Yesterday when I turned on the news, one of the first items that I heard was that David Carradine had been found hanged in a hotel room. I also read last night that all signs are pointing to suicide as the cause of death although that fact has not been confirmed. I was fairly stunned not because I at all know David Carradine or anything personal about his private life, but because I remember so well the hit T.V. series, Kung Fu. As a kid, it probably would not have been my first choice of programs to watch, but being the younger sister of five older brothers basically meant that I would be watching Kung Fu each week simply because the majority ruled in my house growing up.

 

     I have to admit that I found myself mesmerized by the show. The story line was of a man traveling around with many adventures, challenges and experiences. This man was raised in a monastery from the time that he was a little boy and throughout every episode, a great deal of the show would be flashbacks to the time in the monastery and all that the man learned there when he was a boy. There was much physical and mental training in the martial arts, in the way that the boy thought, self discipline and supposedly many life lessons as well were learned there. The introduction of the show each week showed how the little boy, standing in front of his master teacher as he attempted to grab some pebbles out of the master’s hand but was too slow to do so. The master told him that he would be ready to leave the monastery only when he was quick enough to grab the pebbles before the master closed his hand, and that day surely arrived. At that time, the man, played by David Carradine left and began his quest and journey through life. During the weekly flashbacks to when he was a boy, the viewers learned that his name was “Grasshopper” and that it was given to him by the master. Throughout each show, there was a main moral, or life lesson if you will that was intended to convey wisdom and answers to all of life’s problems and questions. The young impressionable viewer definitely walked away from the show with a feeling of awe and the sense that the monastery and the master teacher certainly seemed to hold all of the answers to everything…to why we are here, how to solve every problem and dilemma, and just how to think in general. The background music had a hypnotic, zen-like eastern feel and flow to it and I can just remember as a young person thinking that Grasshopper had it all figured out, that he simply had all the answers to the big questions in life. As I said, since Grasshopper was played by David Carradine, all youngsters everywhere who loved the show, probably felt like I did which was that David Carradine himself, had all the answers as well. I just remember that every time I saw David Carradine playing any character or any role even long after the series ended, that I had a certain feeling about him because I associated him with the show Kung Fu. Every time I looked at him, I thought about his amazing discipline, control and composure that was so much a part of his character as Grasshopper and I am sure that many other viewers had the same mental picture and opinion of him as I.


    Because of this aura that David Carradine had , I am almost embarrassed to admit that I  was actually sort of shocked to learn that he allegedly hung himself yesterday, thus ending his life. As an adult even now, I was confusing this serene, disciplined ,in control character of the highly trained Kung Fu expert with the real life man himself and thus , I could almost not comprehend that someone who played a role of such mental order and discipline on the show could also be an individual who in real life is so confused and out of control that he would take his own life. 
 

    
Since I learned of that news yesterday, I have read more about his personal life which apparently was riddled on and off for years with heavy drug use to include heroin, cocaine and other abusive and damaging substances. I read also yesterday that David Carradine was once quoted as saying that he wanted to kill himself when he was just five years old. I found that to be quite disturbing and baffling yet I read two different and reputable sources who were reporting that fact yesterday. My heart goes out to David Carradine’s friends and family who surely loved this man very much and I offer them my sincere condolences. However, I cannot help but also share the continual nagging thought that was tugging at me all day long yesterday as well. What I realized was how often young minds are completely misled and then convinced that something is wise and true when it is so far from both that it is staggering. I was lured into that show, Kung Fu because I was young and impressionable and then also made the wrong connection that David Carradine himself was a person who not only had it all together, but was a person at peace with himself and the world. How wrong and very far off base my conclusions were! All I kept thinking about was if I as an adult, can subtly fall into a totally false view and assessment of someone simply because I had been so mesmerized by a television show years earlier that depicted that individual in a certain role, then how careful we must be as parents and as grandparents in guarding what our children and grandchildren watch!  

    As a Christian, my beliefs run completely contrary to much of the Eastern belief system that was the thread and fabric of that show yet because of being literally hooked on the show as a youngster, I have always had a fondness for it instead of always recognizing the dangers of its philosophy. I am just saying that it is so very important to protect the minds and hearts of those whom God has entrusted us to be the guardians over. I have even read just this morning some conversation by some young men in their late teens and early twenties on some of the social networking sites that reveals that they are devastated over the alleged suicide of David Carradine. Some of these guys are so crushed by the news of it that they are in denial and are saying that they think that his apparent suicide was staged and that it was actually a murder. I am not qualified to know or state how it was that Carradine died, but I find it interesting that these young guys are so devoted, so dedicated to this man because of the character that he played in this show, that they cannot even allow their minds to entertain the possibility that this man was a confused, unsettled, individual. They do not want to even consider the possibility that he was not only not strong but quite possibly the weak and desperate man that he evidently was. 

    We need to pray for David Carradine’s loved ones who are hurting presently but we also need to think hard about how impressionable young minds really are. They can easily be so enamored with a character or a personality that it is literally years before they understand how wrong their view and thinking has been. This man’s death is certainly tragic and sad, but let’s let this be a tradedy that we can learn something from. The lesson is to be prudent, thoughtful and diligent to protect the minds and hearts of the youngsters in our lives who we love so much. They are tender and impressionable and can jump quickly to wrong conclusions. It is too late for David Carradine, but not for them….a sobering thought, but not a wasted one if we utilize it. If we do, then they can hopefully have a better chance of truly having a life of peace and contentment, not just a false mirage of one…it’s something to think about.