called up, they are not being challenged and they are not being influenced. We have to many followers following the wrong thins. Go back to my situation in high school. We were not perfect students, we made mistakes and got in trouble. Yet we called each other up, we called each other to growth. Challenging each other in knowledge and Christianity, constantly working together to make it through high school. There was a great understanding that if one of us failed or messed up they were not just letting themselves down, they were letting the group down. We all held each other accountable and cared for each other.
Lowering the age could make a difference, but it will not make a difference in America. We are saturated with the idea that we are untouchable, we can do whatever we want and there will be no consequences. Until we realize who we are, realizing that we are in this together and are holding each other accountable to a higher standard an age restriction will mean nothing to us.
Would love for your comments and thoughts on this touchy subject.