A Letter To The Kids Who Just Don't Get It
I'm not a writer. I'm not a blogger. I'm not an English major, and quite frankly, I don't enjoy writing very much. I would much rather say what I have to say in person. However, there is no way I can say this face to face to everyone who needs to hear it. I see these "a letter to" posts often shared by people on social media that go viral because they resonate so deeply with everyone. How clever.
I'm not writing this to go viral. I'm not writing this to be clever, BUT I am writing this with the hopes that the right people read it.
Dear kids that just don't get it,
I have one thing to tell you. One thing that might save your life.
You. Are. Not. Indestructible.
Now before you skim over those words, I want you to really let that sink in. You're not immortal. You have ONE life to live. One. Once this life is over you don't get a redo.
Now, before you ignore and skim over that paragraph I want you to stop and think about your life. Those close calls you had. That risky behavior. The people around you that bad things happen too. The things that can't possibly happen to you, right?
They can. They will.
So you drove drunk once, so you didn't have to call your parents? You didn't want to get in trouble, nothing happened. What's the big deal? So you snuck out to hang out with that boy or those friends. So what? You had fun and nothing happened.
Texting and driving? What's the big deal? Everyone does it. You're a good driver. Driving while high. You drive better? Nothing happened. You're just chillin,' right? So you took drugs once? Twice? Many times? Weed isn't a drug. No one has ever overdosed. Molly? Everyone does it. Xanax? It just mellows you out.
Now, as you sit angry and in disagreement as you read this, I want you to think about your parents or maybe it's just one parent. Maybe just a mom or just a dad. All the lying you do. The arguing you do. The headache that you cause because you want to be right and be able to do what you want.
Imagine their face. You love them. It's your mom. It's your dad. They've been in your life and loved you since before you knew anything. They've taught you everything. How to eat. How to use the bathroom. How to talk. Read. Everything. Imagine everything they've taught you. Really imagine it.
Now think about yourself. The selfishness that comes with being a teenager. The lying. The arguing. The tears. The late nights of fear that you knowingly and unknowingly cause your parents. The gray hair that you're causing. The wrinkles.
YOU are responsible for that.
For some reason this "MY" generation doesn't want to take responsibility for anything. Nothing is ever their fault. Got a ticket? Oh well, someone will pay for it. Got a DUI? How was I supposed to get home? I wasn't even that drunk. Spend a night in jail? It doesn't count because I'm underage.
"I got a ticket." Not my fault.
"I hit a deer." Not my fault.
"I hit a curb and popped my tire." Not my fault.
My brother said all of those. My brother, the popular one. The one who everyone liked. The one who everyone knew. The one who just started college. The one who just got a job. The one who just got his drivers license. The one who was supposed to major in Spanish and travel the world. The one who was 17. The one who is dead.
He shouldn't be dead. It should be someone else. It's always supposed to be someone else, until it's someone you know. When it's someone you know, then it hits home. But not for long. You stop partying and being reckless for a little while. Then you start again because it will never be you. It's never you until it IS you. Until it's your family planning a funeral.
Why are they planning a funeral? Why are they planning YOUR funeral? Because you went to that party and overdosed? Because you drank and drove? Because you snuck out and went missing? Because you wanted to text and drive?
What's the big deal?
The big deal is YOU. ARE. DEAD.
Your friends will never get to party with you again. Your brothers or sisters won't ever get to argue with you again. Your parents will no longer have strands of gray hair, their whole head will turn gray.
Everyone you loved and cared for will see you one last time.
One last time in a casket.
A casket with flowers around you, and sad music playing, and people crying. The people who you risked your life with and for. One final goodbye.
And those people will attend your two hour funeral and go home and be sad for a while. Your family will be sad forever. But those certain friends will be sad for a while, and after a while, they will feel better and continue doing what they and you were doing before.
It will be a cycle. One of three things will happen.
Either until you grow up and mature and get it.
Or you will grow up and do the same things and by luck you will survive and die at a proper age.
...or you die. Too early. Too young. Before you're supposed too.
You die and leave people like me and my family broken.
Because you don't get it.
My brother didn't get it and he never got the chance too.
So, to the kids who just don't get it, I hope that you do. I hope that you do soon. I hope that you read this. ACTUALLY read it. Don't skim over it. Don't share it on Facebook and not read it. Don't just suggest it to someone else because this doesn't apply to you. Don't read it with anger and disagreement in your heart.
Because no one should have to see their teenage brother or sister or child in a casket. Especially because they just didn't get it. So get it. And get it together fast. Because tomorrow could be you, or your friend, or your brothers funeral.
The girl who gets it now.
In Remembrance of Eron M.K Johnson