Why kids need dad and dad needs a Glock

Of all the qualities I remember about my father, his ability to intimidate anyone he chose was most indelible. He wasn’t a physically large man; by anyone’s measurement he was of average height, weight, and build. He never achieved some lofty professional post or attained a career distinction where he could demand another’s respect, like the medical doctor who believes his eight plus years of training is justification enough for everyone to walk on egg shells. Nor did he ever achieve great wealth allowing him to buy the regard of others. Instead, my father’s ability turn another’s blood ice cold was purely God-given.

He had a gaze that would look right into the depths of your soul as if peeling back the layers of your being like an onion. A slight tilt of his chin, purse of his lips, and arch of the eyebrow was all it took to send my heart racing. He wasn’t a boisterous man, he didn’t need to be; if yours was the direction his death stare was pointing, my friend, you were in for a very bad day. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t possess this skill and again she didn’t need to. As is the case in many families when I was a kid, my mom and dad had the good-cop-bad-cop routine down pat and she would pull it out whenever circumstances warranted.

Being the first-born I was predisposed to following the rules. Rebellion wasn’t and still isn’t one of my strong traits. But there can be no doubting that the healthy fear I had of my dad did much to keep me between the lines. Because I knew that, if necessary, he would turn that gaze into something far more sinister and would light me up without hesitation or remorse.  It’s common family knowledge, however, that my sister could feed him a line of garbage, which he would consume without chewing. I unfortunately never enjoyed such luxuries.

•♦•

The Internet remains abuzz with the story of Tommy Jordan and his eight-minute YouTube video wherein he takes his teenage daughter behind the virtual woodshed. Apparently his 15-year-old has a penchant for using her Facebook to pontificate on the suckiness of her life and specifically on the adults in it. After receiving numerous warnings to cease and desist her disrespectful behavior she attempts to hide her last complaint about chores and whatnot from dad all the while forgetting he is an IT guy who fixes her laptop, which she didn’t buy for herself, regularly.  It seems this time was the proverbial straw that broke dad’s back. So to leave a lasting impression he proceeds to read her diatribe verbatim, goes on to explain how he had warned her about this behavior before, and then seals the deal by pumping nine 45mm rounds into her laptop. If you are one of the four people left who haven’t watched (it’s already at 27 million hits after two weeks) it’s a great opportunity to observe old school Parenting 101 in action.

What first caught my attention wasn’t the shock of seeing her computer blown to smithereens, which was a thing of beauty, it was the striking similarities between this father and my own. Here was a dad, much like mine, who took matters into his own hands when the situation called for it. Setting aside any PhD approved parenting techniques he sent his daughter a message despite any shame or embarrassment it might have caused her. Personally I call that a dad who loves his daughter.

Within hours of the video hitting the web professionals, experts, and mommy bloggers everywhere were like sharks smelling blood in the water. I’m still amazed at how this one act could polarize so many people. The consensus from naysayers was dad had taken his actions too far, and publically humiliating his daughter to prove a point wasn’t appropriate for her fragile teenage self-esteem. His sudden popularity brought an onslaught of criticism and personal attacks including a visit from the local Police and Child Services. Rumor has it that as they left everyone patted dad on the back for a job well done.

•♦•

This dad’s actions represent, for me, the value of fatherhood that can’t be calculated on a W2. How many mothers would have taken such bold actions to teach their teenager a life lesson? Or would they have simply grounded her for a week, taken her cell phone away, or some other trivial penalty? How many times has a mom wanted to figuratively smack the entitlement out of their teenager only to choke at the last minute or do so then feel guilty about it three hours later? Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s how I was raised but I see part of my job, as a father, to be that of the disciplinarian.  It’s a responsibility that falls heavily on me to continually impress upon my kids the morals, principles, and ethics that will serve them their entire lives, especially when doing so requires more than just rationalizing or trying to talk the into it.  God didn’t sit down with Moses and talk about what the Ten Commandments ought to be hoping that none would injure the people of Israel’s dignity. He put the hammer down and said this is how it is. And when they didn’t follow the repercussions ensued.

