As if the news of actor Paul Walker's accident in a violent car crash weren't tragic enough, the latest updates are almost unbearably heartbreaking. Driver Roger Rodas' 8-year-old son tried to save his dad from the burning car. Eyewitness Jim Torp says, "I ran over afterwards, I was trying to find Roger’s son. I found out his son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out." Can you imagine? An 8-year-old boy witnessing his father's death in a blazing car, desperate to save him -- what a traumatic experience for such a young person.
No child should ever have to watch their parent die. I can't even fathom the sense of loss and desperation Rodas' son must have felt. That moment when he was pulled away and realized he couldn't save his father after all, his heart must have broken into a million different pieces.
Rodas was a professional race car driver -- I'm sure that comes with a certain acceptance of risk. Racing is how he made his living and supported his family. His son probably lived with the knowledge that his father had a risky job, that every race put his father's life in peril. I don't know if that would prepare him for this accident, but at least it might be less of a surprise ... maybe?
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Still, it makes you wonder if we as parents have the right to carry on high-risk activities once we have kids. Life itself is risky, of course. Any one of us could get hit by a car just crossing the street. But some hobbies and careers put us at extra risk. And when the worst happens, I can't help feeling angry at the parents for exposing their kids to this horrific loss.
One of your biggest priorities as a parent is simply to stay alive and as able-bodied and present as possible for your children. When you choose to become a parent, you also choose to give a few things up. Should Rodas have given up racing when he became a father? Reports suggest Rodas and Walker were street racing near a charity where Rodas' son was present. What were they thinking?!? It's impossible to ask that question now. We don't know everything about what led to the crash, but it isn't hard to speculate that Rodas may have taken unnecessary risks because his profession gave him extra confidence as a driver. I'm torn between feeling angry with Rodas for not being more careful and feeling compassion for him and his son for their loss.
What kinds of risks do you think adults should give up once they become parents?
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