I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all, at some point, done something pretty stupid in our lives or made a mistake.
It’s a pretty inescapable part of life. So after it happens, you have two choices: You can learn from that mistake; or you can make it again.
About 80 Sauk Valley youth face that choice now, the result of a party about a week ago in downtown Dixon that saw 40 of them leave with citations for underage drinking.
Trirong Khuntangta, owner of Touch of Thai and Ginkgo Tree Cafe in Dixon, wants to make sure they make the right choice next time. It was his son, Micah Khuntangta, who threw the party in the building Trirong owns.
Since then, a lot of parents have called the elder Khuntangta to yell at him, he said, and he’s heard of others who he thinks have overreacted in the way they’ve treated their children who were there.
The teens made a mistake, he said, and they’ll have to face consequences, but the focus now should be on learning from what happened.
“We just put more stress on the problem,” he said on Monday from the second floor of his building, where the party was held. “We don’t focus on how to fix the problem.”
In the early hours of Saturday, July 5, Dixon police responded to a call about people throwing beer bottles off the building and urinating off the roof. Police later described the party as “large and out of control.”
Khuntangta knew his son was having some friends over and even checked on them, but at the time only about 20 were there and no one was drinking. The party grew after word spread, his son told him later.
Trirong said that, as a parent, he has learned from what happened. He feels bad that it happened and doesn’t make excuses for it, but wants it to be put in perspective.
“You have to make choices in your life; it’s full of choices,” he said. “Sometimes we pick the wrong one. ... Next one, you get another choice. I hope you pick the right one.”
He said he can handle the parents being angry with him, but wants the focus with the teens to be on learning from what happened.
“They’re looking for a chance to get encouragement from the mistake,” he said. “And parents know what to do. We just focus way too much on the mistake.”
Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 815-625-3600, ext. 5529. Follow him on twitter: @MattMencarini.
SVM reporter at Books on First today
Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini will have "office hours" from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Books on First, 202 W. First St.
Feel free to stop by and let him know what's on your mind. Is there a story in Dixon you think should be reported? Stop by to share or just to say hi.