How Parenting Taught me that Fact is Usually Better than Assumption (Even Though It is Easier to Think the Worst of a Teenager)

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday January 26, 2014, a young male by the name of Xavier Mansour was involved in a car accident in Barbados.  He died at the hospital some time later.  Here is a little of what we learnt as news of his death moved across the face of our little island via social media. 

Facts …

  • Name: Xavier Mansour
  • Deceased: casualty of a vehicular accident around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday January 26, 2014
  • Age: 17
  • Occupation: Student, Queen’s College
  • Other: Son, brother, friend, caring, well-loved

 …vs. Assumptions (not mine) which were overheard

  • Name: wealthy middle class boy, spoilt by overly-benevolent parents
  • Deceased: Driver of fast expensive vehicle
  • Occupation: Loves to have a good time partying and hanging out
  • Other: Was probably speeding under the influence at the time of the accident

Beware: Some Facts can be Assumptions in Disguise!

They say time heals … unfortunately this is one of those ‘funny-strange’ facts because the grief you feel deep in your stomach after the loss of a loved one can stretch out into infinity.  Yet the longer we live the more we see that it’s easier for people to sit back and judge facts based on assumptions instead of ascertaining the truth.

What people need to understand:

  1. With a teenager anything is possible, even the impossible.
  2. The answer to the question is not always the logical obvious one.
  3. The situation is never ever as it seems.
  4. You will be proven wrong when and wherever possible – because as the saying goes, ‘ass-umptions’ can make an ass out of you and me. 
  5. Your family name does not automatically make you intelligent, rich, provide you with a flashy vehicle or make you an obnoxious teenager who loves to mix drinking with driving.  Even Justin Bieber had to work for his money.
  6. It is easier to think the worst of a teenager instead of remembering how we adults behaved when we were the same age (this is an interesting post written after a 14-year old boy committed suicide).  
  7. By extension, we need to hold on to our faith in bringing up our children the right way (with God’s help!), and acknowledging them (and their friends) for what they truly are: amazing adults-in-training with lots of untapped potential for greatness.
  8. Statistics are irrelevant (e.g. in all cases, 90% of children of wealthy parents die young as a result of careless driving in expensive fast cars) because there is always the 1 in 10000 to consider that suggests otherwise.  It follows then that we should try to stick to the facts as much as possible – especially whenever a teenager is involved.

My Facts

  • I am a parent of a 16-year old teenager who is now learning to drive.  I have no other children.
  • My son is a responsible, considerate person – well, that would be except for those times when he displays lazy, childish, whining behavior.
  • To my knowledge he is not involved in drugs nor does he drink (and he knows if he indulged it would become my knowledge and the “after-facts” wouldn’t be pretty so why risk certain death?).
  • Maybe he will ‘try a ting’ and attempt some fast driving after he becomes a licensed driver and is out on his own trying to impress his girlfriend … I don’t know because I can’t see into the future.

A Word of Advice

But are you a mother or a father?  Do you play the role of guardian in a young life?  Are you prone to making judgmental assumptions about other parents or children?  Yes, of course; we all do sometimes.  But maybe I can offer another suggestion.  Instead of making that assumption, try asking these questions instead: “Assuming it was me (or my child), what would I do/say or how would I react?  What would be the real situation vs. what others may say or think looking on from the outside?  Do my personal answers match the assumptions I am making about “X” or “Y”?”   

The assumptions about Xavier were made by people who did not know or care about the facts.  But Xavier’s friends and family knew him, cared about him, and supported what he stood for.  His mother loved him for the 17 years he was with her and the 9 months she carried him before he was born (how do you measure that kind of loss?  Click here to read more on that).  I didn’t know him personally but I was told he was a nice, hard-working, considerate, super cool kind of guy; he will be sorely missed.   

All parents usually find themselves sitting in the same canoe, with oars splashing water everywhere as we struggle to stay afloat while white water rafting down the river of life.  It’s especially for this reason that we can empathise and feel the pain of another parent, especially a mother, who has lost a son so young; because it could have been our son or daughter too.

My simple wish therefore is that the light he shone on earth while he was with us will brighten the sky like the wonderful rainbows we enjoy after a heavy rain.  RIP Xavier.  You are gone but you will not be forgotten.


Double Rainbow in Barbados | Photo  by Gale E
Double Rainbow in Barbados | Photo by Gale E


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Barbadian mother and lover of laughter; story teller and best-selling author; happy to follow God's lead and to live my mantra: "you've gotta be a rainbow in the lives of others when it rains."

6 thoughts on “How Parenting Taught me that Fact is Usually Better than Assumption (Even Though It is Easier to Think the Worst of a Teenager)”

  1. This post has definitely helped me reevaluate how I judge people on face-value without a second-thought on what the real facts may be. Thanks for posting this as it has left me with a lot to think about.


  2. I am a friend of Xavier, he wasn’t spoilt in the least, he worked for his own money, sure he had a car but many QC children are allowed to drive. He was the most respectful guy, who was considerate, we all love to hang out we are teenagers, but he was so well raised, when it comes to character and moral judgement he is better than me even though he had the “class” I will miss him, and every constant nice word we say about him, we say because its true, RIP Xave, sail on.


    1. I want to thank you first of all for writing this note about your friend. Sometimes we are so quick to believe the negative rather than try to find the positive. He seemed like a wonderful person and I can’t begin to think what his mother must be going through. Keep his light shining and his memory strong; thanks again for writing; he was lucky to have you as a true friend. Be blessed!


  3. Hey, by the way your “assumptions” are not called for. Xavier is no spoilt kid and he didn’t drive an expensive car. And how do you know he was drinking, did you get the autopsy.


    1. Glad you agree that assumptions are not called for and this was the point of my post. The assumptions noted were not mine as I explained, but were comments actually made in conversation with other adults – which was quite sad really especially since none of them knew Xavier personally. All that matters is that he lost his life tragically and will be terribly missed by his friends and even moreso by his family; assumptions are not called for.


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