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Yet another Steubenville Fatherhood response…

March 22, 2013 Leave a comment

There have been so many responses to the Steubenville rape trial that I almost didn’t want to write about it.  When the Newtown, CT shootings happened, I chose not to, because I didn’t feel I had anything unique or compelling to say about it that wasn’t already said.  With Steubenville, I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only person to discuss the fatherhood aspects of the case by connecting the situation with what, in my opinion, is the best artistic piece about fatherhood, the song “Be a Father to your Child” by Ed O.G. and the B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S.  Being from the Boston area and a fan of hip hop, I’m biased, but in my defense this song was popular nationally at the time it came out.

If hip hop isn’t your thing and you don’t want to click above to see/hear the music video, the Cliff’s Notes on the song is that it’s a call to action to address the epidemic of single mothers raising children in the father’s absence.  

At one point in the song, Ed says “don’t front on your child if it’s your own, cause if you front now then you’ll regret it when it’s grown”. For those unfamiliar with the slang, he’s essentially saying if you have a son and neglect him, you’ll regret it.  It was widely reported that after the verdict was delivered, the father of one of the players found guilty felt compelled to speak to the court, saying that he wasn’t there for his son, and therefore took responsibility upon himself for what had happened.

The last line of the song is the more compelling part in relation to the Steubenville story, where Ed concludes by saying “It’s never too late to correct your mistakes, so get yourself together for your child’s sake and be a father to your child.”  There are two competing views on this one.  One point of view is that it’s indeed too late.  A life-altering transgression was committed by the son that there’s no undoing and no amount of apology or reparation can ever make right.  Another point of view is that even though what happened happened, It’s not too late for the father to become more involved, as the son undoubtedly has challenges he will need to face as he deals with the consequences of his actions, and perhaps the father can be there to ensure the son moves forward in the best way possible from this.

No matter how you view it, the absentee father thing only accounts for part of the story, though.  I can’t imagine that all of those kids, (and when I say this I’m including those who were watching/tweeting/videotaping along with the two who actually did the actions, and in a broader sense any kids who get into serious trouble), had parents who didn’t do the best they thought they could for their children.  In fact I believe most did.  This is what scares the sh*t out of me as a parent, that no matter how good we intend to do, our own influence can only go so far.  

Categories: Uncategorized

A Basketball Milestone

March 8, 2013 1 comment

Any basketball-enthusiast child has probably shot baskets in the driveway or at the local park pretending to be his or her favorite player. (And for some of us, reaching adulthood hasn’t been a mandate to stop doing this). Last night, my two year old participated in this hoop junkie rite of passage.

A couple of months after his first birthday, I bought him a Lil’ Tikes basketball set. When we opened it, he could barely dunk the ball on the lowest hoop setting. Now, at almost two and a half and with lots of practice, the hoop has been raised a couple of notches and he is able to throw the ball in from a short distance rather than just dunking. When he makes it in we cheer and high five, and when he misses, apparently a lot of the time I say “aww, man”, which I didn’t realize I was doing until he started mimicking me. We have also started to share the ball a little, passing back and fourth and taking turns shooting. After a few minutes, he goes on to something else, like his firetruck or bus.

In parallel, we have also watched the Celtics a fair amount this season. Being away from Boston, I usually try to take advantage of times when the C’s are on national TV if I can. RJ doesn’t have nearly the attention span to follow a game, but he does so in spurts, and during these times I point out the key players to him..KG, Rondo,the truth, Green, Bass, etc. He seems to have taken a primary affinity to KG, and my only guess why is that it’s an easy two-letter nickname. I also think he likes “Green” (i.e. Jeff Green) because it not only refers to a person but also the color of the uniforms. It’s not the most basketball-sound reasoning for picking favorites, but at age two it makes sense.

So fast forward to last night when he and I were playing with the ball and hoop, and I happened to be wearing a Celtics t-shirt. Instinctively, without any cue from me at all or any past times of doing this, RJ exclaimed “I’m KG!!!”. I asked him who I was, and he said “you’re Green!”. We continued playing, passing the ball back and fourth to each other, shooting, and rebounding as Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green. The moment lasted only a few minutes, but I will remember it forever.