Well here it is May, time for Proms, Moms, and graduations. It is a busy and exciting time, dresses to be bought, gowns to be fitted, futures to be dreamed of. It can also be a time of tears as parents realize their young ones are about to leave the nest. It can also be a busy time for chaplains and pastors as we are asked to write reccomendations, speak at commencements and baccalauretes, and, unfortuantly too often deliver death notices and eulogies of young people. That's why I am glad to be participating in this year's "Operation Prom Night." Our fire department stages a drunk driving accident using students from the local schools. The production includes staging at least one fatality and several critical injuries. Weather allowiing, we even bring in the life flight chopper. It's all very realistic, and done to show what can, and too often does happen. I pray that the young folks watching this take it to heart and understand that not only does it happen, it can even happen to them.
I ask that if you have, or know young people headed out to celebrate their proms you make it clear that they are not to drive drunk or get in a car with a drunk driver--even if it means calling you for a ride.
As the father of two daughters, I always made it clear to them that they could call me for ride home "no questions asked." I hope other parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and adult friends make the same offer.
As a chaplain there is no more difficult or painful task I perform than delivering death notices. It is at its worst when it involves a young person who had their whole life ahead of them, only to be cut off by a stupid decision. I can think of nothing worse to have to say to a mother at this time of year than; "I'm sorry, your child did not survive the accident." Young people are our legacy and our future. It is up to us to keep them safe. Talk to the youngsters in your life--and even more importantly, set an example for them to follow. What we do speaks volumes more than what we say.