Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What the Floods in Texas Can Teach Our Children

The storms and flooding in Texas over Memorial Day weekend had tragic consequences. Several people died, many more are missing, vehicles were swept away, and many people were left stranded, unable to reach home. Many have posted videos of flooding in Boerne and San Antonio.  One of the most sobering showed a Jeep being swept away by flood waters in Boerne. The driver made it out of his vehicle in time, but his was a very rare case.  My 20 year old son and his girlfriend were at a party on Saturday when the weather worsened.  Thankfully, the host parents decided the best course of action was to turn the party into a sleepover to keep all the kids at the party and off the roads until the waters subsided.

Though we do our best to trust our children will follow our advice and make good choices, parents of teens and young adults often feel some fear and stress each time they see their child pull out of the driveway. It can be a real struggle to teens and young adults to focus on safety behind the wheel when, at these stages in their development, they often feel invincible.

Situations like the flooding over the weekend provide a great opportunity to pass on the vital parental wisdom to seemingly “invincible” teens and young adults that one poor decision can have tragic consequences. In this case, deciding to drive through seemingly slow moving water or around a barricade is a choice that could end lives - that of the driver, passengers, and sometimes even rescue workers.

Make time to talk to your sons and daughters about incidents like these, using age-appropriate language, while they are still fresh in everyone’s minds.  Exploring the feelings around the tragedies helps everyone process them in a healthy manner.  Discussing what happened and what other choices a person might have made can help your children learn critical lessons that will stick with them, and help them to be more mindful and cautious if dangerous situations arise in their futures.