Nurturing Full Potential

Peggy SappLooking Inside and Outside the Family

It seems we must create events to remind ourselves of what is really important: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and now Family Day. Family Day was created by CASAColumbia in 2001, to promote family dinners as an effective way to reduce substance abuse among children and teens. Family Day is next Monday, September 22, 2014.

The Family is the Original Social Network. How is your social networking with the members of your family? We often take the family network for granted and just try to get through each day without a major problem. By focusing on Family Day as an event, we take the time to think about our interactions, and what we hope for ourselves and our children. Eating dinner together is still one of the best opportunities for getting to know each other, while sharing our beliefs and values.

Today, of our own creation, we live in an age of hysteria and immediate demanding time lines. We are frequently a slave to schedules and technology is not always a tool; it is often a distraction which keeps us from living meaningful lives. Who hasn’t been sucked into e-mail, Facebook, etc. and then realized we were busy but accomplished nothing?

Even if you create the perfect setting in your home for your family, you are still impinged and pinged upon from and by the outside world. The first step in problem solving is stating the problem: Unhealthy societal norms have an effect on you and your children. What are some of the unhealthy norms we are facing today?

CRF_-_Family_DayFrom all the research I’ve seen, Marijuana currently tops my list of “social norms” concerns. Why? Because unlike temporary concerns such as your kid dyeing his/her hair purple or piercing his/her nose, casual marijuana use may not be outgrown.

Did you know?

  • Marijuana smoking can lower your IQ by eight points, according to a Duke University study which examined youth in New Zealand. Those who smoked the most saw the greatest drop in IQ. Further, the younger they started, the greater the IQ decline.1
  • Marijuana is the second leading substance for which people receive drug abuse treatment and a major cause for visits to emergency rooms.2
  • Studies show that marijuana potency has tripled over the last 20 years. 3
  • Marijuana is involved in 25% of all fatal drug-related vehicle accidents. 4
  • Since legalization, Colorado has seen 114% increase in fatal car accidents with drivers testing positive for marijuana. 5
  • Marijuana use among teens in Colorado is 50% above the national average. 5

Our children are growing up in the age of mixed messages.

Mixed messages are usually tied to Money – and Marijuana is Big Money. Be careful that you are not being sold a bill of goods while someone is profiting at the health of your family. You are the one to provide the best information to your kids!

There are two major drivers of drug use:

  1. The Perception of harm. If you don’t believe something is harmful, then you are more likely to use the drug.
  2. Availability. We now have been seduced into believing marijuana is not harmful, thus like other states we might vote to increase availability.

One of my favorite family exercises is creating a Family Flag because it is fun and works with all ages. Try to make one. What is your color? What is the shape? What are the symbols you want on your flag? This simple exercise reinforces your beliefs and values. If time together is a value, what is the symbol? What are your rules about time together? If health is a value, what is the symbol? What do you believe about health, alcohol and drugs? If getting into a great college is a value, what do marijuana studies say about IQ?

We live in an “I WANT IT ALL” WORLD, BUT ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES! Many times, we don’t get a “do-over.” Talk to your children about these serious topics during your Family Day Dinner…they are listening and they are watching.




1.PNAS Plus – Social Sciences – Psychological and Cognitive Sciences: Madeline H. Meier, Avshalom Caspi, Antony Ambler, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richard S. E. Keefe, Kay McDonald, Aimee Ward, Richie Poulton, and Terrie E. Moffitt. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife PNAS 2012 109 (40) E2657–E2664; published ahead of print August 27, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1206820109

2.The White House, The Public Health Consequence of Marijuana Legalization, (, cited Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (

3.National Institute on Drug Abuse . DrugFacts: Marijuana. Revised December 2012. (

4.Drug Free America Foundation, Inc., What to Say About Marijuana and Drugged Driving, (

5.NSDUH, Summary of National Findings, 2012, (; Rock Mountain HIDTA, Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado, (