Parenting Perspectives: Adults can be bulliesI never quite know where or when the inspiration for my next parenting column will strike. Usually my best ideas come from something my daughters do or say. This is the first time I’ve found an idea in the NFL.
I never quite know where or when the inspiration for my next parenting column will strike. Usually my best ideas come from something my daughters do or say. This is the first time I’ve found an idea in the NFL.
It happened a couple of weeks ago, during the Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings game. We watch the Vikings most Sundays, at least for a while. And even though my ballet-dancing, girlie-girl daughters don’t know Brett Favre from Bret Michaels, they still seem to enjoy watching the game (at least until some Disney Channel rerun pulls them away).
A couple of weeks ago, I was tempted to join them on deck with Zack and Cody rather than sit through one more minute of the Packers’ bloodbath. But what was more troubling than the score was what I saw in the stands.
“Support Global Warming, Send Chilly out of MN!”
“All I want for Xmas is a new head coach!”
Fans holding signs calling for the firing of Brad Childress peppered Mall of America field, some just feet away from Childress’ face. I realize it’s only football and it’s been a really frustrating season. But these sentiments send the wrong message.
In recent weeks, our community has been talking at length about bullying following the tragic suicide of a Cooperstown teen. We try to teach our children about the golden rule, treating others with respect and dignity. We give them handouts in school. Television networks run PSAs touting the way we want our children to behave. But look at the way some of us are behaving. Actions speak louder than words.
I think it was probably time for Childress to go. But to stand up in a crowd of people with a homemade sign taunting the man for a cheap laugh is bullying.
Plain and simple.
If we saw a child do that, we’d scold him. When we see a grown man do it, we snicker. What are our children supposed to think?
And what would this bully think if some stranger came to the insurance agency or hardware store where he worked and held up a sign demanding he be fired? I don’t care how tough you are, if the sign was addressing you, it would hurt.
I understand it’s all part of being an NFL coach. And Childress can certainly handle a little ribbing from fans. It’s part of the gig. But this isn’t about him. It’s about setting an example for kids.
It’s awfully hard to teach our children about civility when we watch the news these days. Grown men and women, politicians and talk-show hosts calling each other names, showing complete intolerance for each other’s point of view. Maybe, it’s a lost cause in the world of Fox News and MSNBC. But can’t we hold out hope in the world of sports that we can still exhibit sportsmanship and civility? Not just on the field but in the stands?
It might be a nice first step for our kids.
Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.