Teaching Our Children

People tend to use children for all sorts of things.  Many mothers and fathers refuse to discipline their children because they think their children will not love them, and they draw their personal sense of self-worth from the affections provided by their children.  This is usually a recipe for disaster when raising a child.  However, attempting to show love to a child (even if is it misguided) is better that abusing or neglecting a child any day.

I was reading an article about a man, a sex offender, who has been banned from attending his son’s graduation by a law that requires him to receive a special dispensation from the school’s superintendent in order to come onto school grounds.  In this particular case the superintendent has refused to allow any sex offenders on the school’s grounds even to attend the graduation of their kids.  Sound harsh?

It doesn’t sound nearly as harsh as the forcible rape of a fifteen year old girl which is what the man was convicted of.  Some might say that the school’s superintendent is being too harsh in dealing with the man (there are actually five parents who are not able to attend the ceremony for this reason).  However, I say that she is perfectly within her rights, and furthermore, she is taking a responsible position both in regards to the safety of her students and the the school district’s legal exposure.

The sex offender is livid at the schools response.  The offender, a Mr. James Jones, said, “I’ve already been punished for this. This isn’t about me anymore. Now they’re punishing my kids, and that’s taking it a little too far.”  I would argue that he is incorrect in this statement.  This felon has been, and is still, being duly punished for his crime just as the poor girl that he raped still has to live with the memory of what he did to her every day.  If his children are being ‘punished’ or affected in any way by this, he is the one who is responsible for it, not the state or the school district.  The fact that he is not allowed to attend the graduation is a direct consequence of his own actions that would not be occurring if he had not committed the crime in the first place.  Perhaps, if he had thought a little about the future consequences to his child (let alone the consequences to his victim), he might not have committed such a horrific crime in the first place.

He claims that he will attend anyway, and county police claim that they will attend also.  They have stated that he is subject to arrest and up to four years in prison if he attends the ceremony.

He says, “I’m always preaching education to my children. How does that make me look if I’m not there at graduation?”  And, this is where I get to my main point.  Here we have a father who claims to promote education to his children, but what is he really teaching them?  He has a perfect opportunity to teach his children a very valuable lesson about making bad decisions and the consequences thereof.  He could impress up his child the fact that ‘because daddy made a bad decision, he will not be able to come to the graduation, but that does not mean he does not love him.  He loves him all the more and will do his best to make it up to him.’

Instead of taking this golden opportunity to teach his child a life lesson, Mr Jones has chosen to splash his name in the paper, to bring up old wounds and stigmas that undoubtedly will effect his child and community, and to threaten to and possibly actually to break to the law resulting in his incarceration and separation from his children for up to four years.  What a misguided set of values he has.

In the end the point is, that he is not really worried about his child.  He is worried about himself.  He is mad  that the consequences of his earlier actions are still having a negative effect on him, and he is throwing a little fit, at the expense of his family and his community over it.  Nice example dad.