Tshaka brought to our attention a story about James Jones. A Dad that was pushed too far. As I read through the story, and the coverage, and began to see some of the commentary that is going around in the comments of the posts, the tweets that were sent out and other reactions, I had a thought of “A Time To Kill” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey and Matthew McConaughey.
Those of you that have watched the movie know that it is a movie based on a Grisham novel of the same name that has a number of subplots with many emotional triggers such as racism, gender bias, misogyny and other hot button items. I also believe that it has another very hot button item with the thought that Daddy is the protector of the children. Yes, we all know that you don’t get between Mama bear and her cubs, but apparently, you don’t want so much to deal with Daddy bear either. We tend to go straight to the nuclear option when pushed too far. I think this may be the case here with James Jones. He has obviously had some time to reflect on this and other parents of involved children are beginning to weigh in on the incident.
There is a groundswell of support that is beginning and a Facebook page has been set up on his behalf and he is getting growing support. Many of the Dads here in the comments on Twitter have all had a chance to Monday morning quarterback what was done and have weighed in on the subject. The bottom line appears to be that we have a problem, or in this case a continued problem with bullies in the schoolyard. This is not a new idea by any means. We have see this played out in school yards in the media on television and on the big screen for many generations.
I intend to show the video to my kids and talk about some of the issues that are raised in the clip. Some questions I will ask are:
- “What would you do if you saw another student get bullied?”
- “What would you do if you are being bullied?”
- “Do you know what it means to bully another student?”
- “Does it really matter that the child in this case had CP?”
I tend to end the conversations with my foundational theme which is the Golden Rule.
This obviously an emotional issue. We tend to be hypersensitive when these things arise and part of it scares me with the idea that this could lead to some mob mentality and more polarization of the issue at hand. We see also the handcuffs put on our own administrators and teacher fearing reprisals brought on by lawsuits and innuendo and accusations of mistreating the perpetrators. I see in the video a mother protecting her son, perhaps not understanding why a Father would yell at her boy for her actions. We don’t get the story that she too may have been scolding her son for being caught up in an act of bullying, or as it seems to indicate, not. That in itself is being implied in this instance. Where are we as parents holding our own children accountable. If I was a parent of a child involved in the incident, you can be assured i would get to the bottom of it and make sure my child made it right by apologizing and more.
I’ll leave you with the scene of the denouement of the movie I discussed. Getting past the issues of race, which this movie portrays throughout as the message, and getting to the heart of being a father, which is the basis for McConaughey’s character’s argument, I think we see some of what I feel as I watched the video and as I see the the comments and reactions to a Daddy pushed too far.
Do I condone taking matters into your own hands? I can’t say I wouldn’t have done exactly as the man on the bus if I felt there were no other options to protect my child. My initial thought is to also be the example to my children and in that instance I must show them that violence does not always rule the day but that you must sometimes stop turn around and protect yourself or others. To the parents of those that are involved. Show your children the responsibility of admitting their mistakes and perhaps show them that we all make them and to make them accountable.