As I was putting my boys in the car yesterday, one of them said he wanted to sit in the seat without the car seat. Of course, I said no, and then I almost said, “It’s against the law,” but something stopped me. Instead, I told him that the car seat was the safest place for him to sit.
I felt the need to make the distinction because I haven’t forgotten that Joey refused to wear a seat belt. I understood his reasoning. I get that he didn’t think the government should tell him how to protect himself. I actually agree, but if the government made it illegal to jump off a bridge, jumping to my death is probably not the smartest form of protest.
My point is that even though I completely disagree with the right of the government to require me to wear a seat belt and put my children in car seats, I still do it. I do it because I love my children. I do it because I love my husband and my parents. I do it because they love me.
And if I could go back and say just one thing to my brother, it would be, “DON’T wear a seat belt because it’s the law; DO wear it because I love you.”
I’ll never know if wearing a seat belt would have saved Joey’s life on that horrible night of June 24th. And I can’t go back, but I can make the right choices when I’m behind the wheel and teach my kids to do the same. But I want to always recognize WHY we make good choices. Not out of fear of legal consequences but because we have been entrusted with the gift of life, and we should do all in OUR power to protect it.
Please note: I do not blame Joey for getting killed by a reckless, possibly intoxicated driver. If that dude had stayed home or let someone else drive, my seatbelt-less brother would still be alive. He is to blame, not Joey.