Last updated: June 23. 2014 2:50PM - 425 Views
By Scott Ballard District Attorney

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One day this week some of us at the house were watching a show on TV. One of the characters was granted a single wish and he struggled to pack as much of what he wanted into one request.

Of course, it made me reflect on what my choice would be.

It was near Father’s Day. Every year—and throughout the year, actually—I’m thankful for my Dad. I’m sure you are, too. The statistics concerning the impact a father has in our lives are compelling. I’ve mentioned them before. Fatherless children are five times more likely to commit suicide, 32 times more likely to be runaways, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to become addicted to drugs, and 20 times more likely to go to prison.

So we could all wish for more people to have involved, loving fathers as role models.

Or, we could consider the impact of drugs on our world. I told a group this week that easily 60 to 70 percent of our court calendars are drug crimes. And a huge portion of the rest involve drugs—people fighting over drug deals gone bad or because they are under the influence, people stealing so they can afford their addiction, etc.

So, we could wish to wipe out drug abuse.

As we watched the show, I turned to my left to ask Melanie what her wish would be.

Melanie is our 25-year-old daughter. She has benefitted from the Special Education provided by the Fayette County school system through the years. But, she still deals with handicaps. She has dreams like you and I do. I thought she might tell me she would wish for a driver’s license. The chance to go to college. A computer gadget. Or a trip that she has told me is on her “bucket list.”

Without hesitation she replied, “I’d want Paul to get better.”

Paul is her 18-year-old brother. And he has autism.

She has always adored Paul.When she was little, she wanted one of those plastic, multi-colored slinkies that were popular then. I found one and, of course, had to open it up and try it out before I got home.

Somehow it got all tangled up and nothing I did made it any better. Soon it was a knotted up mess. The only way I could untangle it was to cut it in half.

When I got home, Melanie met me at the door. She was excited to see if I had found a slinkie for her. How was I going to tell her that I had already ruined it?

I bit the bullet. “Mellie, I found one, but I tangled it up and had to cut it in half.”

Her eyes brightened and she flashed a big smile.

“Great!” she said. “Now I can give half of it to Paul!”

I think I’m ready to make my wish.

I wish we could all be a little more like Melanie.

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