A Message to Dads: “We Can’t Go There”
I want to have a conversation with you about a lesson we need to teach our sons.
To do so, we must begin by being honest with ourselves, okay?
We have all lost it before. Can we admit that?
I am talking about times in our past where we’ve gotten way too reactive to someone or to a certain situation. These are the moments when, as we look back, we are not proud of ourselves. We behaved immaturely and later had to deal with the consequences of our misbehavior.
Hopefully, we learned that emotional reactivity created the very outcomes we were hoping to avoid.
More importantly, hopefully, we didn’t cross that line — the line when our words and our actions became abusive.
This is a line that in no way, shape, or form should ever be crossed.
As I am typing this, I am watching the video of an NFL player punching his fiancé in an elevator to the point where she is knocked unconscious. I can’t hear the video, nor do I know what happened before the punch. What I do know is that reactivity is alive inside of that elevator. I saw the terrible effects of a man who lost it.
I’ve heard the pundits give their opinions about what happened and what should happen to this player going forward.
I also saw an opportunity as a father who is helping to raise a son.
I realized that I needed to have a conversation with my son. Not that I haven’t had this conversation before, but I was inspired to have it again. Only this time there needed to be a greater sense of urgency. I believe this state of urgency has to be felt by every father of every son.
This conversation will stress that there is a line that cannot be crossed.
It is a conversation that lets our sons know that even though they get angry and upset, there is never an occasion when they should put their hands on a woman in a violent manner.
Although emotional reactivity may, from time to time, rear its ugly head in our lives. We can’t go there.
Fathers, our sons need to hear this—from us.
More than that, they need to see how a man should respect a woman.
How we treat their mother is being observed by our sons.
They are watching.
The great basketball coach John Wooden said it best, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Teach them not only by what you say, but by what you do.
They need us to teach them.
The women of this world deserve that.
I’m up to that challenge. Please join me.