To The Point 1-23-14

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This Saturday night and Sunday afternoon there is going to be a musical play performed in the cafeteria at Switzerland County High School.

If you’re a parent, the first act is going to probably disturb you quite a bit. It’s going to deal with issues and behaviors of teenagers that we don’t want to see, much less know about. It’s going to be uncomfortable, and at some point you may feel like getting up and walking out.

If you’re a teenager, nearly everything you will see on the stage are things that you see everyday, either in school or around your friends, or people you know who are your age. The first act may be a little difficult to watch, because at some point one of the characters is going to make you think, “I know that person”; or it’s going to make you think, “I am that person”.

It’s a play about real life and real situations and real decisions that face teenagers today.

It’s tough to watch the first act,

But you need to watch it.

It’s important.

It’s important that teenagers all over this area see this play. In the past it’s been performed at South Dearborn and Lawrenceburg and Madison. This is a unique opportunity to have it performed here.

As hard as it may be to sit through, encourage your teenagers to go see “Dead Serious About Life” this weekend.

The play is staged, performed, and handled by teenagers who are a part of Mishpachah, a group from Mason, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Mishpachah means “family” in Hebrew, and that’s what these kids are, a family. Every character who you will see on stage is a teenager. No adults, just teens talking to teens.

Each character has a particular story, including some with suicidal thoughts, some with drug or alcohol addictions, some facing the divorce of their parents, others facing teen pregnancy.

Have I made you uncomfortable yet?

The play has been performed all over the country over more than two decades. Just this past weekend the group was in Huntington, West Virginia. Although the play continues, what’s in the play changes from time to time. That’s because the coordinators and director of the show sit down and have some real life discussions with the kids who are in the show.

What do they see at school? What issues are they dealing with? What issues are their peers dealing with?

That information is taken and put into the script so that it continues to speak to teenagers. That’s why issues like cutting and bullying are now a part of the show.

Now, before I go any further, you should know that this is a play for teenagers. Personally, I don’t believe that any children under seventh grade should see the play, because of the issues presented. It’s raw in its adaptation of issues, and it may be upsetting for some.

That doesn’t make it any less important.

As parents, we tend to try and shield our children from the “outside world”, and in doing so we don’t have conversations about teen suicide and drug abuse and teens having sex.

But, I’m willing to wager, that if you sit down with your teenager and have a really open and honest conversation, they see and deal with those issues pretty much everyday.

And, no, this play is not going to put thoughts in your child’s head. No more than the violent video games they play or the mature-themed movies you allow them to see or the music with blatant lyrics put thoughts in their heads.

Here’s some statistics:

– Everyday, approximately 11 young people between the ages of 15-24 die by suicide.

– In one 24 hour day, statistically 1,439 teens will attempt suicide. Every day. Nationally, every 38 seconds a teenager attempts suicide.

– Every year, 750,000 women age 15-19 becomes pregnant. Of that, 1,106 teenage girls have an abortion every day; and every 60 seconds a baby is born to a teenage mother.

– Nationally, one out of every three children between the ages of 13-15 have had sex.

– 46-percent of high school teenagers report that they have had sexual intercourse; and 46-percent of those report that they aren’t using any type of contraception when they do.

– One in every four sexually active teens is infected by an sexually-transmitted disease every year.

- 55-percent of ‘Christian Teens’ say that they are sexually active.

– One out of every four teenagers lives with only one parent.

– 500,000 children live in foster care.

– Every day, 3,506 kids run away from home.

– One in every three children born in this country are born to unmarried parents; and of those who have married parents, 2,989 of them will find out today that their parents are getting a divorce.

– Every 24 hours, nationally 15,006 teens will use drugs for the first time.

– Nationally, over 60-percent of teenagers said that drugs are sold, used, or kept at school.

– 78-percent of high school students reported that they had their first drink of alcohol before they were 16 years old.

– In a 30-day period, 50-percent of teenagers reported drinking; with 32-percent of them saying that they were drunk on at least one occasion during the month.

– Every year, college students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol. That’s more than they spend on soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, coffee, and books combined.

Have I made you uncomfortable yet?

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how uncomfortable the first act of this play is, but the good news is that there is a second act.

The second act is real life, too; but it shows teens and others that it’s never too late to escape addiction or harmful habits. Like in our lives, there is always a way to make things better.

If you haven’t heard about “Dead Serious About Life”, I encourage you to go to www.mish-inc.com and read more about it. You can order tickets for Saturday or Sunday’s show online, or they can also be purchased at the door. Saturday’s show is at 6 p.m.; and Sunday’s is at 3 p.m.

There are also teens at the high school who have free tickets for the performances. Your kids may see them walking around with “Dead Serious” tee-shirts on. They should have them.

And if you want to go and don’t have a ticket, you can also contact me here at the newspaper office, and I’ll make sure we get one to you.

It’s uncomfortable.

But it’s important.