Raising Humans: RIP Chris Henry

Alan ShimelCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2009

BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 11:  Chris Henry #15 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs a pattern downfield against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Bengals defeated the Ravens 17-14. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Ask anyone who has done it and they will tell you. Raising children to become decent humans is probably the biggest job you are ever going to have. It is a constant struggle, especially with boys. Explaining why you do have to take a shower every night, brush your teeth and comb your hair gets tired after a while. The fascination with bodily functions and why it is not polite to speak about them in front of others is another fun topic. Being respectful and sensitive to others doesn't come natural either. Oh, by the way add doing well in school and developing emotionally and socially as something else parents have to watch and help with.  I have so much more appreciation now for anyone who has accomplished this and the utmost respect for those whose children have turned out well.  For me it is a constant struggle. I want my kids to grow up and be good humans.

Every once in a while though they do or show me something that makes me think my wife and I are doing something right. It could be just dumb luck, but now and then you see a shimmer of what a diamond in the rough may be lurking underneath it all. I had one of those moments tonight. 

In spite of my best efforts, both of my boys are big Peyton Manning fans. The Colts were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars tonight and my oldest son Landon, 10 years old and I watched the beginning of the game together on the NFL Network (they need better announcers on that network by the way).  Prior to the beginning of the game they made an announcement that out of respect regarding the tragic death of wide receiver Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals today, they were going to observe a moment of silence. My son sitting at home watching TV turned, looked at me and said, “Dad come on we have to stand up”.  I stood up with him and watched as he put his hand over his heart and closed his eyes. I could see him really thinking to himself about what a terrible thing this was to happen. He really looked very sad. At the end of the moment he looked at me and said “Dad he was only 26 years old. What a tragedy.” Landon doesn’t know Chris Henry. We are not Bengals fans. We really had no connection to Chris Henry before today. But the loss of a young life. The loss of an athlete was felt by my young son. He was dealing with it in an adult and human way.

I grabbed Landon and gave him a big hug. I told him yes it was a tragedy. I also told him how proud I was of him and what a great young man he was growing up to be.  Moments like those make me think in spite of everything, we are doing something right in raising these kids. They will be great humans!

RIP Chris Henry.