Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why Joe Pa Should Be No Different From the Average Joe: A Parenting Pundit's Thoughts On Paterno




I awoke this morning to confirmed reports that Joe Paterno, famed and disgraced Penn State coach, had passed away from complications of cancer. He was the coach who won more games than anyone in major college football, but was fired amid a child sex abuse scandal that scarred his reputation for winning with integrity. The man known as "Joe Pa" won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL. Hmmm...All of these accolades would have sounded far more impressive to me prior to November 2011. (I blogged previously about my feelings here.)

First and foremost, I do want to say that I feel for Paterno's family. Losing a loved one is painful whether expected or unexpected. However, I would not be the parenting pundit and child advocate that I say that I am if I did not share my thoughts. Sooo....

I have to publicly admit that the Christian g struggles with my honest feelings about Paterno's passing. I would never...ever...EVER rejoice in anyone's death or pain. I believe that there is a God who ultimately is the final judge and jury for all that happens on earth. However, aside from sadness...I felt numb when I read the reports of Paterno's death. I wish that I was the all forgiving kind of Christian. But, I am troubled by Paterno's lack of action in this situation.

He admitted that he was taken aback by accusations that a former assistant (Sandusky) had raped a boy in the school showers in 2002. "I didn't know exactly how to handle it, and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," he told The Washington Post in an extensive two-day interview at his home in State College, Pa. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people. People I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way." Nope, indeed, it did not.

Here's the thing, millions of people do exactly what Joe Pa did in the famed Penn State scandal...not enough to protect children when they know that they are being molested or abused in some way. The difference here is that Paterno's situation made international news. So, in my opinion.... the Average Joe is no different from Joe Pa. I am no harder on Paterno than I have ever been on others. I don't care if you slither out of the alley, or you are a celebrity with billions in the bank! When it comes to abuse against children, we cannot be swayed by money, prestige, championship rings, hit records, or clout. Wrong is wrong. While I understand that that Paterno has done marvelous things for college athletics over the course of his career, it is my belief that he was also negligent in not doing more for the alleged victims.

Perhaps there is something to be learned of this tragic story. My insight: No one wants to hear that something so heinous is/ has happened to a child. However, you cannot pass the buck and think that the next person will better handle the situation. We as individuals must imperatively make sure that we take personal responsibility to stop the abuse and alert the police. Every time....





An open and honest blog about what matters most...Children and families!!!

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