Recently in Utah, high school football coach Matt Labrum got wind of some cyber bullying happening from members of his football team, he also heard of kids skipping class, failing grades and being disrespectful to teachers so what did he do? He suspended the entire team.
|Matt Labrum with his team- picture from here.|
Let's contrast this to what happened recently in New York. On Labor Day weekend over 300 high school aged kids broke into the empty second home of former NFL lineman Brian Holloway. They threw an enormous beer-filled party where they vandalized the home, even peeing on the floor and causing over $20,000 in damages. During the party many of these kids tweeted and shared pictures of what was happening at the party, incriminating themselves.
Holloway, a father himself, rather than press charges started a website where he started posting the pictures that the teens themselves had already shared and asked for all of these kids to come back to his home and help repair the damages. Sounds more than reasonable and even pretty lucky he didn't press charges, right? Well not only did NONE of the kids show up to fix their damages but the parents are suing Holloway for putting the pictures on a website and hurting their kids reputations. Some of the news organizations then even tried to turn it on Holloway pointing out that this is his second home that he is about to lose to foreclosure and it was already damaged, so he was just trying to get some money.
The difference in these two stories are astounding. I don't think any of us doubt which kids are going to learn a lesson, which kids are going to think twice before they act.
Sometimes no matter how hard we try, how many lessons we try and teach, kids are going to mess up. What distinguishes a good parent from a bad parent is what they do when their kids mess up. Do they protect them and try and blame it on someone else? Or do they say yes you messed up and now you are dealing with the consequences.
I am going to let my kids fail, I am going to let them fail now while they are young and while the consequences really aren't too serious or long lasting. I am going to let them learn what this feels like, learn that there are consequences, learn that they will be held responsible for their actions so that someday when they are out in the real world, when their actions matter even more they will know. They will know that they need to work hard, be honest and kind, and that they are responsible for what they do.
I am going to let my kids fail.
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