Tragically, a 22 year-old young man lies in a medically induced coma at Brooke Army Medical Center. His mother anxiously sits by his side, tears silently streaming down her face as she clings to his hand. He doesn’t know, but doctors are preparing to amputate his leg from the knee down.
He is not a combat veteran. He shouldn’t be in the hospital at all. He should be enjoying a summer afternoon with his friends.
He is a person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Truth be told, he was actually exactly where he was supposed to be for someone whose car had broken down on the highway: Pulled over on the shoulder of the road.
His story is currently unfolding as I write this post. It is a tragic one.
More tragic than the story itself is the fact that it was completely preventable had a person chosen to live under the law instead of above it.
When parents don’t teach kids respect for authority, they grow up thinking that laws don’t apply to them. In truth, they’re a tragedy waiting to happen. They as well as others will suffer needlessly because of their disregard for authority.
Walter* and friends were traveling home from the beach Saturday morning when their car broke down. They pulled over to the shoulder of Interstate 37 to call for help. Walter got out of the car to make a phone call when a driver in a white pick-up truck struck him, traveling at a speed of no less than 70 miles per hour. Witnesses said the driver was illegally using the shoulder of the road as a passing lane to get around an 18 wheeler. He did not stop. Instead, he sped away, leaving Walter on the side of the road for dead.
Walter did not die, but his legs were crushed. He was rushed to a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, where doctors immediately induced a coma because they could not control his pain. They began operating in an attempt to save his legs. They were able to repair his right one with rods, plates, and screws, but his left one was beyond repair. In the wee hours of the morning, Walter was airlifted to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, an Army trauma center, where his left leg will be amputated from the knee down in the morning. Walter will not know his leg has been amputated until he wakes.
This story is one of many tragedies that occur when people have not been taught to respect authority. Part of respecting authority is obeying the law.
When parents fail to teach kids respect for authority, people get hurt.
Are you raising a tragedy waiting to happen?
1. Do you require that your children respect you?
2. Do you hold them accountable for disobedient acts?
3. Are you consistent in disciplining?
4. Do you correct instead of laugh when your young children act defiantly or disrespectfully?
5. Do you insist that your children respect others?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you increase your child’s chance of endangering himself or someone else.
When parents don’t teach children respect for the law (i.e. the rules of the road) children will behave in selfish, reckless ways, which puts all society in danger.
1. Respect for authority begins at home with you their parents.
2. Respect for you is extended beyond the home to teachers, police officers, and the law, including the rules of the road.
Sadly, the climate in society today encourages a disregard for authority. Parents don’t impress the importance of respect upon their kids.
Discipline breeds respect. Too many parents don’t discipline children because they’re afraid of hurting their feelings or damaging their self-esteem. When we fail to discipline our children, the proverb tells us that we are a party to their death.
Kids want discipline. They need it. They don’t possess the wisdom to make adult decisions. And, discipline must take place in the home.
If kids don’t respect their parents, they will never respect authority.
They grow up thinking the laws don’t apply to them. They steal, lie, and cheat because they think they are above the law. And, they will live and drive any way they please because the laws don’t apply to them.
Walter’s story is a sad one. And it could have been prevented.
He was scheduled to begin his enlistment in the service in August. Instead, he will be learning how to live as an amputee and his family will be learning how to care for him.
Teaching your child to respect authority may save him from tragedy, either his own or someone’s else’s.
*Walter is my brother’s oldest son. Doctors amputated his leg June 2, 2015. Walter has resumed a normal life with the help of a prosthetic limb. He drives, plays basketball, and takes classes at a local university. He currently lives with his parents in San Antonio, Texas.