Monday, June 25, 2007

Who Really Threw Windy Hager's Life Away?

"She could have done anything," says the mother of a sixteen year old high school student who has just married her track coach. "She could have set the world on fire. She threw it all away."

Windy Hager's mom may be right in saying that the young girl has thrown her life away. But if that's the case, Windy appears to have had help. When her parents had the chance and the responsibility to draw a line in the sand, they didn't do it. Instead, they signed the consent form allowing their daughter to marry a man two-and-a-half times her age. In my eyes, that makes them accomplices to Windy throwing her life away!

The relationship between Windy and her coach, Brenton Wuchae, had troubled Dennis and Betty Hager for several years. But attempts made by the parents to put an end to the illegal and clearly immoral relationship were unsuccessful.

Instead of redoubling their efforts to bring their daughter to her senses or protect her from a predatory coach though, the parents just gave up. Dennis explains pathetically: "Signing those consent forms was the hardest thing I did in my whole life, but we had to move on, it was going to kill us all."

That explanation is suspiciously similar to ones given by the parents of kids who've fallen into drug addiction, who say, "It was just too painful to see him or her going through DTs. So, I gave him or her the money to buy their drugs."

Or, "We decided to let her or him have the party with alcohol here rather than at someone else's house."

Or, "All the other sixteen year olds were going to Florida for spring break. We think it's wrong. But we can't let our kid be the only one stuck at home."

In each of these instances, as in the case of Dennis and Betty Hager, parents abdicate their jobs as parents. They willingly subject their children to risk, danger, heartache, and pain because they don't want to deal with ongoing confrontations or anger from their children. They exchange their kids' well-being for freedom from parental responsibility.

The Hagers may think that they've consented to their daughter's marriage out of love. Or maybe they think that by acquiescing to Windy's desire to marry Wuchae, they're removing a bone of contention between them and that they can now have a positive relationship with their daughter. If either of these thoughts informed their decision, they were being shortsighted.

As I see it, expressions of parental love come in two forms:
The latter expression of love is one which many parents seem loathe to perform these days. They shy away from saying, "No," to their children.

Yet, parents who truly love their children will say, "No" to destructive desires or habits of their kids.
  • "No, you can't have a second candy bar."
  • "No, you can't stay up until eleven o'clock on a school night."
  • "No, you can't have beer at the party."
  • "No, you can't go to Florida just because all the other parents at school are silly enough to permit their children to do so."
Apart from acquainting kids with the fact that life doesn't always go our ways, saying "No" in these and other circumstances demonstrates love for children, even if the kids never see it that way.

By most measures, a teen under the age of eighteen is a minor and still very much an adolescent. Dazzled by the promises of adult freedom so within their reach and twitterpated by hormones, adolescents are prone to making lousy choices, which loving parents must prevent them from making, if possible.

Parents who accede to their teens' irrational requests--such as wanting to marry someone twenty-four years older than them, whether to avoid conflict, to gain poplualrity, or because of a perverted notion of what love is all about, are really throwing their kids' lives over a cliff. And it's a shame!

[THANKS TO: The Big Lead for alerting me to this story.]


ElizabethMThompson said...

Wow Mark,

At sixteen most kids have no idea what they are getting themselves into and lack the maturity to even commit to more than a summer job. They are not ready for marriage. Windy also may find this man's age a plus at 16, but when she is 30 or 40 and he is really old, she will likely be turned off by his age and the physical limitations that come with it.

The fact that Mom and Dad have no influence on Windy is a serious concern as well.



Anonymous said...

Oh my God, what were those parents thinking? At the very LEAST, that girl could have waited until she's 18 to make a decision about this. And that would be the prudent move even if her intended was also 18, not a wildly inappropriate 40! If it got to the point where he asked her to marry him when she was 16, but their close relationship had been going on for several years, WHY on earth was this pedophile not booted from the school or put in jail? Even if there's no sexual activity, in my book a 38-year-old guy who is romantically interested in a 14-year-old reveals some extremely serious issues. I try to avoid judging other parents, and I do feel for them, but that couple is NUTS to agree to this.

Mark Daniels said...

Elizabeth and Danny:
I agree with both of you.

I am mystified that the parents didn't get a restraining order on this guy two years ago. Or, why they didn't attempt to get some investigation on pedophilia going.

There are many villains in this situation. But I can't understand how parents can abdicate their responsibilities in this way.


TMink said...

Absolute insanity. Children are feral, it is up to their parents to socialize them. This involves discipline and prayer. Without either, things go very wrong. It seems like the parents are trying to slip their responsibility for the situation while having literally signed off on it. They are not the victims here. Not at all.