Last night I attended a mandatory pre-prom assembly with my son who is a junior in High School. There were 2 speakers who shared their stories with us. They were not there to give a speech or to talk down to the kids. They were there to share their stories about decisions that were made that changed their life.
The first person to share their story was Mike Caple. Mike is the Visual Arts Director in our school district. He described the night when he was living in California and he received a phone call from his mother here in Massachusetts that his younger brother had been in a car accident. With in hours Mike was on a plane coming home. His teen age brother had made the decision to get into a car with someone who had been drinking. Four teenagers made bad decisions that night. One did not survive.
The second person to share their story was Matt Clarke. When he was a senior in high school, a few months before graduation, he and his best friend Paul went to a party. Matt woke up the next day in a hospital not remembering anything. He found out that he and Paul had been in car accident and that Paul did not make it. Paul was killed on impact. Matt spoke about how this one decision to get in the car and drive while he was drunk changed his and many other lives around him. He spent 2 years in jail. Paul's biggest message was not to "lecture" kids, as he stated that he never listened to speeches himself. He talked about making decisions.
Personal responsibility and decision making is what we need to teach to our kids. We can only do that if we ourselves are the best examples for them to follow. Mike talked about how both deaths were 100% preventable. I am sure you know of someone (maybe even yourself), who has gotten behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks and have driven drunk. Do not do it. Make the decision now to keep people safe. 30 people die each day from a result of a drunk driver. Thats 11,000 lives lost each year that were 100% preventable.
It was an opportune time to have a wonderful conversation with my 17 year old son. Making good decisions now will save lives in the future. My son and I made a commitment to each other. His biggest concern was not himself drinking, but his other friends around him. I assured him that if he was EVER in a bad situation, his dad and I would come and get him, no questions asked. We rather have the phone call for a ride home, that a visit from a police officer.
Make good decisions. Take personal responsibility to save lives and keep our children safe.