Brad was a vibrant young teenager whose life was full of promise.

Not only was he a healthy all-around athlete, but he also had a top 10 ranking in his academic class. Brad was liked by not only his classmates, but the entire staff at his local high school. Brad’s parents were also proud of their child for learning the values they taught him which would hopefully last all of his life.

Upon graduating from high school Brad enrolled in college eager to begin his desire to walk the path to adulthood. Brad’s parents noticed that after a while he started to run around with people much older than he was, and he did not stay in contact with them as much as he had always done before. They attempted to call him, but after two days with no answer they made a desperate drive to the college, and upon entering the room they found Brad sleeping in his bed.

They went to his bedside to gently wake him, but first they noticed an empty pill bottle on his bed. Oxycodone 100 mg was on the label, and to their horror they realized Brad was not asleep.

His parents stood beside his gravesite with tears streaming down their faces, both of their minds screaming what more could we have done? This time the answer is, absolutely nothing.

They didn’t realize that good kids can become involved in bad situations, including drugs. When your child, of any age, starts acting in a way that is not normal for him, don’t be afraid to get involved. Check out their lifestyle; find help for them, even if it means your friends might know.

Sarah is a spirited young lass running thru the rolling hills of Scotland, with not a care to her
name. She grew up with two doting parents, whose love and hard work left her free to do as she pleased. Sarah learned early in life to use that beautiful smile, and puppy eyes to get her parents to give her basically anything she wanted.

Everything seemed to be going perfectly for Sarah on the outside, but her parents noticed the more they gave her the more rebellious she became, starting with the time she climbed out her bedroom window, and did not return until dawn. Her parents tried to convince her that continuing on this course would be disastrous, but it fell on deaf ears. On her 16th birthday, Sarah discovered she was six weeks pregnant.

Not knowing what to do Sarah ran to her parents, and using those puppy eyes convinced them that this was not her fault. "Where is the father" her parents demanded. But all she could say is that she did not know which boy was the father. Sara’s parents took on extra jobs to pay the medical bills, and provide what was needed for the baby. Without completing her education Sarah couldn’t find a job making enough to support herself, and her baby.

A few years passed and the stress of the situation, and working extra jobs took a toll on Sara’s parents. One day her father had a stroke, and soon after that, his lifelong love had a nervous breakdown, and both had to be placed where someone could care for them. Without an education, or her parents giving her everything, Sarah gave the child up for adoption, and melted out into the streets never to be heard from again.

I have heard many parents state that they were working as many hours as they could to give their children everything that they never had. What’s wrong with that picture?

Sarah’s parents: They failed to teach her to love and respect herself. Teach your kids to be responsible people. You won’t always be there to take care of their needs.

Jimmie was born on what they say is the wrong side of the tracks. Which side that is, I have
no idea. Jimmie was living in a small home, which he shared with four siblings. His mother and his father had skipped out after the last child was born.

Jimmie, being the oldest, was forced out into the streets to help keep his family fed and a roof over their heads. Jimmie was 15 years old when he had to give up his youth and was thrown into this large scary world. Without a strong male influence, Jimmie quickly was drawn to local street gangs whose leaders were older veterans of their craft and welcomed him with open arms.

Starting Jimmie out slowly they had him doing smaller crimes like shoplifting or delivering of drugs. After getting his small cut he would race home and give it all to his mother to help out. Mom would frown but never said a word because her small salary could not keep up with the constantly rising cost of living. Jimmie soon realized that even with his help, it wouldn’t be enough, so he asked the leaders for bigger action. Stealing tires improved his cut a little but when he graduated to stealing whole cars the money got much better. Breaking into houses was quite profitable, but that went to older members of the gang.

One day, the leader called him in and gave him an opportunity to rob a convenience store as a test of his loyalty. Things at home were getting worse so Jimmie reluctantly said yes. "Wear a mask and take this gun when you go," the leader ordered.

"Why do I need a gun?" he questioned.

"It is only to scare them. Besides you will never use it," was his reply.

Standing outside the store, Jimmie waited for the right moment, entered and demanded all their money while his trembling hands pointed the gun at the clerk. Suddenly a lady stepped out of the restroom, and panicking, he turned and fired. Jimmie, seeing the red splatter on her chest, dropped the gun and ran.

Two days later, the SWAT team entered his mother's home and Jimmie surrendered. After a
short trial Jimmie at 17 years old was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. And his mama cried. Unfortunately, Jimmie did not get to be a young man. He felt forced to take on the family responsibility in the only way he knew how. Now it is too late to ever go back.

Jimmie’s parents: Don’t expect your kids to be the parent. Unfortunately, we see these situations all too often. Parents are responsible for their own children. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help to the many organizations that are set up to help people who are in need. Families can receive help with food, housing, and even training to find a job.

I do not know about everyone of course, but sometimes looking back on some of the decisions that I have made in life wishing that I could go back one more time to change some of them I realize that you can never go back.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs a person will ever have. You want them to be strong, independent people, with a good work ethic, and a love for God and people around them. It is so very hard to know how to parent. We want to teach them to be self-sufficient, but at the same time we want to do anything we can to fix their problems. There is no love like what a parent feels for a child or grandchild.

Whether our children are babes or adults, God help us all to be the kind of parent that our child needs.