Hard to believe I’m writing another post about an abusive professional athlete, but if you believe in living by the principles of prosperity, there are more serious issues to be talked about here. Namely our responsibility as an enlightened society, to protect those who are not able to protect themselves.
Regarding the Adrian Peterson situation, I’m not here to pile on him. He’ll get enough condemnation from the datasphere I’m sure, and I’m content to let the justice system do its job. But like the column I wrote on the Ray Rice situation, I try to view the situation through the perspective of prosperity consciousness and look for what we can take away to live in accordance with the principles of prosperity.
I’m a libertarian and believe everyone has the right to discipline their children. And I get that I may not like or agree with the way everyone does that, and that it is not my business. I’ll also tell you that growing up, my mother sometimes spanked me with a hairbrush or belt. (As millions of other parents of that generation did.)
To this day I’m grateful for the love and discipline my mother showed me, as it greatly shaped me into the successful person I have become. But my mother also grew up in the days of segregation, legal discrimination against non-heterosexuals, and laws against interracial marriage. That doesn’t mean we have to stay there. We evolve as our consciousness develops.
My younger sister and her husband tried a more enlightened approach with their two children, never striking them for any reason. Both their kids turned out great. Two years ago I was in a relationship with someone with a four-year-old daughter, who stole my heart. She was adopted through social services and had come from an abusive environment with a drug-addicted mother. We never raised our hands to her and she is blossoming into a vibrant and beautiful young girl. That doesn’t mean todays generation of parents is better or smarter. It does mean we have access to more information and are able to evolve in the ways we raise and discipline children.
I understand that not everyone, including Adrian Peterson, has had the benefit of being exposed to this. And in some ways, I can understand how he got to where he’s at today. I also grew up ignorant of much. If I had been gifted with his talent, and then received all the money, adulation and pandering at a young age like he received, I can’t even imagine the harmful and stupid actions I would have taken.
Unless you become a critical thinker and question premises, you repeat the cycle your parents inflicted on you. (This holds true in many areas.) But even being ignorant of something doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for what you do.
So let’s set some parameters:
If you discipline your child with a stick or branch and you break their skin and cause bleeding – you have gone too far. You must immediately stop and get that child proper and immediate medical attention.
If you discipline your child with a stick or branch and you break their skin and cause bleeding, and you then continue flogging them, you’re abusing them.
If you discipline your child with a stick or branch and you break their skin and cause bleeding, and you continue flogging them 25 times (as the photos from the Houston police report demonstrate), you are committing torture, and that’s banned by the Geneva Convention. (Not to mention the fact that Peterson was reported to child protective services by another of his baby mamas last year, for causing a head injury to another child of his, while “disciplining” him.)
So let’s stop mincing words and be real here…
There is NOTHING a four-year-old can do that deserves getting beaten with a stick. That includes playing with matches and burning the house down and anything else you can think of.
No rational person can justify the abuse that child received as discipline. The person who would treat a defenseless child that way is:
Regardless of what category above applies to Peterson, one thing is certain: He can no longer to be trusted to be alone with children – his own or any others.
After getting trounced playing without him last week, today the Minnesota Vikings reinstated him. This is really a ridiculous decision that serves no one. Adrian Peterson shouldn’t be playing football right now. He needs to get help.
The Vikings and the NFL have demonstrated how tone deaf and money grubbing they really are. Their response to the entire situation is deplorable and despicable. But that’s for another column, another time. For now let’s stay with the bigger issues here:
Some still hold that a parent has the right to discipline their child in any way they see fit. Like the Ray Rice piece I wrote, some will probably criticize me for judging another and suggest that only the particular God they worship can judge. (For his part, Peterson was tweeting out bible verses against habitual judging today.) I’m not buying either of those arguments, and wouldn’t want to live on a planet where people think that way.
If we truly want to live in a prosperous world, we must be willing to stand up for those who are afflicted, abused, and attacked. We have to have standards for how we allow other beings to be treated. We must speak for those unable to speak.
You can’t enjoy true prosperity if you’re turning a blind eye to someone else who is being harmed. Especially when it is a defenseless child or animal. As a society, we have a responsibility to protect them from danger.
You have a voice. Please use it.
Randy is the author of nine international bestsellers on success, including, Risky Is the New Safe. He’s currently on sabbatical, writing his next book, but posts occasionally here. If you find these postcards helpful, please share them.