Somewhere between my own childhood and today parents lost their minds when it comes to raising their kids.  No longer is it appropriate to teach our children right from wrong through showing how their actions have consequences, instead we’ve chosen to reason with our children no matter the age and no matter the situation, with the intention of sparing them any emotional stress or loss of self respect. Instead of setting boundaries for them we’ve let them have a say in where those boundaries should be. The results of which are disastrous.  One has only to watch the actions of the average teenager to see that society’s approach to child rearing isn’t working.

•♦•

Along with my father’s eyes, I fortunately inherited his steely gaze and his embrace of ‘tough love parenting’. I do not and will not shy away from instructing my children, when necessary, in a way other than time outs, groundings, or taking an iTouch away. Nor would I twitch at shaming my child if I knew that doing so would better prepare them for what’s ahead. I’m convinced the parent that fails to properly discipline their child, fails to love them.

It seems that along with getting everything else she wanted from my father growing up, including a new car at sixteen, she also obtained some of his parenting insight.  When talking about her kids’ behavior she’s been known to say  

“They might go to prison, but they’ll be the best behaved inmates in there”

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14 responses to Why kids need dad and dad needs a Glock

  1. I think you hit the nail right on the head with that one. It isn’t what is wrong with kids today, it’s what’s wrong with the parents. No discipline, no motivation, no true encouragement to do the right thing and be a good person. I believe a healthy dose of discipline goes a long way, manners are as important as you make them, and parent’s are the first and last defense against raising a lunatic child. Great Post!

  2. The Tommy Jordan situation is a tough call. I can’t say whether he was right or wrong in his actions. However, I do agree that today’s parents and have become extremely lax. His video simply made us stop for a second and question why so many kids are disrespectful.

    Fact is, most parents are too eager to please their child. They want to be their kid’s best friend. I went to an all girls Catholic boarding school. People often gasp in horror when I tell them this, as thought it was some sort of boot camp kids. Actually, it was one of the best experiences of my life. And, those nuns didn’t take no -hit. On that note, they’d probably agree with Tommy Jordan

  3. Except, it would seem that the daughter learned this from him. Instead of the daughter learning how to communicate what she felt was a serious grievance with her family, she went to Facebook to tell the world about how unhappy she was. So, then dad did it too. It’s a cycle that no one wins, and just encourages the idea that the biggest stick swung wins. While that sort of parenting can certainly work – and we all know that sometimes teens need less gentle prodding, I think an opportunity was missed years ago for this dad to get the daughter on board emotionally. She was just repeating the behavior she saw. Dad doesn’t realize that he’s the one that created this outburst.

  4. If you blog/vlog about parenting you can rest “comfortably” with the knowledge that you are going to be criticized and complimented.

    It is just one of those things that comes with the territory. I appreciated Tommy Jordan taking the time to speak to his daughter and to try to look out for her because that is what I think he was doing.

    The question about his method is valid. He put himself out there so he has to accept that.

    From my perspective what I took issue with was shooting the laptop and not because I have an issue with guns.

    Rather it just seemed to be a big waste. If he didn’t want her to have it I think he could have made better use of it by donating it to a school or charity.

  5. I’m glad that you take your role as a father and disciplinarian seriously but do take offense at your notion that women would choke and not discipline as effectively. It is wonderful to have a loving yet limit setting father but not every kid does and mothers fill that role. Like men, some are good and some are bad at it.

  6. I’ve heard this argument about his daughter and his parenting style and I disagree. She’s growing up in a world where other kids are doing this sort of thing and has the outlets/means to do so. I think that she’s growing up in a strict home and being a rebellious teen. Because let’s face it, she’s probably talking to all of her other friends who have no chores and parents who let them do whatever they want and give them whatever they want. To her, her life is not fair. So, she goes and tells her friends on Facebook after being punished for doing it before. Her father was only giving her a dose of her own medicine, not starting a vicious cycle. That’s my opinion anyway.

    I agree with what Tommy did. The only thing I think he could have done differently is maybe give the laptop away to someone who needs it. But that’s just the bleeding heart in me hating to see a perfectly good laptop get blown to pieces. However, I have a feeling that having it given away wouldn’t have given the video the same WOW factor as putting bullets through it.

    I agree with you 100% CP. Too many parents are raising their children with a sense of entitlement and a lack of respect for others. Parents seem to be too concerned with their child’s feelings than they are with discipline and consequences.

