Teenagers tend to end up in the news for doing the sorts of things that make us groan and question the future of the human race. But a teenage boy in North Carolina has put a big fat grin on my face today. At just 13, Wesley Dixon had the courage to run into a burning building to rescue his father.
It was the dumbest thing the kid could have done. And also one of the most selfless, incredible things anyone could have done.
The building -- home to Dixon, his mom and dad, and four other siblings -- is gone. The family of seven will have to find a new place to live, have to spend the holidays trying to figure out how to move on. But thanks to Wesley running back into the burning house after he realized his dad was inside, no one was injured.
That's particularly striking when you consider how often firefighters, men and women who actually trained for this kind of thing, are hurt in the line of duty. That could have been this teenager. But it wasn't. He got lucky.
And he was, by all accounts, brave. This is a kid who -- not surprisingly -- wants to be a Navy SEAL when he grows up. He already foresees a life of helping other people. As I said before, it puts a grin on my face. It's good to hear about kids who want to help others.
Naturally, it gives me pause too, as I think about how we try to teach our kids to turn away from danger, teach them to protect themselves because we won't always be able to do so. I'm willing to bet Wesley's mother would have been horrified by the thought of her son running into a burning building.
But sometimes our kids surprise us. They take on risks, and they pay off. They do things that scare us, and the end result is incredible.
My hat is off to this young man today and to his parents too. They're doing a good job with this one.
Would your teen do what Wesley did? What would you do?
Image via wwarby/Flickr