Watching Breakfast Television (a Toronto CITY TV network news/variety morning show) on Monday morning, we were told that a young foreign student fell into the Niagara River and went over the falls. They were about to search for her body with helicopters as daylight came...
As regular readers know, Niagara Falls and surrounding areas are a frequent mini-vacation destination for Helen, Alec and I. We will visit two or three times a year.
I know exactly where that spot is... Apparently she was on the railing posing for a picture when she lost her balance and fell into the river.
My immediate reactions were varied... how stupid... how sad that a happy occasion can turn tragic so quickly... Could this have been prevented?... I thought of the people she was with, how they must have felt at that instant... I thought about her parents and family.
It is easy to criticize her actions after the fact... the truth is, at that age, sometimes we feel invincible, and I recall car accidents and other "stupid" actions of my youth that could easily have changed forever the course of my life and others, perhaps just as tragically.
In general, I was perceived by most to be a good kid, one whom most parents felt was trustworthy and responsible. But thinking back, I can recall many actions that were made in the moment that could have ended so differently.
What can we do?
Can we "bubble wrap" the world to protect everyone?
There are warnings, in words and in pictures of the dangers.
I can remember visiting both ridges of the Grand Canyon a few years ago. There are many places with no railings. At some point, we must take responsibility of our actions and understand possible consequences before we act.
As a parent of a precocious seven year old, I realize that this is my duty. To ensure that Alec is well grounded in assessing a situation, trying to understand the risk, and possible consequences to himself and to others of his actions. To ensure he understands that there are events and substances that can affect his ability to reasonably assess a situation and to make better choices.
I am thinking that this is a lesson we can all always keep on learning, I know I can.
This was a tragedy, a seemingly vital person's life snuffed out for no reason. I offer my sympathy to her friends and family.
Death is a certainty and will visit us all. Even though in many instances there is little or nothing we can or could do to prevent a tragic event, our actions and choices can play a part in preventing many of them.
I share the news of this tragedy in the hopes that we can learn from it and make better and safer choices ourselves and teach our young the lessons they need to learn to equip themselves for life.
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage