A new DIY kit helps make it easy to detect various diseases very early and treat them in time. The same technology also makes it possible to find out if someone smokes. The smoker detection kit consists of a strip which when dipped in someone’s urine will change colour if that person has smoked in past 12 days. This is being touted as a breakthrough for parents to find out if their child has been smoking.
I am completely stumped by this claim. Pray tell me how to use this strip to figure out if a teenager has been smoking? Do we expect a scenario like the following…
Father : Son we suspect you smoke. Please come to the bathroom, pee in this sample bottle and dip this strip in it. Let’s see if it changes the colour.
Son : What? I have been telling you that I don’t smoke, don’t you trust me?
Father : I trust you son. But I still want to confirm using this latest technological advance.
What do you think will be the outcome of such an episode? The father may find out if his son smokes or not, but would the relationship between them remain anymore? Won’t the son feel hugely humiliated? Won’t the trust between them be broken for ever?
If the son is found to be a smoker, the father would never trust him and if the son is not a smoker, he will hate his father for rest of his life for not trusting him.
The most important thing in a relationship is trust. It takes years to build it and if the trust is broken so is the relationship. However, if the parent needs to resort to use a strip to find out if the child smokes, there is hardly any relationship between them to begin with.
I remember the first time I smoked. I was eighteen when had gone for a college picnic, and like so many other young people, I smoked my first cigarette. I was quite excited by that. That was the biggest happening for that day.
I came home and asked my sister, “Can you guess what I did today?” She looked at me once and said “You must have smoked!”. I was flattened. I asked her how did she know, and she told me that I couldn’t have done anything more outrageous than smoking.
Next stop was dada, my father. I went to him and told him that I had smoked. He asked me if I was aware of the harm tobacco could cause. He then said that I was a sensible person and would be able to make my own decisions. And that was that.
I felt very trusted, and responsible. Later, when I became a regular smoker, I felt I somehow breached the trust that my father had put in me. But I never hid the fact from my father and he only made me aware of bad effects of tobacco and left the decision to me. I eventually quit smoking after 20 years.
If there is such trusting relationship between the parent and the child, we don’t need such medical inventions.
What do you think it takes to build such trusting relationships?