Archive | February, 2012

The Lead-Filled Laptop

10 Feb

Hello reader.  Just a warning before you scroll through the following blog post.

No doubt you have seen the video, where a supposed father reads his daughter’s Facebook post to the camera.  You know the one, where he and his teenage offspring are battling with words, after which the father uses her Facebook page to slam her. Why does this happen?  Supposedly the answer is in her first swearing about her parents and calling them names on her private Facebook page, all because they expect her to do unfair chores.

WARNING:  THIS IS NOT GOING TO APPEASE THOSE WHO THINK THE FATHER IS A HERO! 

Right up front, I think the daughter is a mess and the father is a jackass, and the whole lot is beyond dysfunction.  They are all rebellious and acting juvenile.

Now that that is out-of-the-way, let me move on.

In this blog I intend to address issues which include parenting, bullying, violence and vices, and the differences between teenagers acting like punks and adults acting like teenagers.

I have seen the video in question several times now.  I have read many comments posted by viewers.  Side-takers abound.  The video has gone viral and some are calling the man a hero, and even “father of the year.”  If he is father of the year, then Alec Baldwin is Shirley Temple.

So, with all of this, I thought I would toss my comments into the ring, given the fact that I work with teenagers every day in my profession.  So, here goes.

PARENTING

It does not take a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that there is major conflict in the home of the teenager in question.  I contend that the biological father’s divorce from the daughter’s mother caused a rift some time ago.  But I cannot be certain about this.  I do know that whomever is supposed to be rearing the teenage girl is sorely missing the mark.  There is no respect for either the stepmother or the father, and there is no respect toward the daughter by them, in return.  What has apparently gone on is the purchasing of things to spoil even further a teenager with no respect for the gift-givers.  So, taking violently extreme measures as a parent was felt as the last resort.  This is not heroic.  This is “dangerous.”

The father earns an “F” grade as protector of the family.

OVERKILL

Destroying property, when the Internet was the issue was overkill.  Shooting and “killing” a computer as a point to be made is overkill.  A normal person would have seen a long time ago that taking away the Internet–and the cell phone–and keeping them away–would have been the solution.  Hey dad, who bought the computer for the “spoiled” brat daughter?  You did, dad.  Who was it that allowed a teenager to have a Facebook account in your house?  You did, dad.  Who gave her a smart phone?  You did, dad.

No real parent takes his gun and shoots up the very technology he spent $150 on just a day before.  This action was not the action of a balanced father.  Of course, it is clear the father was acting in anger.  If he is to be believed, then he had threatened to use the gun before and shoot up the computer, t least on another occasion.  Only God knows what else he threatened to destroy with his weapon.

There are good chances that the father is an overkill kind of man, seeking revenge and payback–and all of this upon a teenage girl.  Umm, dad, I have news for you.  Your daughter has friends and you cannot go around shooting up all of their computers now that they have labeled you a sicko!  Anyone can use a weapon, but it takes a man–a REAL man, to admit to his teenager that he is wrong and wants to work things out with her.

PROFANITY

Language being one of your major concerns, pops, I see where your daughter gets her profanity.  You do not strike me as a man who intends to live by what he says.  Rather, you seem to be the “Do as I say, not as I do,” kind of person.  You posted your video critiquing her letter, with both your own profanity and hers, yet you claim she is in the wrong for all of her cursing.  Hey dad, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  Maybe if you put down the cigarette instead of your daughter, once-in-a-while, and have your second wife be a bit more relational and understanding in love, then something might be accomplished in your home.  Stop taking sides and show some love, pops!

Your behavior as an adult and your lack of parenting skills leave me no alternative that to give you the grade of an “F” as the father. 

BULLYING

So, let me get this straight.  The father invades the privacy of his daughter online, just because he was stealthily able to gain access.  Wouldn’t it have been better to sit with her and look her in the eye, while viewing Facebook together?  It seems he was just looking for an opportunity to go nuclear over an issue online, with the full support of the second wife.  Next, the father discovers the posting, prints it out, and reads it on in a video recording.  How did he first come to know that the posting existed on her private page, without invading her online privacy?

