Normally, in a Teen Mentoring article, I state that “ALL teens need to hear the Magic Words: ‘Be safe! Be smart!’” However, considering the current search for one of my kids, missing Liberty runner Chad Rogers, 30, and how thousands in the community have come together to create search parties, including MY KIDS who are in their 20s and 30s, these words have never been more true for ALL involved in the search efforts to find Chad Rogers.
Chad’s family and friends have started a Facebook Page called: Bring Chad Rogers home. Wednesday night, the group posted the following: “There is a lot of talk about people wanting to go on ‘rogue’ search efforts. If you plan to do so, please:
a) Do not enter the area where authorities are still working. This includes any area in the Birmingham, Ruth Ewing/Cedars, 291 ‘square’.
b) DO NOT go alone. If possible go in a group of 5 or 6 and always have at least 2 side by side.
c) Take a cell phone, water, and other necessary safety supplies.”
These precautions are the epitome of the concept of “Miller’s Law #1”: “Be safe! Be smart!”
How do all of My Kids know “Miller’s Law #1”? My first year of teaching, I was blessed to have a Mentor Teacher who taught me the phrase she would tell the kids every Friday. The point was this: We were not going to be able to see our kids back in our classes for whatever number of days, so we couldn’t be able to check on them to make sure they were OK—and they HAD to be OK. Our kids were too valuable to us. So to make sure our kids were OK during the days we didn’t get to see them, we reminded them of the Magic Words: “Be Safe! Be Smart!” It was imperative!
So on the first Friday of the first week of school every year, I would explain to my students this concept, and I would do so with absolute seriousness and sincerity. If I encountered mocking from a student, I would call that kiddo aside, and explain to that child that I had lost kids, too many kids, because they were not safe or smart. I could NOT lose another one of MY kids, and explain, “The reality is that when you’re mine, you’re mine forever. That is a choice I make. There is no escaping it, so don’t bother trying.” (“Miller’s Laws” Numbers 2 and 3…)
Teen Mentors, as the new school year begins, if you choose to adopt this concept: 1. Make sure you are absolutely committed to it. 2. Convey your message to your kids with absolute sincerity. 3. Remain consistent and vigilant about how you use these words. These “Magic Words” are POWERFUL.
Now is an ideal time to begin this tradition with your teens if you think you can live up to it. We do not yet know what has happened to Chad, and he very well may have been as “Safe” and “Smart” as he could have been, but now is the time to remind those who want to search for him that they must do the same! This is the time that all searchers must, “Be safe!” and “Be smart!” It is their responsibility to their families, and it is their responsibility to Chad.