Adrian Peterson ‘Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child’?
Proverbs 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Last week we all found out what Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson did to one of his kids. And everyone had something to say. Judgement was fast and furious. On social media throngs of folks demanded his head on a platter.
Before we amass the villagers, dawn our purple and gold pitch forks and rush the TCF Bank Stadium, Lets look a bit at the facts of what we know and maybe garner a bit of perspective.
First, the facts:
Last week Adrian Peterson was indicted by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child and a warrant was issued for his arrest. This after pictures, interviews, text messages, etc. revealed that Adrian had taken a switch to his 4-year-old son which left welts, wounds, & bruises.
Peterson was booked into the Montgomery County Texas jail and released after posting the $15,000 bond.
He flew back to Minnesota early Saturday morning where he had been deactivated for the Vikings' home game against the Patriots on Sunday.
In Texas, Montgomery County assistant district attorney Phil Grant said, “The grand jury was provided lots of evidence over a significant number of weeks, and at the conclusion of that evidence presentation and an explanation of the law in this particular matter, they chose to indict Mr. Peterson."
In Texas, Grant said, "parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable." In Peterson's case, Grant said, the grand jury found Peterson's discipline exceeded a reasonable standard.
Adrian Peterson will likely make a court appearance in the next several weeks but it could be several months before the case would go to trial.
On Spanking & Corporal Punishment:
-School spanking remains legal in 19 of the United States of America. Texas is one of the 19.
-A Kansas lawmaker recently made headlines for introducing a bill to explicitly permit spanking to the point of "redness or bruising" by parents, as well as teachers given permission by parents
-On NFL Countdown former Minnesota Viking / Hall of Famer / now sports commentator Chis Carter eluded to growing up and being hit by his mother as punishment. Carter noted, "My mom did the best job she could do ... but there are thousands of things I have learned since then -- that my mom was wrong."
I've read excerpts of the police report and seen the pictures of his 4-year-old son who was “Switched” by Adrian Peterson. At the least, very disturbing.
In a not so distant time in our society we doled out corporal punishment to our children in large doses. Go back a few years and ask any Catholic school kid if they every sported a red welt from a nuns ruler? Ask your Grandpa if he was every taken to the “Wood Shed”? Check out this video of this Arkansas High School Principle that still paddles misbehaving students.
The point is, as distasteful as some of us find spanking, switching, paddling, it's still part of our society as a form of parenting and punishment. If you are raised in a family that uses corporal punishment as a parenting choice, would it be logical that you may also opt to use the same when disciplining your children? Maybe?
I could not remember if we ever spanked our kids when they were growing up. So like any husband, I went right to the source of all of our household wisdom, my wife. She informed me that we did more slapping of hands than spanking of bottoms. But she did speculate that we probably did swat a diapered bottom a time or two, although we could not remember any specific instance. Maybe my grown kids would be a better source of inquiry. I'll ask them.
If you believe everything you read on social media and everything you see and hear on electronic media this world is comprised of only exceptional adults making only inspired parenting decisions. Good for you guys. I wish I was that parent. To me parenting was a series of 'Hail Marys'. I'd often times scramble back, toss the ball, and hope to heaven I made the right call.
As distasteful as Adrian Peterson's choices may appear, perhaps we let him have his day in court before we let the posse string him up?