Hearing the devastating news of the untimely death of Amber Hinton brought many sobering emotions for me, and I am a complete stranger to Amber.
Already, I have been hearing sentiments from friends about what a wonderful girl she was. As the mother of two teenagers, I can't imagine the overwhelming grief her parents must be experiencing right now. As insignificant as I know it is, I extend my sympathy and my prayers to everyone who knew and loved Amber.
Her accident spawned memories for others who have experienced the loss of a child or teen. In my little world, I heard stories, and I was reminded myself of some of these - stories of sudden car wrecks, boating or jet ski accidents, sudden illness, or even murder. No matter what the cause of the death, they are all senseless.
As a parent, there have been many times that I have experienced "what-could-happen syndrome." As a matter of fact, every time I know my son is driving down I-20, I have to force myself not to imagine what could happen if he suddenly loses control of his truck. Of course, being the typical 16-year-old, he rolls his eyes when I verbalize these concerns.
So, I must constantly remind myself that I could shelter him to protect him from all possible danger, but it would be more like locking him in a box and forbidding him to experience life. There's a fine line between educating my children and thus instilling a healthy respect for the dangers of life, creating unreasonable fear in them by being overly fearful myself, and blindly or foolishly tossing them into the waves. Because it is so fine, there are many times I'm sure that I step on the wrong side of that line. And that's where faith in my Heavenly Father comes in. He's much more capable than I am to handle all these situations and my mistakes.
Along the line of educating children on the dangers of life, I have had the pleasure of covering Thomson Middle School's efforts of educating students and their parents of avoiding dangers on the internet. This event happened the day after a movie appeared on the Lifetime TV channel about a teen girl who ran away from home and was manipulated into prostitution. The lesson of the movie was the same as that of the classes taught at the middle school - predators are smooth, savvy, experienced and patient. In our minds, we profile them as being hideous and obvious. I applaud TMS on their efforts, and encourage all parents to educate themselves, and then their children.
Always pray diligently.
And don't forget to enjoy and cherish every stage of your child's life, because it passes by so quickly.