Next in the sequence, he takes out a gun and proceeds to pump someone’s computer full of lead.  We really do not know yet whether that was her computer, or a dummy.  But let’s assume it was her computer.  I can see the daughter’s face when she gets a text alert via her cell phone Facebook application.  When she sees the video posted by her father, she goes ballistic.  I bet her friends can’t wait for the next sleepover.  I would like to be a fly on the way in the school principal’s office, the homes of the girl’s friends, and at the police station, once all these entities gain the knowledge and see for themselves how wacko the father truly is.

The daughter can easily post from her friends’ pages, access her homepage from a friend’s computer, or even from her phone.  She can open a new page and continue the disrespect.

  • So, what is the father trying to accomplish?
  • Why shoot the computer?
  • Why the threats earlier about shooting the computer?
  • And what as the reason to act like a 15-year-old and post the video on his daughter’s Facebook page?

I contend the father is a bully and he is a power-monger, which is precisely part of the reason the daughter lashed out online to begin with.  If the father was angry about her lashing out before, just wait until the hormones line up on this new line of exasperation.

At 15, I’d be afraid if my parent shot something given to me, posted it on the Internet for all to see–including ANYONE on my homepage.  I’d be fearful about going home.  Such extreme actions are meant as overkill and an in-your-face act as payback.  Adults who resort to such actions have lost control of themselves and take it out on their rebellious teenagers.

For the act of shooting a computer to make a violent point, and posting his violent act on his teenager’s page–the father is a bully and earns an “F” grade.

USE OF VIOLENCE WITH PROFANITY

I do hope someone checks on the ordinances in the father’s locale to determine whether he violated the law by discharging a weapon.  If he did, it is a crime.  If he has no license for the weapon, then that also is a crime.  Let me ask the reader, what crime did the teenager commit?  None that I can see.  The father was embarrassed, so he played big-man and shoots a computer.  That’s just plain childish.  And he empties all the rounds into the computer, all while making certain to “give one for the mom?”  Juvenile father rearing a teenager is what I see.

For his use of violence and profanity the father earns an “F.”

VICES

Did anyone check to see whether the father had been drinking prior to his immature and dangerous behaviors?  It is obvious that he has at least one vice.  He was so nervous that his buddy, the cigarette, was gripped tightly by his fingers on his right hand.  I would not be surprised if daddy-o has some beer on a table somewhere nearby.  I would also like to know if he has a problem with any other substances, aside from tobacco.  If so, this makes his gun usage ever more concerning.  All I know is that if I was a neighbor and saw a man shooting something in the neighborhood backyard, I’d call the police.  The typical family with teenagers deal with rebellion and disregard of family rules all the time.  I would not be surprised if the daughter smokes, drinks, does some types of drugs, as teens sometimes do.

Given the modeling and poor parenting seen in this video, the father has to accept some of the blame for the way his daughter is turning out, much as I accept some of the blame for the ways my kids turn out.  Parents actually do accept responsibility.

TEENAGERS

I have been working with teenagers for over 25 years.  I won’t provide my resume to bore you.  Suffice to say, my wife and I reared two of our own, each with unique struggles and concerns of their own.  We exacerbated some issues and behaviors, and our teenagers made their own choices to do the same.  All that being said, “relationships” with teens in rebellion are not based in heavy-handedness.  That only pushes them away farther.  Raising teenagers is a real challenge, made even a greater concern by parents just giving their kids things and not modeling he behaviors they expect from them.

Teenagers must respect themselves, their families, and the goods they are given as part of the family.  The old adage is true:  “You really do not appreciate things you are given, unless you have worked for them.”  The daughter is a spoiled brat and does not work.  But how many 15-year-olds work?  She does not do her chores.  So, as an impulse, she decides to overkill on Facebook.  I wonder where she learned to do that?  Although I cannot prove it, I do this is not the first time the father has resorted to extreme measures to try to corral his daughter.  Over time, the truth will come out.

All in all, the father took what the daughter did–and she was wrong in what she did–and made it worse by stepping down to her level.   The teenager acted like a punk and the father acted like a teenager.

This raises a lot of other issues beside family and parenting.  Because of this, I am pleading with the father to put down the cigarettes, take off the cowboy hat, lock up the weapons, and get off his high horse.  You all need serious counseling.  Bring the mother and step-mother with you, if they can stop fighting long enough to see the needs of the teenager.  Heaven help them if there are more teenagers to follow.  I just hope this family does no become a statistic, all while side-taking people applaud the father and encourage the daughter.

