Monday, June 11, 2012

Is it ever right to choke your baby girl?

The saddest part regarding the arrest of meg-Church pastor Creflo Dollar is the response from those after they get word that Dollar choked, kicked and punched his 15 year-old daughter.  The first response from most of the people I’ve spoken to is, “she must have deserved it.”
She got what was coming to her.  She must have done something to push him over the top.  That’s what a daddy is supposed to do when baby girl disrespects the authority of the man of the house.  As much as I hear that, I’m not buying it for one second.
You see, there is a much deeper message at the bottom of all of this.  With all the talk about domestic violence among young people, why would we support a father who is modeling to his daughter what it means to be in a loving relationship with a man?  As much as I understand the need to discipline children, we have to be careful in not endorsing activity that may become confusing for those young girls who get a piece of poppa’s venom when she acts like she’s grown enough to step in his face.
If daddy is the one to teach her how to be with a man, what’s to say that the beat down doesn’t come with that package? Is that what love looks like?  Is that the treatment she is to expect from the  man who is supposed to be like her daddy?  I think not.
If it’s true that father’s teach their daughters everything they need to know to be in a relationship, are they to conclude that it’s acceptable to get choked by their man if she crosses the line and fails to give him proper respect?  I would hope that instead of a choke move, kick to the side and left hook to the face, that daddy would remain calm, even when its difficult, and teach how to engage in a conversation that does utilize a loud voice and threats to whip that ass.
I’ve lived with the philosophy that it’s my responsibility to be the man who opens doors for my girls, is the first to buy them roses, takes them out to one of the multiple star eateries and listens to them when their hormones are out of whack and their comments and tone reflect they done lost their mind up in here.  Trust me when I say Krista and Lenise, my daughters, have said and done some things that have taken me to that place where beat downs begin.  I haven’t gone there.  Never.  Lenise is 30-something and Krista is 25.  I refuse to go there because I will hurt the man who does that to them.
Parenting can be humbling.  There have been times when I wanted respect from my children, but the truth is I didn’t deserve any.  That’s what comes with being a pastor.  My children have been hurt by the church.  They have found themselves in bondage due to how things might look if the church folks sawthem out.  People make assumptions.  People talk.  It’s not their fault that you decided to pick up the phone and answer that call from God. 
I’ve made my share of mistakes as both a parent and a pastor, but one thing is clear.  I haven’t choked my girls, kicked my girls and punched my precious little babies.  I dare any man to cross that line.  I will call on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and my grandpapa before finding the sucker who has the audacity to use force to get their attention. Not playing that.
I remember the time I was forced to humble with my Sugar Baby.  That’s the name given Krista.  Lenise is Sweet Baby.  I was driving to Durham after picking her up in Charlotte for a weekend visit.  It was after my divorce.  Our times were special.  I used the time driving from Charlotte, don’t hit me, taking care of business on my cell phone.  She was furious.  She started crying.  When I finally ended my business I was near Greensboro.  She let me have it.  She let me have it good.
“I don’t get to see you much, and when I do you stay on that phone,” I was hurt.  Not because I felt disrespected, but because she was right.  I held back the tears.  She kept crying.  I wanted to wipe the tears from her 13-year-old face and tell her I was sorry.  I needed more than words.
Once in Durham, I made my way to the nearest Kroger. I went inside and purchased flowers.  I made my way to the car where she was still fuming.  I patted her window and gave her the little puppy face.  She rolled down the window.  I apologized and promised never to do that again.  I kept my promise.
Since then, both my daughters have had their “let me tell you how I feel” moments. I’ve had to suck it in. Even when I didn’t want to hear it, or when I felt what they said was unfair to me.  Why? Because it’s their truth, and they need to be taught, by their daddy, what it means to be patient, and kind and loving, devoid of conditions.
So, it’s never appropriate to punch, kick or choke those little girls.  We have to show them how to be a man when we fail to get our way. 
Even when they are wrong

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