I was asked recently by Nomi Ketterling from Weld County Prevention Partners to write a guest editorial for the Greeley Tribune. It talks about my job in the spotlight and using that position to be a positive role model for kids.  Here is the blog that ran in the Trib:

My job as a DJ in Northern Colorado keeps me in the spotlight. Because of that, I never forget that people pay attention to what I say, what I wear and how I behave, even when I’m not on the job. Most people don’t have to live “in the spotlight” like that. Or do they?

Actually, you live in the spotlight and you may not even know it. Whether you are a parent or not, kids pay attention to how adults behave. That’s actually how they learn how to behave—by watching us. If we lose our temper every time we drive, we’re sending a message. If we drink enough alcohol to be visibly impaired, they see that behavior and think, “then it must be OK.” If we decide to jaywalk or run a red light or lie to a family member, kids learn that that’s acceptable behavior.

I made a decision when I was young that I wouldn’t drink alcohol at all. I’m not saying you should, too. But, it’s important to know that Weld County has one of the highest rates of underage drinking in the state. Research shows that teens that drink are more likely to have drinking problems as adults. That’s not what I want for anyone, or for my community.

So I’m asking that you think about the message you’re giving to our kids. When you drink, are you doing it to excess? Do you celebrate every special occasion by drinking too much? Do you play drinking games? If so, the kids around you learn that drinking games are normal. And one of the big problems out there right now is binge drinking among teens, which often happens while playing drinking games.

There are other ways to be a role model. Be kind to strangers and animals. Keep your promises. Admit when you’re wrong. And remember — if we take the time to do the right thing as much as possible, our kids will learn what the right thing is.

Whether you want to be a role model or not, you are. So let’s all resolve to behave in a way that inspires kids to make smart choices, instead of foolish ones.