Over the last nine years I have penned a few columns about how small
decisions can affect the entire life of a teenager. This message always seems
to ring a little more clear around Spring Break and Prom Season. I believe
the numbers would support my thought, as it seems like we see a lot more
teenage tragedies this time of the year. Maybe it’s the warm weather, maybe
it’s the excitement of knowing summer is near and in the case of high school
seniors, knowing that the freedom of college is just around the corner. Regardless
of the reason, the newspapers and internet are filled with stories of
teenage tragedies right now.

It seems like every day we can find a story somewhere in our country
of a teenager losing their life due to a poor decision. Locally, we have seen
multiple car accidents take the lives of high school students over the last year
as well. These children’s parents have gone from planning graduations and
summer vacations to planning funerals. They will never get to experience
the thrill of graduation night or the excitement of moving a child into their
freshman dorm.

We also tend to hear about more and more teenage deaths caused by alcohol
use this time of the year. Every spring break is filled with stories of
students falling to their deaths from upper level hotel balconies or stepping
in front of traveling vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.
The common theme we often find in these tragedies usually lead back
to one poor decision. Unfortunately teenagers have not developed the skills
needed to make all the right decisions. They don’t have the life skills their
parents have learned over the years. Simply put, teenagers are not as smart
as they think they are. All teenagers need the guidance of loving parents, but
even then, many are going to go around that advice and some are going to
learn very hard lessons or even lose their life trying to make decisions for
themselves without listening to the important advice given by most parents.



The point of this column is simply to ask all teenagers to take an extra
breath this spring before making a bad decision. Think back on what you
should do in each situation and then take another moment to think about
what could happen if things don’t go as planned. Think about the repercussions
of trying to drive 65 on a 45 mph road. Think about what could happen
if you look down to send a text message and another car suddenly stops in
front of you. Think about what could happen if you drink underage and then
decide to drive a car or what could happen if you get in a car with someone
that has been drinking.

Trust me when I tell you, nothing good can come from any of these poor

Such a huge majority of the students in South Charlotte are headed to
college, many on athletic and academic scholarships. I ask all my teenage
readers, Do you really want to risk losing what you have worked so hard for?
Do you really want to take a chance at getting hurt, killed or hurting or killing
someone else? Is it really that cool, if things go sideways and you
end up in trouble or even worse, dead? Can you live with yourself
if you survive and your best friend doesn’t? These are all real life scenarios
that play themselves out in different cities across our country
on a daily basis.



This is my personal plea to all my student readers. Take an extra
minute to listen to your parents advice. Believe it or not, they actually
know what they are talking about and want to have you around for
a long time. They want to see you graduate from college, start a family
and bring the Grandchildren over for the holidays.



It can happen to you. Be safe, think twice and Good luck the rest
of the school year and summer.