Balanced Life Prevents Devastation After Loss
A youngster murders innocent peers and then turns the gun on himself. More human potential lost. In a case I recently reviewed, a young man’s girlfriend decided to move on. Now, many families and friends are struggling with the inconsolable aftermath of his reaction. Innocent victims of juvenile crime lose their freedom to grow, evolve, learn, and contribute. Everyone who knew them will suffer pain, sorrow, confusion, and emptiness for the rest of their lives.
I am sure this armed teenager, who selfishly wanted to go out with a “bang,” felt that many factors contributed to his homicidal/suicidal frame of mind. But after reading the account of his actions, I would like to concentrate on one—the importance of maintaining balance in our lives.
I often tell parents and children that a balanced life can prevent devastation and obsession. When we decide that one thing represents the entirety of a life—a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a college, a career, a relationship, a sport, a talent—and we subsequently lose that one thing (through our actions, the acts of others, illness, disability, forces of nature), suddenly we have no life. And when we feel we have no life, it seems useless to make the effort, expend the energy, and reach the decisions that have the potential to turn the sorrow around.
For the benefit of our society, parents and educators must work to maintain a healthy balance in their children’s lives—of intellectual, creative, social, and physical pursuits. Children who are involved in exercise, the arts, cerebral stimulation, and communal activities are less likely to fall into a melancholic state after losing one of their many motivating relationships or activities. A setback in one area of their lives may cause them, legitimately, to feel disappointed; after all, they will have suffered a genuine dent in their psyches. But that loss probably will not create a fatal feeling of total and utter despair—the type of hopelessness that causes a juvenile to question the right of others to exist.
Youngsters who enrich their days with multiple pursuits find life too exciting and inspiring to even consider ending it—for themselves or for others—over a temporary childhood trouncing.
Nesta Aharoni, www.CBCAwards.com, Character Building Counts!