Why talk about cannabis?
Real educators teach children not what to think but how to think. They encourage the next generation to engage critically with the world around them and not to reproduce the same paradigm but to innovate, evolve, progress. In order to do that, children must be equipped with the language they need to describe their internal and external lives as well as age appropriate information about what’s going on around them.
We started talking with our daughter about cannabis because it was important to us to be honest with her. To build a foundation of trust that she would rely on as she grows, and not to hide a part of our identities from her. We wanted her to know the truth before she was fed propaganda.
But within these conversations about a demonized plant that her parents enjoyed, our family touched on issues that transcend “drugs.” We began dialogues about some of the most significant problems facing our world, in ways that felt digestible to a young child and empowered her to discover new solutions.
The cannabis plant is as complex as the circumstances surrounding its prohibition. When you talk to your children about marijuana, you can’t avoid science – biology, medicine, genetics, and sustainability among other disciplines. If you even mention the endocannabinoid system, your kid will actually know more than many doctors!
Back into balance
We have the opportunity with cannabis to reframe “self-medicating” to mean knowing how to care for our own bodies again, and we must pass along the deep wisdom of plant medicine to our children. It’s our chance to bring ourselves back into balance, both internally and with our external world.
If you go further to examine the social structures and policies that have kept cannabis illegal, you’ll have to discuss the legislative process. Your kids will learn not only how a bill becomes law but also how to question policies that are irrational, unfair, or oppressive. Citizen activism has toppled misguided drug war policies – what a beautiful example of the power of the people! Children will understand why their vote matters and how to be an effective advocate.
The resources to do the job
Of course, when you open up this kind of dialogue, your savvy kids will likely notice that the science of cannabis doesn’t exactly correspond with the laws around cannabis. This will probably lead to conversations about the racial and political motivations behind prohibition, how the government wanted to vilify people of color and suppress dissent. The war on drugs has solidified institutional racism in our country like no other force, and if it’s up to our children to dismantle it, we must give them the resources to do the job.
While you’re teaching your kids about weed, you are, in fact, preparing them to be informed and contributing members of a democratic society. This is what our world vitally needs more than anything – a generation of young people who can think for themselves and who have the intelligence, tools, and passion to make change. A generation that returns us to our source and our purpose by reconnecting us to ourselves, each other, and our earth. Cannabis can help us achieve that, whether you consume it or not. It can be a vehicle through which we teach the most important lessons.