“…among his many accomplishments… made the Dean’s List in college every year… graduated Suma Cum Laude… a Master’s Degree in Business Administration… served as graduate assistant for the MBA Program…”
The description signifies success and a promising future. Sadly the words are taken from the obituary from a young man who was gunned down on New Year’s Day 2012. He would not live to see his 31st birthday. I did not know the young man, but my heart aches for his surviving family members, especially his mother and father. I cannot even begin to imagine the grief and sorrow felt by his parents.
Parents are not supposed to bury their children, but this daunting task is reoccurring more often than not.
When the story broke New Year’s Day, I cringed. I thought,
“He made it through his teen years. He made it through college. He was smart. He graduated with honors. What happened? How do I prevent my son from falling victim to these heinous crimes?”
In my mind, he’d made it! He made it through the “high risk” and “troubled” teen years. The local newspaper also reported that he was an Entrepreneur and was planning the opening of a new store. Could his death been prevented? I don’t know the circumstances. I only hope and pray that his death does not go in vain and hope that somehow something positive can evolve from his death.
This story makes me want to hold my kids tighter, tell them that I love them even more, kiss them more every day and never let them out of my sight. I know the latter is impossible, but the words sum up my feelings.
This story and others like this frighten me. Why? I have a young son. He’s a minority and the statistics don’t look good. However, I do know that through faith in God, prayer, good parenting, a structured environment, support from my village, a solid education, steady discipline, and lessons on how to make smart choices, can help to put him in the position to succeed.
So, you might ask, “What’s the point of this post?” The death of this young man is a reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. And when it comes to our children, we have to clinch and act on the concept of unconditional love. The early and late teen years are tough; both for parents and for our children. In spite of disappointments, upsets, and whatever else we may face, we have to continue to support and encourage.
As parents, we must remember our own missteps and shortfalls and understand that our children will too encounter their own mistakes. We can only hope and pray that their mistakes are not life altering. Meanwhile, we should remain supportive, encouraging, and continue to practice unconditional love.