Thoughts on the Peterson story

It would make sense that a football fan and a writer of a blog about fatherhood would comments on the Adrian Peterson child abuse story. First I would let to say that neither African Americans nor Southerners have exclusive rights to physical discipline. My northern white father gave me some beat downs that could compare to any of theirs, he just used a paddle, not a switch. However, like many of those who have commented on this story I’m not here to give my “I got hit and it made me the person I am” story. I’m not also getting into the corporal punishment argument and debating if it is right or wrong. I will say for full disclosure I have spanked my kids but nothing even close to ferocity or frequency in which I received them.

I’m not also going to judge my father’s use of corporal punishment and I hold no ill will towards him for using it. Did I turn out to be the person I am because of it? I’m not sure. I may have turned out the same with another form of punishment but I would not have turned out the same without coming from a strict house who instilled having respect for authority.

What I will say is that there is a difference between corporal punishment and out and out abuse. Below is abuse, there are no two ways about it.

Adrien-Peterson-sons-injuries adrian-peterson-son-injuries-2

When you hit your and leave welts and admit you can’t even remember how many times you hit your child, it is not love. To me that is not someone punishing out of love, but instead they are taking out their frustrations on a child. I don’t believe Adrian Peterson is trying to make his child a better person but instead is insisting on their fear and respect.

What makes everything worse is that Peterson had previously lost a child to child abuse. A man who lives with one of the woman Peterson had a child with beat that child into a coma. That child would eventually die. We have found out Peterson didn’t know about the child for a time and wasn’t really involved in the child’s life but you would think it would be a wake up call. You would think that while grabbing the switch he would think of his dead two year old son. No matter how close or involved he was with that child, he was still his flesh and blood and you would hope it would have had an effect on him.

To try and excuse his behavior by claiming “That is how I was raised” is not valid. Ignorance does not excuse you from the law. Just because that behavior was part of the environment you grew up in doesn’t mean you should continue it. This country would have not made any strides in civil rights or socially if it held to that reasoning. Hell the human race wouldn’t have made any strides if it held to that mantra. I think Chris Carter made a very eloquent and passionate response to that argument.

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A new school year

Last Thursday my daughter’s went back to school. I know many of you who are reading this will think “wow my kids went back to school weeks ago,” which I have to tell you I have a problem with. When I was a kid we never went back to school before September and honestly if you do it’s Un-American. You should write your congressmen immediately if you do not start school in September and end in June. It is just the way it is and always should be.

But I digress……..

Having my girls go back to school naturally makes me think of those times when I was a kid. My girls are a lot different than I was. While they got excited and couldn’t wait for the new school year I dreaded it. I mean physically dreaded it, I remember starting to get sad in August because I know summer break only had a month or so to go. The week before school started was absolutely the worse, I would stay up late at night because I knew next week I would have to go to bed early.

It wasn’t even that the summer meant vacation and visiting my relatives, I loved all that but I just really, really hated school. Honestly it wasn’t until I went to college that I actually enjoyed going to school and learning. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the fact in college I could actually choose classes that interested me. This isn’t the type of attitude I would suggest, my hatred of school made me a horrible student which ironically lead to me having to go to summer school after my Freshmen and Sophomore years.

I really envy my girls love of school and wish I had it. Most will think while reading this that at a young age I must have loved school, because most kids do initially and then eventually develop their loathing. But I can honestly and truly say I never, ever liked school. My girls never had to endure the sadness I had to as the summer wound down.

One thing that contributes to the girls looking forward to school is that it gives them a break from each other. To paraphrase my youngest Olivia when during one moment of frustration with her sisters “We are spending too much time together.” During the summer the girls are around each other all day, they don’t have that break from each other that school provides. Siblings will normally wear on each other, during the summer it is even worse and intensified.

There is something still a bit sad about the beginning of the school year. It means my girls are getting old. Julia is in 5th grade, Mia 3rd and Olivia Kindergarten. Sure birthdays mark their age, but them advancing to another grade reminds me that my time with them is really short. There will be a September one day when Julia and Mia will be in college and Olivia will be at the end of her high school years. It seems like even as I get older I still hate the new school year.