Here’s a letter from a regular Leelanau News reader that we feel is more than worth your time.
Each year it seems we face sorrowful news about tragic events regarding our young people.Â Now is a common time due to the number of graduations that are about to take place.Â But, itâ€™s not necessarily now.Â Itâ€™s not necessarily a teenager.Â It can be a college event.Â Or, perhaps a group of joy riders.Â Driving too fast.Â Missing a stop sign.Â In the wrong place at the wrong time.Â Drinking too much.Â Bowing to peer pressure.Â The list is lengthy.Â They hurt themselves or someone with them, or someone else.Â Or, they die…
This past weekend my family and I attended a memorial service for my wifeâ€™s cousin, Daniel DiPiero, in Youngstown, Ohio.Â Daniel was just 21 years old.Â His life was full of promise and hope.Â Now he is gone.Â While on a cruise ship with friends, he made a few bad choices and, in the early hours of the morning while by himself on deck, fell more that forty feet from the ship into the ocean.Â We have not found him.Â The coast guard searched a 900 square mile area for two days with no trace of him.
We think it canâ€™t happen in our family.Â We only read about this in the news.Â But, it does happen in our families.Â Daniel was a quiet, sensitive, introspective, thoughtful person.Â He was a good person.Â We have many wonderful memories and images of him.Â My three boys adored him.Â But, now he is gone.Â Â These moments of judgmental failure have huge repercussions.Â His parents, Ron and Sue, are devastated.Â His grandparents, Audrey and Augie, donâ€™t understand and are in shock.Â His sisters just want their brother back.Â His friends sobbed for him at the service.Â Our lives touch many, many others.Â We often fail to realize that.Â There is now a permanent hole in the hearts of all these people.
Parents, talk to your children.Â We have!Â Teachers, talk to your students.Â Ministers, talk to your parish youths.Â If you are in a leadership role to young people, please use this tragedy as example.Â We are neither immortal nor invincible.Â Our time here is short and precious.Â Do not take it for granted.Â The advice I have given my boys is before they consider doing something 1) Think of Daniel, 2) What would my parents think if they knew what I was about to do? and/or 3) How would I feel if this was being videotaped and the whole work would see it afterwards?Â In our youths, we tend to have a â€œReady, Fire, Aimâ€ attitude.Â Just stop and think!
I pray that the words may prevent at least one of the sad, senseless tragedies that, invariably, we will find in the media.Â I pray that these words may help you guide your own youth.Â I pray for Daniel DiPiero.Â He is missed.