This is a message to young people. Please share it with then, or if you are young, take it to heart.
I’d like you to take a moment and reflect on all the people who care about you. Think of your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, coaches and co-workers. Think of the web of interactions that makes up your life. Think about the impact that all those people have on you. Consider the impact you have on them in turn.
Now take a moment to think about what all those people would do if you were suddenly, inexplicably, taken from them. Consider the devastation you would leave in your wake.
Now the next time you face a decision which could put you in a dangerous position ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.
We all face decisions every day. Some are simple and benign and others are critical, but each and every decision has consequences.
Should you go out drinking tonight? Should you try that drug, just this once? Should you drive too fast? Is it cool to wear my seatbelt? My buddy’s been drinking but how an I going to get home? Wouldn’t it be fun to ski off the trail here?
Before you decide to take the risk, consider me. Ask yourself if you would want to put your parents in my shoes.
There have been times were I’ve been angry with Kevin for putting himself at risk. He was told thousands of times not to drink and drive, not to be a passenger with someone who had been drinking and to wear his seatbelt. He didn’t think about it. He gambled with his life. One night he lost the bet.
I get angry when I think of the devastation left in his wake.
On October 13, 2010 I had to tell my son that his brother was dead. Chew on that for a minute. I had to look him in the eye and tell him he would never see his older brother again. Kev wouldn’t go to his games, give him advice and watch his back ever again. The truth is that excruciating moment was experienced over and over that day as the word spread. Is that something you want for your loved ones?
Kev didn’t want to die. He didn’t mean to die. He didn’t plan it out. Kev didn’t think “to hell with it, I’ll just risk my life tonight and if I live, great, if not oh well”. The truth is Kevin didn’t think at all. He didn’t consider the consequences of the decisions he made. He was just winging it.
Don’t do that. Don’t risk everything.
The fundamental difference between an adult and a child has nothing to do with age, or how you carry yourself or what you do with your time. Adults take the time to consider the consequences of their actions. Children just wing it. If you want to be treated like an adult you will need to act like one. That means you’ll think through what you’re doing. You’ll consider the risks you take and the pain you could cause if you make bad choices and it all goes wrong.
Don’t make your parents stand where I stand today. Don’t put your brothers and sisters through what my children have been through. Don’t leave your friends struggling to make sense of your loss.
Just take a moment and think.