Usually, when Kansas City encounters ‘winter weather’, I encourage Teen Mentors to remind their teenagers of snowy-driving precautions: Leave early, drive slowly, leave no cell phones on, drive on main roads, be wary of on/off ramps and overpasses/bridges, and finally let the defroster work and melt ANY visual distractions off of the car before trying to drive it. However, today, February 21, 2013, my advice is completely different: Teen Mentors and Teens, stay home!
Kansas City Mayor, Sly James, has declared a State of Emergency for Kansas City, MO. Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, declared a State of Emergency for the entire state of Missouri, and Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, has declared a State of Emergency for the entire state of Kansas. Clearly, to describe driving conditions as ‘unfavorable’ is so far the Understatement of the Year. Most communities in the Kansas City area have accumulated at least 7-11 inches as of 11:45 a.m. CST. The snow has not yet stopped, but we will get a break between noon and 4:00 p.m., but then a second round of heavy snow will begin again (www.KSHB.com ).
Add to that information the reality that most drivers do not know how to drive in such intensely snowy conditions, and the KC SCOUT highway cameras showing less than a tenth of a mile of visibility, those who have tried to drive somewhere are finding themselves stranded on highways, off/on ramps and side streets. Even worse, some people who have gotten their cars stuck on the highways are getting OUT of their cars in order to try and get help, get unstuck or some other unknown reason. This is ridiculously dangerous and has a much bigger chance of creating accidents, injuries and possible fatalities. Teens are already inexperienced drivers; they do NOT need to be behind the wheel of a car at all.
If your teenagers feel an intense need to go somewhere, even with the most valid of reasons, help them figure out a way to take care of their situation from home. Because of our access to technology and social media, keep your kiddos at home but allow them to use their cell phones, tablets, Internet, email, Facebook or any other legitimate resources to communicate with their study buddies, email a teacher, turn in an assignment or find information for an assignment.
For your most stubborn of teenagers (and I write of what I know, having been one myself), this is an ideal teachable moment: Sometimes, Mother Nature will dictate limitations, and no matter how hard you try to overcome those challenges, there are times when teens need to learn to give themselves a bit of grace and instead give them a chance to perceive this predicament as an opportunity to slow down, appreciate the resources they have inside their own homes, and maybe find their inner-child-like spirits and just go outside to play in the snow!