Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore "Mom of the Year"?

I know I'm the exception...
I don't think so.

I know you've seen images from the protests in Baltimore,
probably even the 'live' footage;
I mean, how could you get away with not seeing it?
it's 'viral'.
 A woman, grabbing her 16 yr old hooded and masked son
right off the riot lines;
screaming at him to get his ass home
and then hitting him multiple times in his head.

I've heard her interviewed.
I've even identified with her story. 
As a single mother who has raised teenage sons myself,
 I totally support her imposing her parenting rules on her son.

He's her only son.

She, along with all the other black moms in our country,
 know the dangers waiting for
their male children
in our culture;
she worries for her son
in ways I could never imagine
having to worry for my boys.

She had forbidden him to be at the protests.
She had warned him about the dangers of mob action
 and told him that's not the way to respect the memory
of a young man killed while in police custody.

She was at a doctors appointment 
when she realized he had disobeyed her.
So she left
when she realized he was putting himself directly in harms way,
when she saw him with a rock in his hand, 
ready to confront police full on- 
she reacted "in the only way she knew how".

I agree with the Police Chief of Baltimore
 that if more parents in the African American community were actively involved
in their children's lives,
the current climate would be markedly different.

But this morning,
she admitted 
on the CBS Morning Show 
that this isn't the first time
she's 'disciplined him like that'...

and that's exactly the problem.

Instead of using just words,
instead of using her physical presence, 
grabbing him by the scruff of his neck
and getting him to safety,

she hit him -
multiple times - 
in his head.

She struck out 'instinctively' 
and repeatedly 
in anger, 
while losing control.

Which is, by her own description,
 her parenting 'style' - 

which cumulatively over the years
only teaches kids that when you're angry and frustrated
it's OK to strike out;
it's OK to inflict damage on others
when you don't know what else to do...

which is exactly what the protesters and rioters are doing
 in mob actions
in our country.

They're reacting with the limited skills they've been taught
because no one has ever shown them
or exhibited
critical thinking;
no one has demonstrated the power
or effectiveness
of thinking problems through,
formulating responses,
using your words
and changing your behavior
to work with others
 toward the solutions you want.

They hit instead
and keep hitting
because it's 'instinctive',
it's what they know
and it's what they've been taught
and how they've been treated
by people who love them 
for generations.

And it needs to be stopped.

Our culture is awash in violence;
and until it changes on the micro-level in our homes,
it will never change in our society at large.

So, while I'm glad this mom has her son safe at home,
for now,
let's PLEASE not hold her up
as Mother as the Year!

She's not.
Loving mothers don't use their kids heads as punching bags -
no matter how much they're provoked.

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