Enjoying People

4 Feb

There is an old saying which I have found quite accurate, although often a bit bumper-sticker-like and too dichotomous for my liking.  But it reads something like this.  “There are two types of people in this world, those who like working with people, and those who don’t.”  Have you ever heard this phrase?

It seems that my youth was marked by dichotomous axioms such as these, as was my parents before me.  Somewhere along the line I began to challenge the black-and-white nature of my parent’s philosophy with certain fundamental differences I ascertained along the way.  Apparently, to some, where they seem black-and-white, I tend to see color.   Maybe this blog comprises the strokes of your life’s canvas as well.  If so, you are probably a Baby Boom child.

 “There are two types of people in this world, those who like working with people, and those who don’t.”

All criticism aside, there is some truth to the people and work axiom stated above.  There are times when I step back and wonder whether it is a personality issue, or a focus issue that keeps people from experiencing more than a business-like relationship.  Aside from the grumpy and coarse personalities of the world, I wonder, at times, whether some people are just wired to see “everything” as an issue, or a “thing,” as opposed to beyond the tangible to the human elements.  I wonder also, “Are some people unable to find the joy in working with others, or are they just unwilling to do so?”  Maybe it is both; maybe neither.  I think there is a lot that goes on within our brains that is yet not understood.

But this I do know to be true:  There is joy in Mudville, for some, whether or not Casey strikes out.  And here is why!

Life is not a game, although some refer to life in this way.  People are not just clients, or networks.  Yet, how many of us miss out on some much more when we see humans as things.  Making money off professional connections, or for clients, is quite shallow and feeds the notion that making money produces all the depths of emotions required in human-to-human relationships.  I guess if “things” are a person’s focus, then such is life for those folks.  But joy is not found in treating life as things contracted, bought or sold, or the conclusion of a contract.

Recently, the Komen Foundation bowed to political pressure and restored funds to the abortion providers Planned Parenthood.  I mention this because their philosophy is to provide women abortions, in claiming that fetal life is secondary to an already born human.  There can be no joy associated with abortion, even under the guise of breast exams.  Human beings are not things to be disposed of by a choice.  We coin terms for this kind of approach, and I think you’ve heard most of them already.

Each day I thank God for the people in my life.  At work, I do not know of any of my colleagues who dread their work.  At church the people express joy for others and value each life for its own at every level.  Those who know me from days of coaching and playing athletics found in me a fierce competitor, yet protective of the lives that entrusted their “lives” to my leadership.  I am not ashamed to admit it:  “I am a people person.”

People like me do not often have serious riches amassed, for we see needs and try to meet them.  People-lovers tend to find each other through smiles and eye-contact, hugs, and sincere handshakes.  Like-attract-like.  Truthfully, those who are a bit gregarious tend to gather momentum as a unit and the fun begins.  I have heard some comments like, “I wish I could sit in a cubicle for today and just spend quiet time.”  There is a down-side to being what we all call “people-oriented.”  The down-side is physical and mental exhaustion.

There are times when the mind and soul–as well as the body–need time and space to recharge.  But after being recharged, we go back at life and, as the Sandals commercial implore, “We do it all again!”

The joy of being with people, whether at work, or anywhere, is such a kick!  My wife recently said that when I walk into a room that it does not take long for me to have greeted everyone around me.  I just love being with people.  I am not alone.  Most of my friends online are the same.  I think this is just the way God made us.  We are all meant to discover the basic elements of happiness over things and the deeper elements of joy with people.

A word of caution to the gregariously natured reader.  A very dangerous trend can be found in using this tremendous tool for communication, called the Internet.  We sit here and type words and read things others have written, like this blog, and  sometimes never have truly know the “real” person on the other end.  That has both good and bad written implications.  But make no mistake about it.  I am very happy to have friends online.  But from within this happiness springs joy, when I know people in real contexts day-in-and-day-out.

I guess what I am saying in all of this is that I am wired for joy, and joy comes from people and not from material things.  No apologies here!  This is why I teach.  This is also why I serve others in need.  Some do not like that my joy extends to the womb on behalf of the losses of people to future generations.  But that’s the way I am wired:  I see people when others see things.

When it is all said and done, I do not know anyone who would ever say, “My goodness, that abortion provider sure made a difference in my life and in the life of my family.”  Unless, now, that difference is meant as an answer in a mathematical sense.

I love being with people–the more, the merrier.  If I am obnoxious to your personality, it’s all right.  You’ll get over it.  <smiles>

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