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Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm gonna shoot your laptop

In a completely unscientific poll, the hands-down winner of most popular video among my Facebook friends this week featured a father at his wit's end; a father with a loaded .45 and a point to prove. According to one blogger, Tommy Jordan's video rebuttal to his daughter's lack of honor-thy-father-and-mother cred has garnered more than fifteen million views and is the single most trending topic on the entire Internet. That's pep!

Hannah, you've been grounded for this before...

Unless you've been under a rock - or placed into a medical coma - you have seen, or at least heard of, the video where a somewhat cowboy-ish looking Jordan sits in a chair and reads the text of an expletive-filled Facebook rant his 15 year-old daughter posted on her wall denigrating her parents.

Dad then proceeds to explain to the camera how the young lady's life will be noticeably less pleasant in the near future; apparently, this was not the first time she had acted out, and dear old dad had apparently reached critical velocity.

And in a scene that fathers everywhere have no doubt dreamed of emulating, Mr. Jordan unloads the clip - in a nice tight grouping - into the lid of the young lady's laptop.

Take that, Dell!

                 we're going to have to punish you

Some of the reactions I've read so far are:
  • Mr. Jordan is a complete moron and has no clue how to raise children
  • Mr. Jordan is a hero to parents everywhere
  • Mr. Jordan cut off his nose to spite his face (since he'd just spent $150 fixing his daughter's computer
The name-calling crowd centers their argument around young Hannah's need to retain her self-esteem. I'm not saying children don't need self-esteem, but it seems to me - after listening to Mr. Jordan's response - that he was trying to give her some. Personally, I don't think the problem is a lack of self-esteem, it's more about where the young lady needs to find it.

Children here and there seem to pick up the idea that it's important to be popular, well-liked, free to do (more or less) what they want to do, and other somewhat self-centered criteria. Which I guess makes some sort of sense; after all it is called self-esteem.

So what the heck was Tommy "Clint Eastwood" Jordan trying to do? Torpedo his daughter's chances of leading a productive, well-adjusted life?

Shoot no! (In my opinion) He was trying to teach her self-esteem. You heard me right. Stay with me...

You may have noticed I didn't embed the video...frankly I didn't think I needed to - just Google 'Tommy Jordan' and it will probably be the first search result you get. But go and listen to it then ask yourself, what's wrong with a mom and dad trying to teach their daughter that it's important to help out around the house, appreciate the things she receives from her parents, be polite, know the value of hard work and to understand the value proposition of working to pay for some of the bells and whistles that go along with being a teenager in high school?

If you're a parent (and even if you're not) ask yourself, of the choices below, which would be the best foundation on which to base a young person's self-esteem:
  1. A totally superficial platform of popularity, perceived hipness, needing to have stuff that 'everyone else' has, living in your parent's home but not having any thought or desire to acknowledge in any way the (willing) sacrifices they've made to give you things they didn't have at your age, and finally the belief that it's okay to swear at your parents like the antagonist in an R-rated coming-of-age film?
  2. Or, growing up knowing that the best things in life are those that you've worked hard to achieve, having at least a rudimentary understanding of how hard it can be as a parent to be provider, teacher, CEO, counsellor, cook, bottle-washer and driver, based on the sure knowledge that, if nothing else, mom and dad love you unconditionally - even when they have to make hard and terribly unpopular decisions?
You know, I used to be a teenager - there were times that mom did not let me have my way. There were times that I didn't get things that I wanted. I was pretty slow, so it took me awhile to figure out that if I got a job, I could make some money and be able to buy a few of those things myself. And after joining the military at 18, making it through basic training and technical school, buying my first car, getting my own place, paying my own bills, I realized life wasn't so easy. Mom had done a pretty darn good job, after all.

So, with all due respect to the touchy-feely folks, I take my hat off to Mr. Jordan. With the assumption that he and Mrs. Jordan don't physically or verbally abuse Hannah, but are just trying to teach her the hard lessons of life the best way they know how - I say, "Good for you!"

And to our boys, I say, "Be glad your mother and I didn't have enough extra money - or a loaded .45 - when you were in high school and mouthing off. Because I'll tell you for true - it's a distinct possibility that I would've shot your laptop.

Love, Dad.


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