This past weekend a 44 year-old jogger from New Canaan was What a sad way to kick off National Distracted Driver’s Awareness month. My heart grieves for the family who was waiting for their husband and father to come home from just an ordinary run on a typical Saturday morning. I also can imagine what the 16 year-old and her family are going through and how this incident will change their lives forever. The only shining light that I can find in this tragedy is that clearly this young girl’s parents must have instilled strong morals and ethics in her because, unlike other cases we have read about, this girl didn’t flee the scene. She stayed and did the right thing, called 911 and accepted responsibility. Not an easy thing for an adult to do let alone a scared teen.
Several weeks ago a Utah man was watching the evening news with his son when he realized that it was his son in some surveillance footage ransacking an electronics stores. The story went on to say that over $65,000 in merchandise had been stolen. The dad had a tough choice – call the police on his son or pretend he didn’t realize it was his own son who was the thief. The dad persuaded the son that he needed to turn himself in and they drove to the police station together.
It’s easy for us to teach our children to “do the right thing” and “accept responsibility” but what happens when this goes from theoretical to practical? Would you tell your child to admit to a crime let alone turn her in yourself? It’s a tough question and I’m certainly not going to say I’m sure what I would do. The need to protect your child is great but teaching them accountability is crucial. Both decisions can have devastating consequences.
Here in Wilton we’ve been dealing with this issue for several years. While I never met Nick Parisot nor his family, I certainly know the story as do many Wilton residents. For those of you who don’t, Nick Parisot was a 13 year-old boy who died from neck trauma when he was riding his motor bike and ran into a rope that had been intentionally strung across the path. While no one has ever been arrested in the case, police confirm they have a suspect and Nick’s family has filed a civil suit against another family and their minor child. And, according to Nick’s mother there are several other minors who have information but their parents have never allowed them to come forward and speak. This happened almost four years ago and still no one is talking. This isn’t a case of your kids having a party at someone’s home who’s away on vacation and deciding whether they should fess up (as was recently discussed on The Patch) This is a child who was killed and a family who desperately needs closure.
Whether it’s the family of the suspect or the parents of one of the other kids who has information, I would assume they go through their own agony every day. Yes, they’re our children but, as a parent who’s lost a child (to SIDS), more than anything we need closure and we have a right to it.
For the 16 year-old girl who stopped on Saturday, she and her family will never be the same. But, at least she’ll be able to sleep at night knowing the she did the right thing.
So what would your teen do? And what would you do?