When their daughter left for a year abroad in Italy, I’m sure Amanda Knox’s parents thought she was headed off on the chance and adventure of a lifetime. I’m sure they never dreamed it would turn into the nightmare it became.
We are all parents trying to do the best for our children: give them ample educational and cultural opportunities, teach them wisely about the wider world and what awaits when they step into it on their own without us, and—most importantly—hopefully equip them with the tools of good judgment.
Hopefully, they find themselves in situations that are always safe and not morally perilous.
Hopefully they associate with people who are good, decent and will further their quest for experience and learning, and who will not put them in danger. Hopefully they will always choose wisely themselves.
My own children are much younger than Amanda Knox, but that doesn’t mean the preparation their father and I try to give them to learn independence safely hasn’t already begun.
It started from moment one in their young lives already. There’s nothing to be afraid of in the dark, there’s no such thing as the boogeyman… you’ll be fine getting on the school bus, I can’t wait to hear all about your day at school—the one you spent away from me.
It’s an unwritten pact we make from the moment they’re born: I’ll do everything I can to protect you, child; put your faith in me. But do we consider the faith we put in them in return? Have we done our best to prepare them for the split second choices when they stand at the precipice of the point of no return?
We live in a greater community well-known for its high level of pressure to accomplish, achieve and acquire. There is affluence here that surrounds even those who don’t have it, and the competition to outshine can be fierce. With that privilege, sometimes the weight of the pressures on both the adults and children alike are too strong to bear.
We’ve all heard stories of parents who make ambiguous moral choices—like deciding to serve alcohol at a minor child’s party, for instance. I’ve heard parents say, “I know my children drink at parties; we did when
we were younger too.”
We ask ourselves a hundred times a day: “What would I do in this or that situation?” How do we teach our children how to come up with the right answers themselves, let alone learn how to ask the question in the first place as well.
The Amanda Knox story is one filled with ambiguities and distortions and tales. While her guilt conviction was overturned and the evidence was murky and discredited, there was still enough circumstantial evidence to say she’d made plenty of poor choices leading up to the events in question that allowed her to be portrayed as that “Foxy Knoxy” caricature. Things happened.
Does it seem Amanda Knox made some poor choices in her decisions? Perhaps. Did she commit murder?
A court says no. But something happened to result in the nightmare that exploded for her and her parents.
Could you imagine being on the receiving end of that transatlantic phone call?
Life is a sequence of millions of events over many years, and each one can change the course of the future.
Hopefully, we’re making the right choices with each one so that the outcome will be a life of happiness and safety. Because, as Amanda Knox and her parents have learned, that can all change in an instant.