When teenagers defy our expectationsJuly 16th, 2014 by Steven Gardner
On Monday when we heard the scanner call of a drowning at Island Lake my heart stopped a bit. My family had been there the evening before. My youngest, Apollo, he who cuts his own hair, had been swimming. It’s what you do when it’s warm out.
The picture on the left was taken that night from Island Lake Park. Sunset pictures were all over Facebook that night. This one is far from the best one.
There is no joy in learning it’s not your kid. There is no celebration in any of it.
Even learning that a group of about nine kids who were there swimming did all they could to save the boy’s life is overshadowed by the fact that as of Tuesday night that 12-year-old boy is in critical condition. I am, like much of this region, so impressed with what those kids did. That this boy has a chance to survive at all is because of them, and because of some adults who also happened by at the same time.
And yet, like everyone else, I want more than anything to hear that the boy will be OK. Then we can really celebrate what teenagers did. I think I can cast aside my job-mandated Olympian objectivity in saying that.
This, too. Today I got to talk to the mother of one of the kids. I said what I think anyone else would say, that no matter how this turns out those kids did the right thing.
Even if celebration is not in order, it’s comforting to know what happened. Anyone who has ever been a parent knows that stuff happens beyond your control. We obsess over details and still miss things. Life happens at a pace that sometimes outruns us. There are times we need the village to step in. We don’t necessarily plan for it. We try to live like we don’t need it. And yet there are times we find ourselves thanking whatever god we acknowledge for the times angels in the form of other humans appear to save us.
Or to save our kids.
This time it was teenagers. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to give up on them, maybe even your own. Most times we find ourselves wondering what they’re capable of it doesn’t occur to us that they might be capable of saving a life.
UPDATE: Most of you know by now that things did not end as we hoped. Jeffrey Hentz died Wednesday morning.