That’s My Boy

4 01 2012

I just read this quote from the mother of a college football player, after her son’s great performance in a bowl game – a  woman whose son had been suspended for the 2010 college football season for driving under the influence and is currently on probation for an episode in the spring of 2011 when he was so drunk he knocked in the front door of an apartment that he thought was his and passed out on a terrified tenant’s bed.

Do I think he has a problem [with alcohol]? No. But I do think maybe he didn’t know when to say, “OK, I need to stop now.” And we always talk about that. He can’t drink now for a while. He turned 21, but he hasn’t been able to go out and do this or that. When he can go out and have his fun and have some drinks, he needs to know when to stop.

Are you shocked?  I am.

I am not shocked that a college football player got too much to drink – more than once.  I am shocked – and very saddened – that his mother seems to be more concerned that he can’t go out and “have his fun” than that, when he is legally permitted to drink, if he chooses to drink, he will be at enormous risk of hurting himself or someone else.  That his mother can deny an alcohol abuse problem, (even in the face of multiple arrests arising from it) is a sure sign there is more than a substance abuse issue in this kid’s life.

Do I think the young man should not be congratulated for his fine effort in a major bowl game win?

Of course not; he exhibited great skill and hard work.

Do I think he should be congratulated that he has followed his court sentenced substance-abuse counseling and community service hours?

Yes, I do; it’s hard.

Do I think his only problem with alcohol is that he has just not yet learned “when to stop?”

Absolutely not.

Do I think he is a bad kid?  No.  I think he is an at-risk kid who because of superior athletic talent might have been forgiven for a few transgressions too many and now is struggling to find his own inner moral compass.  That his own mother denies the seriousness of his alcohol-related actions makes me wonder what else she might not have taught him as a child.  Parents who love their children do not ignore or excuse dangerous behaviors.  We do everything we can to protect them, including, if we have to, risk pissing them off or hurting their feelings to try to keep them safe.

Teach our children that there is an important distinction between what is legal and what is right and why not getting caught is not a fair measure of the merits of an activity. It is the only way to equip them for adulthood and the only way to help them make their world better.

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2 responses

4 01 2012
Maggie

I think the mother’s attitude is far to prevalent today. “Not my precious snowflake”. Lindsay Lohan is a prime example, also.

5 01 2012
Jean Van Brederode

Do I think one or both of his parents drinks regularly in front of him without caution or conscience? Yep. There’s a commercial about childhood obesity in Georgia now that’s drawiga ot of controversy. It shows a morbidly obese mother and her child (who is well on his way to following in her footsteps) with the caption “Mommy, why am I fat?” Maybe there should be another in the series – “Mommy, why am I an alcoholic?”

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