The loss of two young lives serves as a powerful reminder that parenting is a hands-on task.

Two sets of parents are going to be spending the next few weeks, years and decades asking, “What could I have done differently?” and “Could I have prevented this from happening?”

The answers just might be “Nothing,” and “No,” in that order, but for parents facing the loss of a child that’s not really going to matter.

Nothing can bring back the two teens killed in automobile crashes this last week. No words, no hopes, no deeds.

For those families, all we can do is express our condolences and show what support we might. That’s called being a part of a community and El Campo is one that prides itself on being there when a neighbor is in need.

What about the next one?

There’s no magic fix, no guarantees, but we in the community can do our best to provide the support that teens especially need.

I’m not sure there’s ever been a teenager who wasn’t convinced that they knew, “like everything.”

The wisdom that comes by surviving into adulthood is understanding just how lucky we’ve all probably been at least a time or two.

And, no, you don’t want to quash all the joy from a teen’s life by placing them in the proverbial box of school, homework and bed.

However, a whole bunch of folks who know far more about children than I say getting involved in what they do, what they think about, what they think is important, what scares them, what makes them laugh and what makes them cry, truly makes a difference.

It will likely be an uphill battle.

“Your modern teenager is not about to listen to advice from an old person, defined as a person who remembers when there was no Velcro,” Comedian Dave Barry said.

A fellow by the name of Arnold H. Glasow reckon’d it this way, “Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.”

Perhaps it can start with just a conversation – not a text, but the actual face-to-face exchange of ideas people used to do with ease – you know, old school.

Teens matter, but sometimes they need to hear that.

The national news should have taught all of us that by now. How many stories have you seen where something horrible has happened because somebody felt apart from it all, bullied and nobody bothered to pay attention when it could have made all the difference in the world.

Some losses are just that. Losses, terribly sad, but unstoppable when the whims of fate begin to twist.

Other times we can make a difference, if only a small one.

“No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted,” Aesop said when we still thought togas were high fashion.

Maybe he had something there, though. It doesn’t sound like a bad place to start.

 

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– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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