On Labor Day weekend, a retired NFL football player, Ryan Holloway had his home in upstate New York trashed by 300 teenagers. They spray painted the walls, peed on the floor, broke furniture and fixtures. All total, there was about $20,000 worth of major damage done. These were real crimes.
And then…they posted pictures of their destructive behavior on the internet. They partied hardy and then bragged to the world about their escapade.
But social media works both ways, and with the help of the evidence posted on line, the owner of the home was able to identify those responsible. But instead of reporting their identities to the authorities, Mr. Holloway had some compassion. He thought that pressing charges and sending the kids through the harsh judicial system would result in them having permanent records. So instead, he posted the pictures on a website he designed called, “helpmesave300.com.” He invited those involved and their parents to show up on a Saturday to apologize, paint, clean up the place and return the stolen property.
You might say…”nice guy.” But the parents didn’t see it that way. Even though the pictures and information had already been posted by their own kids as they bragged about their demolishing the home, the parents took umbrage that Mr. Holloway had “called them out.” They are threatening to sue him.
What is wrong with this picture? Everything. And it is wrong on two levels. First, of course the kids were wrong and should have taken full responsibility. They should have been grateful that he wasn’t going to press charges and they should have done everything they could to make it right…starting with a heartfelt apology.
And the parents…they should have grabbed their child by the scruff of their neck and marched them down to the Holloway house …paint brush in hand!
Last week a younger student got caught taking a dollar from a friend and buying an ice cream for them self. Although it is a minor matter, the teacher thought it was very important to confront the student and make sure an apology was given and the dollar returned. That is how you build character in young people.
Parents, this week let’s make sure that you see your child through clear lenses. If they do wrong, it is on them. Don’t take it as a reflection of you and try to avoid its exposure. Little things grow…little bad habits become big bad habits. Own up. Take responsibility. It may not be fun, but it matters.
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel