It's a scene that probably plays out more often than parents want to admit -- teens daring one another or trying to impress each other with dangerous feats. Most of the time we probably just don't hear about them, unless they go horribly wrong ... as they did last week for 15-year-old Austin Price.
Price was walking home with two friends last Thursday from their San Lorenzo, Calif., high school. They started to play a game of "chicken," with an Amtrak train, seeing how long they could stay on the tracks as the train approached. According to friends, it was something students did all the time.
Unfortunately, Price stayed on too long, and according to KTVU, just after 6:45 p.m. he was struck and killed by the oncoming training. It's a senseless tragedy in the truest sense.
While it obviously should a send a direct message about how dangerous trains are, and how no one should walk along tracks, it should also serve as a bigger warning to our kids about taking such senseless risks. This didn't have to happen.
It's one of those stories that seizes my heart as a parent, because I can see how easily this could happen. I can imagine how an otherwise smart, well-behaved kid would put himself or herself in such a position because they feel invincible, because they're bored, because they want to impress someone, because they can. I did plenty of risky things myself, and look back in awe that nothing happened to me. Don't we all?
So how do we prevent our kids from such similar senseless tragedies? We can't prevent cancer, or random acts of violence, but something like this doesn't have to happen. The question is how. How do we get through to them that it's just not worth it?
It's an age-old question I suppose that generation after generation of parents has asked, but failed to answer. I hope, however, that by sharing stories like Austin's, we might at least make them think. That maybe when they're ready to take a senseless risk they might remember him and make the right choice.
Do you worry about your teen taking senseless risks? What do you do to try and prevent them from doing so?
Image via NBC