Thursday was a day that made me think about young men.
If you looked at Page A1 of The Madera Tribune on that day, you may have read a story of two 15-year-olds who have been “held to answer” for the death of a 16-year-old boy in a shooting last month. “Held to answer” means there is sufficient evidence against the boys to keep them in jail — unless they make bail — until trial. If they are found guilty, they probably will be sent to prison for as long as they live.
The victim of the crime of which the two boys are suspected will never draw another breath.
Their brief confrontation in a restaurant parking lot on Madera Avenue has led to tragedy for all of them.
Thursday night, however, was to be a happier time for another boy. The Kiwanis Club of Madera was to gather as it does every year to honor its Ken Taylor Boy of the Year — a high school senior whose academic, sports and extracurricular activities have set him apart as a person who likely will be a good citizen in every respect. The club nominates and honors nine Boys of the Month — one each month during the school year — and from them the Boy of the Year is chosen. With the honor comes a $1,000 college scholarship.
The Boy of the Year, too, will be held to answer, but in a different way. He already has met standards and goals, and the expectations for him are high. He will be expected to be a good citizen, a credit to his family, his community, his profession and his country.
The award was named after a man who was all those things, but whose exceptional life was ended by cancer.
All young men should wonder about which paths they should take. They could not have better examples in front of them than were there Thursday: The path of tragedy or the path of happiness and esteem.