Forever the faces of these two teens will be linked together.  Natalie Holloway and Jordan Van der Sloot.  A young girl on her senior trip with friends.  A young boy was supposedly like all others… just sowing a few wild oats.  Now a video tape is out showing Jordan Van der Sloot confessing to parts of Ms. Holloway’s disappearance that seem to be in direct contradiction to comments he made in the past.

Click here to read the Fox News report about the “confession.”

But the purpose of this post isn’t to rehash his lies, I have another purpose.  I want to suggest some things as food for thought.  Just some musings I have as a dad, reflecting on a few things.  I’m not going to assign blame to anyone, just offer some things to consider.

1. Nothing good happens after 10:00 PM (I’ve told all my kids this).

2. Nothing good happens after 10:00 PM when alcohol is involved (See above).

3. Nothing good happens after 10:00 PM when alcohol is involved where teenagers are gathered (See above).

4. Decisions have consequences.  Yes, Natalie made bad decisions.  It was a bad decision to go out so late at night.  It was a bad decision to go out to the bar.  It was a bad decision to drink alcohol.  It was a bad decision to drink so much alcohol to get drunk.  It was a bad decision to leave the bar with someone she didn’t know.

5. Decisions have consequences.  It was a bad decision for a parent to allow their child to be in a situation where she knew what the potential was for something bad to happen. It was a bad decision for the chapperones to allow the kids to go places where they knew what kind of activity would be taking place.

  Aside: There are three reasons many parents don’t/won’t accompany their children on senior trips.  Reason 1: They don’t want to know what is going on.  Reason 2: They know what will be going on (And want to stay “ignorant.”).  Reason 3: They remember what they did on their own senior trip… and “out of sight out of mind” comes into play.

6. Decisions have consequences.  Put yourself on the beach as Jordan Van der Sloot… who has admitted he knew something was wrong with Natalie… who admitted he didn’t know whether or not she was dead.  Now… what do you do when you KNOW something is wrong. 

  Option 1: Call 911 (Or something similar in Aruba)… summon medical help… admit what was going on (“We were partying after being at the bar & she just started _______ .”)  She may still have died, but you aren’t accused of a murder or accessory to murder.  You deal with the consequences… but you have at least tried to do the right thing even though it comes too late.  It would be tough, but there is an alternative.

  Option 2: Call a friend who has a boat.  Help that friend put Natalie in the boat.  The friend tells you he will dispose of the body (She could have still been alive).  The friend drops her in the ocean for you.  You act as though nothing happened.  Then when you are questioned about Natalie’s disappearance, lie.  Then you get caught confessing and the world knows what you did.  Now you have to deal with a whole different set of conssequences.

  Given those two options… which is the better decision?  And yes… by this time there is plenty of blame and irresponsibility to go around.  Just keep playing my game with me a little while longer.

7. Parents are responsible for their children’s well being, health, and safety.  “Don’t be deceived.  Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33).  Teenagers are not capable of making adult decisions.  They have to be protected from their own stupidity… no matter how angry they get at you or what they say.  You can be their friend when they’re 30… until they are 21 you are their parent!

8. This is tragic event is a cautionary tale for all of us.

  A. Parents: Be more actively involed in training up your children when they are young so that when they are older they will be prepared to make godly decisions.  Talk with them about God.  Model godliness.  Be positive and affirming (Ephesians 6:4).

  B. Parents: Be more involved in your children’s lives.  Be nosey.  Invade their “privacy.”  Go through their drawers, wallets, and purses.  Read their “Facebook” and “My Space” pages.  Read their emails and text messages without their permission.  You decide who their friends are… where they can go… and what they will do.  You are the only one who loves them enough to do the right thing.  Tell them and teach them by example that drinking alcohol and drunkenness is wrong (Along with all other illegal drug use).

  C. Kids: Obey your parents.  This is right and it is a command from God.  Ephesians 6:1-3

What happened in Aruba is tragic.  But all the things that led up to and contributed to what happened in Aruba is also tragic.  However Ms. Holloway died should never have taken place.  The “what if” possibilities abound and will never be answered.  “What if?” could go a thousand different directions.  But there is one “What if?” the reader of this post CAN answer… “What if I take responsibility and do what is right by my child from this point forward?”

No parent should have to go through what the Natalie Holloway’s parents will deal with for the rest of their life.  As a parent myself, I want to do what is right by my children as led by the objective truth of God’s Word and plain common sense.

Just food for thought…