One of the hardest lessons that I’ve ever had to teach my son was humility.
As his mother, it’s important that I teach him to look outside of himself, and have compassion for others. I know that being a man who is preoccupied with his own vanity won’t serve him well as an adult, so I work hard to push him to minimize his own self importance. For example, I encourage him to comfort his friends when they are crying. Or I push him to offer our mail lady water on warm, summer days.
But I also know that I have to be humble in order to teach my son any lessons in humility. As a parent living in an age of vanity, being humble can be tough, especially when it comes to presenting one’s self, or one’s kids, on social media.
Most parents post videos of their kids for completely selfish reasons, and sometimes that is a great thing. Everyone loves videos of children doing funny kid stuff, like eating bacon, or killing it in a dance competition.
Then there are times where parents post social media videos of themselves punishing their kids, and that’s mostly always bad. In the past, I’ve seen videos of parents straight up abusing their kids on social media, and I’ve always walked away from those videos thinking that the parent was being selfish.
The latest person to hop on the “selfish parent” train was a Prince William County, Va. father, whose 17-year-old child was removed from his home after he boxed with him, and uploaded the video to Facebook. According to Fox 5 DC,
[Tavis] Sellers says his son was being disciplined because he left class at school. “He can walk out of class, but call me so I’m on your side,” he says to the camera. “All day went by, he didn’t call. So now it’s discipline time because he didn’t do what I told him to do. He chooses to do what he wants to do.”
After the boxing ends, the video shows Sellers’ son wiping blood from his face. “Let them know! Tell your teacher you’re sorry,” his father tells him. According to Sellers, he busted his son’s lip and gave him a bloody nose, but his injuries weren’t long-lasting.
The caption Sellers posted with the video on Facebook reads, “Blessings come in all forms and mines came in the form of a great young man to have as a son. I feel I would be the worst disappointment to him if I didn’t do my best to deter him from choices in life that I have seen lead to destruction. The world now has given us platforms to reach out and show your efforts. A lot of people were hurt by this video. And that was not the purpose. I did it to show what has been working for ME.”
I can’t lie, I’ve heard about a few frustrated parents and teens who have gone to boxing gyms, and donned full gear to fight each other when they were both sick of the child’s teenage angst. I’m not saying that I agree with it, I’m just saying that it’s been done before. That’s why I was not surprised to know that Tavis is one of those parents.
But I do question the point of him recording the video, and then posting it on social media. While I applaud Tavis for teaching his child about making good life choices, I fail to understand why the relationship he shares with his son is everyone else’s business? Would’t it be a good life choice not to allow social media into the space you have reserved for your the most important person in your life?
I also want to know who he needs to prove his parenting skills to? He said,
I did it to show what has been working for ME.”
Is the person he’s proving his parenting skills to wheeling and dealing with Satan? What’s so important about his parenting skills, that he needs to show anyone anything? I’m genuinely puzzled by his response.
Unfortunately, the worst part about Tavis uploading video of him boxing his kid to social media is that it taught his son absolutely nothing, except to be self absorbed with what he can do as a parent.
This is why humility when parenting is important. Discipline is neither for your benefit, nor for your social media likes. You have to minimize your own vanity, because it’s not nearly as significant as the lessons your child could be gaining, if you focused on them instead of yourself while disciplining them. Every time you discipline your child, you’re taking advantage of an opportunity to make your kid a better person.
Think about how much more effective Tavis’ lesson would have been if he taught his son to be humble enough to talk with his teacher about why he walked out of class? Or maybe the lesson would have been more effective if Tavis had his son talk to several people who perpetually walked out of class, and missed several opportunities as a result? I’m not sure what would have ameliorated Tavis’ lesson to his son, but what I know is that I didn’t need to be invited into that space.
But just like many parents who live today’s vanity driven society, Tavis had to learn that selfishly posting social media videos is more trouble than its worth. That lesson cost him his child.
Have you heard about this case? What are your thoughts about it?