I was sitting in my living room watching a tribute to the late, great Prince Rogers Nelson Thursday evening. Suddenly, I was struck with an epiphany. I finally understood the meaning of the song “Sometimes it Snows in April.” Many of you have heard speakers and ministers equate the seasons to the stages of life. The spring is the time of birth and growth. Everything is fresh, vibrant and beautiful. Spring represents youth. The summer is that stage in your life that’s fun. Sometimes the dog days of summer wear down on you, but your still manage good times. Summer represents early adulthood. Fall is the time when the leaves change color and things start to cool off. Fall represents late adulthood. You start to slow down. Your hair starts to turn gray. Winter is the time in life when, basically, the luster is gone. Things wither, die off and fade away. Winter represents the senior citizen phase of life.
With the exception of the extreme northern states and Colorado, no one expects snow in April. An unexpected snow in April can kill the flowers that have bloomed and flourished in the spring sun and rain. Sometimes the snow of life falls and takes away someone in his or her youth.
I fell asleep thinking about this revelation Thursday night; however, at 3:42 AM the following morning I received a call from my best friend. Since he is on-call like me, for a split second I thought he rolled over on his phone. When I answered, he was on line. When I heard him say, “Yo, B…” I was not expecting him to tell me that his 21 year-old daughter had just passed away. His child, whom I’ve known since she was 10. His child who was 10 months older than my oldest daughter was gone in the blink of an eye. Without warning, the April snow fell on his family.
Sometimes it seems like we are in a blizzard. Our young people are dying off rapidly. There are times that our children get caught in the snow and there is nothing that can be done about. Accidents happen. Our youth get sick and are consumed by the illness. But in many instances, children are exposed to an April snow unnecessarily.
As a society, we have got to do a better job at protecting the youth from the April snow. We are not doing children justice, by enabling them to brave the April snow. Enabling them by knowingly allow them to roam the streets late at night. Knowingly allow our children to engage in gang activity. Ignoring our daughter’s violent relationships with men. Refusing to confront our children when they are engaging in reckless behaviors such as promiscuity and social media exhibitionism.
Last week, three young ladies drowned running from police in Florida driving a stolen car. Activist are overlooking the reckless behavior that exposed them to the April snow and focusing on pointing blame at law enforcement. Each of those girls averaged 8 prior auto thefts. When children are doing wrong in school, parents go to the school with the intentions of attacking the faculty and staff, instead of focusing on the child’s behavior. Numerous teens have been shot by police after pointing weapons at them. Communities protest, ignoring the Facebook pictures of the teen holding enough weapons to launch an assault on a small town. Their excuse is that he was just playing around with friends. Parents know their children have committed crimes and instead of making them face the consequences of their actions, they move them to another school or another state.
Parents, its time to be parents. Stand strong and not allow your children to go out in the April snow. There is no guarantee they will come back to you. As a society, we have got to stop rationalizing why children are taken unnecessarily by the April snow by pointing the blame elsewhere. Take that child’s misfortune and use it to teach others so they don’t try brave the April blizzard.
To the parents who have lost children to the April snow… If you know you did everything in your heart to protect your child from the April snow, don’t beat yourself up over it. The loss will never go away. However, the pain will not subside any faster blaming yourself. Parents have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but their children still went out there. They did not believe that the April snow is real. You’re not to blame. You train your children the way they should go, then pray that they will not part from it.
To the youth of America… The April snow is real. You are not invincible. Take the lessons that your parents teach you and let them mold you so you will have a chance at enjoying the summer, fall, and hopefully winter of life. If you’re not receiving the proper guidance, find a responsible adult to give you guidance.
My heart goes out to all of the parents, friends, and loved ones that have to endure the aftermath of an April snow. Some of these flowers can be protected. We have to bring them in.