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“Love your children enough to say no”

November 5th, 2004 · 3 Comments

Before we left on our trip to LA, I wrote a post What will it take to stop it? asking whether the death of 16 year old Sarah Gillette would have any effect on the dangerous choices made by island youth. In the midst of all the spam deluge on Tuesday, I received a comment, one that I nearly missed in the mess, and I suspect others did too so I will print it here as a separate post.

As Sarah’s father, I wish there were more I could do to stop our children from making more terrible mistakes. And I say “our” children because they are both the pride, joy, future and, most significantly, the responsibility of all of us as a community, nation and as human beings. It saddens me beyond measure that Sarah’s death has become nothing more than a footnote.

At her memorial, I asked the children who were there to please look out for one another, to trust and believe in each other and to live up to that trust. I asked that they learn from this incident that they are not immortal, that they are fundamentally human and fallible and that they can only avoid tragic consequences by loving each other enough to care.

Less than a 6 weeks later, one of the kids in the car was charged with his second MIP.

In truth, it now appears that Sarah died for nothing, that nobody will learn anything and that in 6 months everyone will have forgotten except her mother and I, her stepfather, her twin sister and her brother. All of us live with this tragedy every moment of every day.

Love your children enough to say no.

My love to all –

Chris Gillette

Tags: island

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jenny // Nov 7, 2004 at 12:31 am

    Wow. I don’t know what to comment, but I feel compelled to… His words bring great substance to words I have heard before. In a world where permissiveness is equated with love, Chris’s words touch me deeply and spur me on in my conviction that boundaries are good… even essential to life.

  • 2 lucy // Nov 9, 2004 at 4:21 pm

    When I was in high-school, two students died in separate wrecks a year apart. On the surface, everything went on the same. But, I was always the shy quiet one. The one that watched and listened. There were very subtle differences. A slight hesitation in some, a desperation to escape the very idea of mortality in others.

    For me personally, those deaths didn’t change my behavior so much as change my thoughts. Instead of drifting through life, I got a plan. MY plan. More than anything, those deaths pointed out to me that we are individuals (not just someones daughter/sister).

    I suspect the true impact on the teenagers won’t be felt in the near future.

  • 3 Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts // Dec 13, 2004 at 11:25 pm

    “If we deny this, we are deceiving ourselves”

    On Tuesday, the 14-year-old girl who drove the vehicle in which 16-year-old Sarah Gillette died last summer was sentenced to 15 to 36 weeks in a state juvenile prison and rehabilitation center. An article this week in the Kitsap Sun…