To the teenager who likes to have (lots of) fun,
I have a college aged son named Will who goes to school in New York. He’s a bright young man, attending school on a full tuition scholarship, ranked in the top 10% of his class. He has a solid work ethic and gets the job done, but he does like to have fun. It’s his love of fun that leads to the choices he made that I want to tell you about today.
It was March 14, 2016. My husband and I were awakened by the phone ringing at 5AM. I can still remember like it was yesterday, hearing the voice of the person on the other end saying, “There’s been an accident. Your son was severely injured.”
I pray that when you are a parent, you never have to get a call like that. In a moment, your heart drops, you gasp for breath, and your life changes.
You see, Will had had a really fun night celebrating the birthday of a friend. He had been drinking, a lot. His friends recognized Will had reached his limit, cut him off from the alcohol, and brought him back to his dorm room around midnight. Believing Will would just sleep it off, his friends left him and returned to the party.
In most cases, this would’ve been the end of the story. Will would’ve woken up the next morning, maybe a little hung over. He would’ve gone to class, just like any other day. His friends would’ve told him how drunk he was the night before and they would’ve felt like they did their job, stopping their friend from drinking too much and making sure he got home.
What his friends couldn’t have known was that Will would wake up sometime around 2AM. For whatever reason, Will would open the window from his third story dorm room. And somehow, Will would fall from that window onto the concrete patio 35 feet below.
Our family is so very thankful that God didn’t call Will home to Him that day and I trust that God has a greater purpose, a plan for this event … and somehow, I think sharing this with you today is part of that plan.
I don’t want something similar to what happened to Will to happen to you.
Will is a good kid, with a good head on his shoulders, with a bright future.
Just like you.
Will studied hard during the week and partied hard on the weekends.
Just like you.
Will was drinking underage.
Just like you.
Seriously, it was one night of too much fun that could have cost Will his life.
So, I know what you are thinking. What a dummy. What was he doing hanging out the window?
But, he’s not a dummy. He’s a smart kid who partied too hard.
He is someone just like you.
Will is lucky.
He’s recovered. He’s back in school. He’s alive.
But what if something worse had happened?
What if Will didn’t survive the fall?
So here’s what I hope you take away from me sharing this story:
(1) Drinking can be dangerous.
Even though Will’s accident was a freak accident, stuff happens. Don’t put yourself in a situation where your choices could possibly lead to harsh consequences.
I know what some of you are thinking. “I already drink and that could never happen to me.” I am pretty sure Will did not start that night thinking about possibly falling out of a window, sustaining injuries severe enough that he would have to withdraw for the remainder of the school year.
Drinking can be dangerous.
(2) When you’re with friends, take care of each other.
Will’s friends thought they were doing him a favor by cutting him off and taking him back to his dorm. In many cases, that would be enough. Let him sleep it off and it’ll all be good in the morning. In this case, their actions weren’t enough to prevent bad things from happening.
If you’re with friends who have made the choice to drink (especially if they’ve had too much), it isn’t enough just to get them home. You have to do something to make sure your friend is safe. Don’t be the friend who has to live with the guilt of “what if” because you chose to leave a friend who shouldn’t have been left alone.
When you’re with friends, take care of each other.
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of preventable death each year. Preventable is the key word here. Be safe with your choices. Look out for your friends. Get help when you need it.
I pray that Will’s story makes you realize bad things can happen to good people because of a choice that sounds like fun. Be safe. I hope your parents never have to get a phone call like I did.
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