Every morning I send my sons a text message. Usually it’s a bit of inspiration consisting of a quote that I copy and paste off of Twitter. Sometimes it’s something I come across, other times it’s something I come up with.
My sons live with their mother over a thousand miles away. That is a story for another day. But it is one of the reasons that I started to text them every morning after they moved so far away.
The other day my son, who is in middle school, was jumped by one of his classmates in a restroom at his school. Apparently this attacker premeditates a situation where he will just start throwing violent hooks to the face of a classmate. This kid has a group of friends who follow him around to watch. Sometimes one of these friends videos the assault. The incident with my son was not the first such incident.
I watched one of the videos made by this group on youtube. In the video the attacker is sitting with a group of kids. Suddenly, and for no good reason he starts punching a smaller kid who is caught completely defenseless. He pummels the kid to the floor and relentlessly continues to punch him.
The video was repulsive. I won’t dignify it by providing a link.
I have witnessed plenty of violence, but the video was disturbing and off the charts in regards to it’s sudden and senseless violence. The behavior of the attacker and his film crew cowardly and ignorant to the extreme.
My son is fine. He’s a strong kid both mentally and physically. He took a few punches and then grabbed the attacker by the throat and pinned him to a wall ending the attack. The attacker was suspended, but I have little doubt that he and his goons will continue on their course. This is who they are.
The contrast between my sons and these kids is vast. How have my sons turned out so well and these punks have turned out so poorly?
This morning I held off on the quote. Instead I sent this to my sons:
“Good morning. I just want you both to know I’m very proud of you. I see kids every day cheat themselves and take the easy way. I see kids everyday act like complete jerks to their classmates and teachers. I see these kids miss so much of their education because they don’t pay attention and end up stupid as hell as a result. You guys have had plenty of excuses to end up just like those kids, yet you haven’t. Instead you took on the challenge to do the work to make something of yourself, to be someone productive, who can help others, to be role models to your younger brothers & sisters as well as your classmates and teammates. There is nothing easy about any of that. Yet you have continued to do good things on a daily basis. I’m very proud of you and I love you as much as a man could love his sons. Have a great day, you’ve earned it and you keep earning it!”
You get to choose whether or not you have character. You get to choose whether or not to teach it to your kids, your students, your players or even whether to learn it yourself.
Make the right choice.