Summer in the Land of Beer

For many American teens, experimenting with alcohol is an important act of rebellion. The disparity between the age of majority (18) and the drinking age (21) seems perfectly calculated to fan the flames of righteous adolescent indignation.

KeinAlkoholThe situation is very different in Germany: You need to be 18 to get a driver’s license, but you can purchase and drink wine and beer in public places at 16 – or at 14, if you’re with a parent. When our oldest turned 16 in June, it was no secret he was looking forward to being able to exercise his “rights” while visiting his buddies in Germany this summer.



A funny thing happened on the way to school...

One morning in Germany, when my daughter was in first grade, she arranged to walk to school with a classmate. Later that same day, I got a brief email from their teacher, letting me know they’d arrived late and suggesting I remind my daughter of the importance of punctuality. My daughter’s explanation: En route, she and her friend had discovered a dead ladybug on the sidewalk. They felt compelled to give the poor creature a decent burial – moment of silence included – and that made them late.

Ellen Kurpark