Take The First Step Before They Step Out


While attending a father and son camping trip a few years ago, I was casually hiking along a trail, not paying much attention to what was ahead of me, when suddenly I heard what sounded like a pulsing electrical current. I halted and quickly began to scan the ground. What happened next took only a split second, and yet seemed to stop time. One step ahead of me was a large rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. The shock of seeing the snake so close caused me to hesitate. My teenage son had been walking behind me and had also seen the snake. Reaching forward, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back just as the snake struck, its fangs coming within inches of my leg.

As a child, I had been taught how to avoid being bitten by a rattlesnake and what safety precautions to observe when hiking. Had I taken the time to review the safety rules just before the hike, I believe I would have been more careful and avoided danger. I am thankful there was someone there to pull me out of harm's way.

This weekend, hundreds of our young people will be attending their high school prom.

No doubt they have heard the dangers of alcohol, drugs and premarital sex. We, as parents and grandparents, may feel there is no need to teach them what they have already been taught. But the trail they will walk on Saturday can be distracting. They may become careless and forget to watch their step. Take a moment to remind them of the safety rules.

For 167 of these young people, prom night is only three weeks away from graduation and completing a most important chapter in their lives. The few moments you spend before their departure on Saturday night may allow them the chance to continue the journey they've only just begun.

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