Opinion: It is Time to Add a New Subject to the ‘Talks’


It’s just my opinion…

Back in the “olden days,” parents always agonized over having the talk with their children. Back then “The Talk” consisted of the birds and bees.

In recent years, we have learned that another “talk” has been taking place with families of color. Parents have to sit down with their children and tell them how to conduct themselves when pulled over by a police officer. 

Having been born white, I had no idea for many years that that was an issue for others. I have no way to even imagine what it must be like to go through that situation. How I wish that was never the case for so many but the reality is still that, reality.

Now it is time for a new “talk” that parents must have with their children. It is a talk about their mortality and the consequences when speeding in a vehicle.

Too many young people have perished lately, not only in Burbank but across the entire nation. 

Let’s face it, we were all between 16 and 25 at one time in our lives and we all did some pretty crazy things that we look back and say, ”How did I ever survive that?”  We just chalk it up to being young and somewhat stupid. And of course, when friends come over to talk about the old days when we were knuckleheads, we always give that stare so kids would not hear those stories. 

Times have changed and with social media now also a driving force to brag on, young people are now taking more and more chances not only with their lives but with the lives of others.

We all know that the last thing on a young person’s mind is his or her mortality but as we have learned in the last 10 years, we have had to bury too many young people who thought they would live forever. 

I am not going to lecture about the types of cars they drive or the expense of some of those cars because that is not relevant. What is relevant is what young drivers do behind the wheel of one of those cars. It is not the make or model of the car that is important as is the accelerator pedal that ultimately gets these kids into trouble.

After the serious accident on Glenoaks last year that claimed the lives of three innocent young people, the Burbank Police Department has put in place several measures to try to stem speeding and street racing in the city. Extra patrols and prevention only go so far, however. There is still a thought process involved with fundamental respect needed to be able to judge wrong from right.

It is up to parents to sit their children down when they get their licenses and explain to them that not only speeding can kill or seriously hurt them, but other innocent people. If a parent does not know how to get through to their kid, then nobody does.

Education and laws are helpful and useful but don’t always work. No matter how much we lecture against drunk driving, we still see multiple people arrested every month for driving under the influence. 

I was a high school baseball coach for 40 years and every year I had a talk with my team about being smart and doing the right thing outside of their time on the field. In the back of my mind, I was always nervous about what would happen if, God forbid, I lost one of my players. What would that do to not only my team and their families but to myself? I have been very blessed not to have gone through that experience but I do know coaches who have and it has affected them the rest of their careers.

I don’t have any answers or quick solutions, but I know that something has to be done and the best place to start is with the family unit. If just in the back of your mind you were able to instill a thought of ”this is just not a good idea” in the back of your child’s mind and they listen to that voice at the right time, they will hopefully continue on their trek of life instead of leaving behind anguish and sadness among all that knew them. 

So please, have the talk and don’t be scared to continue to remind them like you would for other of life’s pitfalls.