“Your first time having around someone drinking?” Nikki’s bewildered query to her sister Toni when she heard the latter was struggling to stay with workmates drinking until 2 o’clock  in the morning during a despideda.

“I used to be with friends drinking alcohol and taking weeds during break time at school,” Nikki said and I was shocked.

“Why are you joining them?”

“Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”

“Ma, I just stay with them and get back to school after” Nikki’s defense making it clear to me that she was just accompanying friends to kill time.

“Do that again today and be included on the list” my warning to Nikki who seems to be so confident things are just fine.

“Don’t worry, these friends are not at school anymore” Nikki’s assurance to me.

The relationship between college dropout and substance abuse had been established long ago. The victims usually start with cigarettes, weeds, and alcohol. It is one of the sad reality where only a few understands.

On the Parable of the weeds, Jesus speaks of some evil things implanted by the enemy during the night. It also depicts His disapproval of the collateral damages when He did not allow the worker to pull off the weeds among the wheat till harvest time.

“I’m disheartened with the present killings we have in town” I once told a priest.

“That’s life, there’s always the collateral damages” he replied.

It was easier for me to accept that he doesn’t know what he was talking about than to think that he approves what our President was doing. Most people, including the pious, do not have the facts when it comes to addiction. We paid a great price for our ignorance.

I think of the effects of alcohol that way, an enemy we do not understand.  My complacency with my son’s drinking made me vigilant on sharing our stories hoping for people to see what I overlook. It never dawns on me how deadly alcohol could be before losing my son.

When does the planting of the evil begin? I believe it was during the night when I am sleeping and don’t know much of what was happening around. I cannot think of the number of parents innocent about their children’s whereabouts and experimentation. Parental involvement is a great deal of prevention according to research.

But we are too busy. Too busy and occupied with our own affairs that we overlook how the enemy is planting his seeds among our good little ones. And most often than not we focus on the weeds implanted to them than the goodness they possess. I don’t know if it is a human nature or a habit of the mind, to always look at the flaws.

Those who were not given a chance to be reminded of this inherent goodness within are more likely to be the prey. When they do not receive the natural high of being affirmed they will look for it some other way. Either with behavior, substance, food, sex and the most rampant nowadays; gadgets and everything on it. That is how the enemy had planted his seed so well that many do not even think it exists.

Our children are the collateral damage of our ignorance and pre-occupation of the things that won’t matter till eternity. The evil works in ways we could hardly notice and with the present situation, one would almost believe he wins. But no, it is not harvest time yet.

The owner of the fields would always look after His wheat among the thorns. Our job is to be a reminder of the good in everyone and be a provider of that wonderful feeling from being affirmed. Adults need the same thing, it is a human nature.