'Life is fragile and using the roads is the most dangerous thing we do each day. We need to remember this every time we set out on a journey.' ~Gay Byrne
The death of eight people in a horrific road crash in Donegal has been a talking point in every home this week. Words like "utter devastation", "horrific", "heart wrenching" and "dreadfully sad" have all been used in our conversations. That eight young men were travelling in one of the cars, with seven losing their lives crosses all bounds of normality. The devastation and grief within the families is incalculable. For many of us on the outside looking in, all we can do is pray for them in their devastating loss. The impact on parents of young people across the country is also significant. The worry levels will increase particularly on weekend nights: will they be ok? who are they with? why aren't they home?. It's a difficult place to be, recognising that the transition of a child into a young adult is a beautiful one but also hugely challenging. There is a need to respect freedom but this often brings with it worry, anxiety, stress and sadly heartache too. Restricting freedom and choice is a short term solution but as a long term solution it smothers the human spirit and stunts their journey. We can explain, give out, shout, plead and pray for their safety. We can restrict, teach, condemn, limit and do all sorts of things to ensure a young persons safety. Even a combination of all may not be enough on occasions. An emphasis on peer care, that its ok to say no, and to encourage young people to look out for each other is a good start. So whether it's from a young person to one of their peers or a parent to their young adult son or daughter, the question to ask today is: "How are you feeling in this? "How has it affected you "What can we learn from this?"