Adrian Peterson is a righteous man who takes responsibility for training his son.
I believe respect for authority begins with toddlers and small children in the home. A devout Christian and the mother of four terrific kids who grew into responsible adults, I trust biblical admonitions on parenting children. Scripture says a father disciplines the son he loves.
Four-year-olds require attentive fathers and mothers. You won’t find a young man who grew up respecting authority firing random gunshots into passing cars. He doesn’t strong-arm aged merchants, or try to grab a weapon out of the hands of a law-enforcement person, or race from the scene of a hit-and-run accident for which he was responsible. He has been taught better.
Years ago, so-called experts on child rearing added spanking to the lists of forms of child abuse. I didn’t agree but decided to try not spanking.
We tried time-outs, but with four children, it was hard to keep track of what punishment went to which kid. Spanking was clear and decisive and we could all get on with our days as soon as swats were meted out.
I wanted to be kind with the eight eight-year-old cub scouts when my lovely friend Carol and I agreed to be den mother and assistant. The first meeting was a nightmare. The little boys romped and stomped and took full advantage of our tolerant selves. Before the next meeting, I called Carol and told her I disliked the boys and their behavior. More than I wanted the boys to like scouting, I wanted to like them, so, no more Mrs. Nice Guy.
The next week, one kid burst through the front door, ran to the den and leaped onto the sofa in his muddy shoes. It was early in the year and he was in shorts, his fat little thigh fair game. I smacked his leg with my open hand and told him he was to behave in my home as he would in his own, then warned them I was going to treat all eight of them like they were my own children, that I was a spanker and they were going to mind me or else.
They all stood quiet, wide-eyed and nodding.
We had adventures together, fun, laughter and achievements. I hugged them often. There were occasional swats. Late in the year, other dens began to fold. The scout master called to ask if Carol and I would take more than eight boys. Every kid in Troop 2 wanted to be in our den.
Not a chance.
I was den mother two years for our older son and two years for our younger one. With talk of child abuse, I feared getting into trouble with someone for treating the boys like they were my own, but we got no complaints and none of the boys quit scouting. I loved those kids then, and still like them as adults.
Our sons outgrew both Bill and me when they were teens. One afternoon, when our older boy was 16, he thought he was big enough to take me on. He was taller and heavier than I was. I don’t remember the infraction, but I was his mother and did not intend to put up with a smart mouth. The new wrestling coach had rented a house across the street. He said he had never seen anything funnier than our big boy scrambling, backing out of the house, trying to defend himself from my flying hands as I smacked first one muscular bicep then the other.
Our older son was a fine athlete. Coaches complimented us, saying how great he was to coach. He learned regard for authority early. He was an all-state football player and attended college on scholarships.
Our second son stayed with scouting and earned his Eagle. He is in law enforcement.
Both of our daughters are great moms. The younger one is a certified early childhood teacher who complies with school policy and deals with children in her classrooms without corporal punishment. At home, however, with four children of her own, she follows patterns set when she was growing up. Her children are respectful, thoughtful and good students.
I believe that disciplined children grow into adults with respect for authority. They learn to control tempers and tantrums. They take responsibility. They become outstanding athletes, statesmen, judges, and parents. They do not become thugs and thieves, or abusers.
Sooners appreciate Adrian Peterson. He was one of us. Most Viking fans probably do, too. In him we see a disciplined athlete, a leader of men, and a responsible father. Anyone who has parented a four-year-old boy knows the challenge. A child needs to know the rules and he needs to learn them early, especially from a father who is not afraid to love him enough to discipline him.
A final thought: I’ve seen Peterson run. If his son has his genetic gifts, catching and switching the little rascal probably was no easy task. As a parent, I am proud of Adrian Peterson.