When my brother was young, my parents discouraged him from playing football because they feared he could get seriously injured. Instead, he opted for basketball.
In light of this past weekend’s senseless tragedy, in which seven high school basketball players from Bathurst, N.B., were killed when their 15-passenger van hit a transport truck, this anecdote seems ironic.
Every parent has to eventually go with their growing children’s interest, trust their skills, and loosen some of their parental control. We can only hope that all the years of teaching them morals and values will add up, and that they’ll make their own decisions — decisions that we would be proud to support.
But more often than any of us would like to imagine, life moves along completely out of our control.
In the case of the recent high school community’s disasterous losses, nothing short of the grace of God, or mere seconds in timing, could have changed the outcome of this fatal crash.
Without further information and analysis, there is, for now, only speculation based on historical evidence that, perhaps, if the team had been in a different vehicle, they may have survived. In other words, no one is at fault.
But maybe, just maybe, had those with the authority to decide, opted for the kids to spend the night away based on weather reports, they would be alive now.
This isn’t pointing a finger of blame — this is just thinking how, if at all possible, we, as adult decision makers, can prevent accidents like this in future. The friends, classmates, and siblings of those who perished are no doubt angry at the world, but it is up to us, the adults, to learn from this accident — and to put the lessons to use.
Without being overprotective and overbearing, we have the right to question. We have the right to speak up and not be afraid to sound overly cautious or concerned. It’s more than our right — it’s our responsibility to our children.
My child is at an age where he can be bused to schools, camps and programs. But I’m not comfortable with that, yet. Frankly, I don’t understand how the rules differ from a car to a bus: since he must by law be strapped into a five-piece harnessed car seat in my privately-owned car — in order to protect him — why is he allowed to sit freely, without even a seatbelt, on a public school bus?
For me, the discrepancy is too great and I choose to drive him wherever he needs to go. And I don’t care one bit what other mothers do with their children.
No, we can’t keep our children in a bubble, but we can do our best to protect them. For the families who lost their loved ones in New Brunswick, we say a prayer. And in honour of those who perished, we will hopefully bump up our safety standards so their untimely deaths will not be in vain.