We hear a lot about hero dads who defend their children against the dark forces of the world. There's the dad who beat his 4-year-old daughter's would-be molester to death. And the hero dad who chased down a man who allegedly tried to snatch his 2-year-old. What you don't hear about so often is a different kind of bravery -- one that doesn't require fists or chasing. One that doesn't require anger or vengeance but doesn't require a whole lot of courage. And that is the kind of dad who forgives the teen who killed his own son, and who not only forgives him, but hugs him.
It all started in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when Takunda Mavima, who was 17 at the time, had just been to a party celebrating his high school graduation. At the party there was alcohol. Takunda drank more than the legal limit. And he got in his car. And he ended up killing two other teens, who were in the car that Takunda hit. One of those teens was Tim See.
Tim's father, also named Tim, spoke on behalf of Takunda at his sentencing. Here is an extraordinary thing that Tim said in court:
I promised myself one thing that day. I promised myself I would not get angry.
Wow. Who could not get angry at this? He had every right to get angry. But he knew that getting angry would not bring his son back. He knew it would not change anything. It would only poison him. So he has campaigned for Takunda, asking the judge not to send him to jail:
I am begging you to let Takunda make something of himself in the real world-- don't send him to prison and get hard and bitter, that boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he'll never make the same mistake again.
Tim knew that the way to peace is forgiveness, not revenge. It also helps that Takunda has been very remorseful and apologetic.
Takunda was sentenced to jail anyway, as there are mandatory jail sentences with drunk driving in Wyoming. But the judge gave him the the lesser amount. In a heartbreaking but incredibly inspirational moment, Tim hugged Takunda after his sentencing.
Honestly, if there were more people like Tim See, Sr. in the world, it would be a much better place.
Could you forgive in this scenario?
Image via Sylvar/Flickr