    My son has chores, he has responsibilities around the house, he has a schedule, he has boundaries and there are definitely consequences for his actions. I know for a fact that he is the ONLY one out of his friends that has chores and that gets grounded or has things taken away for bad behavior. Because of this, he thinks I’m too strict. But I don’t give a shit. I always tell him I’m not so and so’s mom. I’m YOUR mom and this is how it goes in our house.

    It drives me CRAZY that none of these parents teach their kids discipline or how to be responsible.

    To end this long comment, I’ll leave you with a story from 2 or 3 Christmases ago. Ethan received a significant amount of money for Christmas. When we went to my mom’s house for Christmas dinner, it was his turn to open up his presents. She gave him one present and after he opened it he looked right at her and said in a VERY SNOTTY TONE, “Is this all? Only ONE present?” My parents are having a rough time financially and are doing the best they can, but even still, he should be happy he got to see his Grandma and have dinner with her, let alone get one present. She was really upset by his comment. I was FURIOUS! I made her take his gift back for him being so ungrateful and then I had him donate all of his Christmas money to the Haitian earthquake victims. I did this after I explained how lucky he is just to be ALIVE for Christmas, to have a ROOF over his head, clothes on his back and food in his belly. He’s appreciated Christmas so much more since then.

  7. wow. the level of disrespect between the teen and her parents is shocking to me. the language used is also something of a surprise. i would find the video funny, IF, it wasn’t real. i wouldn’t want to live in a house filled with that kind of hostility. i have 3 daughters, the youngest is 11. we all get along and are polite and kind to each other. i wonder what happened in this family, that these are what the daughter, and then the father, feel are their best choices.

    on another note, what hillbilly place do they live, where firing a gun is legal, just because you are irritated? glad he’s not my neighbor.

  8. I don’t know where he’s from, but I can assure you that there are many places where it is perfectly legal to fire a gun for any reason as long as it is done in a safe manner. They aren’t all “hillbilly”.

    I am a single mom(widow) and this is one of my biggest fears for my daughter…that I won’t have that fear instilled in her. Not that I want her to grow up scared, just with a healthy dose of respect. She’s only 4 now, but I am trying to find a balance between being the good and bad guy all wrapped up into one. Bless all you good dads out there, you have no idea how important you are.

  9. You’re so right! Society’s ill-conceived, but attractive on the surface methods for raising heroic, manly, but gentle boys and nurturing, pure, loving girls is an epic fail. It’s such a complex topic and very provocative, but one reason is the continual marginalization of men in general and fathers specifically.

  10. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need! Some great points about how kids need a dad. I totally agree.

  11. You will find the great pointers!!! It isn’t wrong with kids today, it’s what’s wrong when using the parents. No discipline, no motivation, no true encouragement to accomplish the very best factor and be an excellent person. Personally a powerful dose of discipline goes a extended way, manners are as critical when you are causing them to be, and parent’s would be the initial and last defense against raising a lunatic child. I really do agree that today’s parents and also have become inadequate. His video simply made us stop for pretty much any second and question why lots of children are disrespectful.

    Great Post!

  12. Jennifer

    Good post! Proud of this father! I personally don’t have Facebook & my son won’t have it because of the stupidity of it all! I don’t need the whole world knowing what my thoughts are every few seconds of the day! My son is at that point where he thinks I “have” to buy him this or that. He doesn’t understand “yet” what it means to work for what you want… My brothers bought each niece & nephew an Ipod touch (8gb)…which I paid back… When my boys get in trouble…that Ipod is the only thing that will get their attention to do work around the house. I finally bought me an Ipod touch (32gb) and my oldest son gets mad… I told him that I deserve something with the hard earn money that I make… I don’t shop often for myself & I hope one day he gets it! Children now-a-days are spoiled with all the gadgets we have available. I personally would have sold the lap-top more worthy of it!

  13. Kyle Bradford – Author

    “I finally bought me an Ipod touch (32gb) and my oldest son gets mad” – I find this to be more and more of an issue with older kids. For some reason they seem to have the belief that they deserve whatever the parents have as if they are on the same level as mom or dad.

    I find it even more challenging for single moms and their daughters.

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