All of the girls were underage, which means they should not have been drinking at all. So why did they have alcohol in the car? Did their parents knew they had it, or planned to be consuming it sometime during the evening? Did "friends" buy the booze for them?
Some parents have given up on the whole abstaining-from-alcohol thing and serve it to their kids in their own home, reasoning that if they're going to get drunk, better for them to do it at home than drink elsewhere, and then get behind a wheel.
While I disagree with this reasoning, I can certainly understand the impulse. I understand the desperate fear parents have for their kids when it comes to graduation parties and proms and post-football parties that will almost certainly feature alcohol.
Thinking about these issues a year ago, when Travis attended his junior year prom, I wrote that my husband and I understood early on that a war would be waged for the hearts and minds and values of our two precious sons—and that we would have to kick the increasingly corrupt culture in the backside every single day. With that in mind, we helped create for them a community of shared values, led by parents and teachers, intended for the good of our children. In our case, it meant sending our kids to a private Christian school. Attending this school meant that we could let the boys go off to proms and graduation parties and they would not feel like freaks for not drinking--because none of their friends were drinking, either. In their community, it simply wasn't cool to get drunk. To a teenager, what one’s friends and peers think about drinking counts for more than anything else—more than what parents teach, more than what well-meaning teachers preach.
Our son's graduation weekend accident reminds us that we cannot protect our kids from every danger out there. So we continue to pray for their safety—and for their wisdom when facing difficult choices. We think--we hope--we have lessoned some of those dangers by the cultural community we put them in when they were small, and kept them in until they graduated.
We also pray that God will meet the needs of the families of those four bright, beautiful girls who died on graduation night. Their lives will never be the same.
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