Ok well I don't really drink anything with caffeine in it. Why? Ummm because I just don't prefer beverages that contain it. While growing up I had this overwhelming feeling that brown sodas and brown beverages where not good. I don't know why, but I swear it's true. I was never taught not to drink cola. As a matter of fact, I grew up in a home that regularly had cola in it. I just never cared for it and honestly I just knew it wasn't good for me. I don't even really like chocolate that much. Also, my father was and is very much against the consumption of drinking coffee. I was taught from a very young age by word and example that coffee is not a good thing to drink.
I know what you are thinking, well you're Mormon so that's why you felt and were taught this. Actually I wasn't Mormon in my youth, and neither were my parents. There were many bad habits in our home that I also felt were wrong, but as far as the caffeine issue my father just felt strongly. As he got older as well I've watched him give up other things that are not the best health wise. He's a good man and very health conscious.
Anyway, when you decide to become a Mormon and get baptized, you make covenants. One of the promises you make with God and yourself is to abstain from harmful substances. There is a section in our scriptures about it, Doctrine and Covenants 89. Now it is a health code so to speak, and it never references caffeine by name, but as you read it you get the idea.
Many Mormons happily drink caffeine. I would take a sip here and there of a drink if I was thirsty and not really think anything of it. I had to be desperate though since I don't really like cola. We would buy caffeinated sodas when we had company over without a thought. We are not addicted to caffeine so it's not a real concern to us to be advocates against it. Rewind to a few weeks ago.
We were sitting at a swim meet as we usually do on Saturdays these months. Zander and his friends were all sitting in one of the other families tents and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Anyway, Zander came to me very upset. He relayed a story to me that I know I will hear over and over again. One of Zander's friends parents is very health conscious and often drinks energy drinks (wow is that an oxymoron). While trying to convince their son to swim faster, she offered her boy a sip of her energy drink as a joke I hope. The boy was uncertain about it. All of the other friends in the tent started chanting "drink it, drink it, drink it". Zander kept telling him not to do it, that those drinks were not for children. The chanting continued and the boy gave into the peer pressure.
Zander was so disappointed in his friend (a common theme with Zander and his friends lately) and came to find me. He told me the story and my heart just sank because I know this is something he will live through over and over again. I commended him on his choices and lifted him up only as a mother can do and sent him on his way. A few minutes later the boys mother told me the story and commented on how Zander was a great example of not giving into peer pressure. Phew.... what a lesson for us all. We went home that night and had a family lesson about peer pressure and energy drinks. The kids understood and that was settled.
A week later while at another swim meet, Zander took it upon himself to teach that friend what he knew to be true about caffeine and energy drinks. He relayed the proven research that we shared with the children after that first night. Apparently the boys father was there listening and proceeded to "teach" Zander that caffeine is not bad, and tea is very healthy. Also he said there are so many vitamins in energy drinks that they are good for you. When Zander told me this I bout flipped out. Seriously I did. I was dumbfounded. Thankfully Zander had spent time pondering this topic and was taught well so he knew it was all bologna.
Then I realized (thanks to my husband) that others don't have the knowledge that we do about these things. This world respects the latest fad and media. They do. The listen to the latest and greatest from the people of the world, and we simply do not. In our home we rely on the promptings of the spirit of God. He tells us right and wrong. He instructs us in the ways of God. He is there to clear up uncertain conflicting evidences that the world produces. He is the one we rest on.
So this morning I made a study of caffeine. Since we really have not taken a valiant stance on it in our home I really needed to work this out in my mind. Why did this happen? What were we supposed to learn from it? This is why.
I've decided that no longer will I be casual in our caffeine opinions. My study and the Spirit has taught me too much. We don't drink caffeine in our home any longer. It's on the list with coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes and all of that jazz that we are counseled against. That is why this happened. This experience was rich with learning experiences for our family, youngest to oldest.
While I know that we are "strange" to the world, I just don't care. I will not have to reconcile my actions to the world when this life is over. I will have to reconcile it to my Father in heaven. He will be my judge. He will see what I've done with the light and knowledge he's provided for me in this life that is a TEST after all. It is His standards that I will live up to, and it is Him that I am raising my children up to.
I'm not sure if my friend even reads my blog, and I truly mean no disrespect to them. They are good people trying to find their way through this world like everyone. This was a very sensitive thing to me as a mother. We have taught these truths to our children for over 10 years now. It was a good lesson to me and I'm thankful it happened.
If you want to know more information about what our church believes on caffeine and why it's dangerous go here.