Friday, in my small town of 47,000, a 15-year-old was killed when his friend lost control of the car and was hit by a big rig carrying cattle on a small winding road during lunch at school. Alcohol containers were found at the scene, in and around the car.
I’m sure every parent in the area went home and had ‘the talk’ with their teens about drinking and driving.
This is not that.
This is my realization that, with two 13 year olds, those days and choices are coming. Choices for them that include whether to ‘party’, whether to skip school, and whether to ride with friends.
We can beat them over the heads with words, as I am sure we do, as I hope I have, about drugs and drinking and sex.
They will still be challenged.
We, their parents, are not infallible. How can we expect them to be?
Last year, a drunk motorcyclist hit and killed an elementary school girl and paralyzed the dad as they were crossing the street, in a cross walk. Age doesn’t always improve rational thinking, or stop us from making bad decisions.
If my teen years were any indication, I can almost guarantee that bad decisions will be made (taking rides with strangers), odds will be played (just how close can I get to a moving car without being clipped), and fate will be tempted, all in the name of fun and spontaneity.
This tragedy’s driver, a 16-year-old charged with felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, was behind the wheel of an older 7 series Beemer.
If I should learn anything from this wreck, it is not how much more preaching I should give my kids. It is to maintain limits, not loosen them. It is to provide “just enough”. It is to know who my kids are and what they’re into. Even if I were affluent enough to provide a performance car or unlimited fun money, I should not provide the untethered freedom of an adult. It might prove to be more than they can handle.