Thursday, November 29, 2012

When Adults Bully Kids

As usual, I began my daily routine by responding to emails, and doing a quick perusal of the gripping headlines. By 8:00 am, I was aware that 1) Lindsey Lohan is again residing in her home away from home after a bar brawl, and 2) This world is filled with more idiots than we want to admit. I’m not going to address the Lindsey situation because….well….It’s too sad to watch a young woman with such potential kill herself slowly (sigh). Instead, I’m going to focus on the man who has won my Sad Excuse For a Human/Parent Award. His name is William Bailey.

I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of him. I only became acquainted with his name this morning over my morning cup of java. He’s from Ohio, and until November 27, 2012 he was just a run-of-the-mill  Low Life. Now he’s a Low Life in jail….for teasing and mocking 10-year-old Hope Knight who has cerebral palsy. His actions were caught on film by Hope’s grandmother. The footage shows Bailey dragging his leg and patting his arm across his chest while he picked his son up from the bus stop. Hope’s mother asked him to stop because she knew that Hope could see what he was doing. This is when Low Life Bailey encourages his son to “walk like the ret@rd” too. The 9-year-old is then seen mimicking his father by dragging his leg as he walked.

Honest to goodness, pundits, my blood boiled as I read the report and then watched the Youtube video that Hope’s family posted. How could anyone…NO MATTER WHAT…do something so cruel to a child??? What infuriated me the most (aside from imaging how Hope and her family must have felt) is that this despicable behavior was modeled to Bailey son. Clearly, I am not alone in my outrage because after the Knights filed a complaint with the Canton City prosecutors, charges were filed. Bailey, who works as a truck driver, was charged twice. He was originally charged for aggravated menacing after the sheriff was called when he swung a “tow chain on his porch, saying he would choke [Hope’s mother] until [she] stopped twitching. The second charge, for the incident at the bus stop incident, was disorderly conduct. A disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor and carries no jail time. However, the former carries a maximum of 30 days in jail in Ohio. He was formally sentenced to 29 days in jail on Nov. 27th.  Hopefully, Bailey will use every bit of his time behind bars to reassess his actions and make a complete personality change. Highly doubt it….but one can dream.

Hope’s mother told news reports that the plea deal enabled the sentence to cover his actions towards Hope because they were interrelated. It appears that the Knights have had many problems with the Baileys over the years. The fact that they are next door neighbors I’m sure compounds the issue as well. According to Hope’s mother, Bailey’s son came to their hose to play with Hope last summer. This culminated in him pulling out a pocket knife and threatening to “cut [Hope] up. The harassment continued throughout the school year.

This story represents the worst in human behavior. It proves, yet again, that people can be careless with others’ feelings. It also proves my longstanding belief that folks need to undergo IQ and personality testing before being allowed to conceive;) While it may be too late for Bailey Sr., I pray that Baily Jr. has others in his life that will model for him how to treat others, and why being biased against others that are different from you is simply wrong. Hope, who was born at 29 weeks after her mother was involved in a head-on collision, has endured two brain injuries. Her loving mother says that she has fought for her life time and time again. She should not have to fight for her dignity. So to Bailey…and all the past and future Sad Excuse For a Human/Parent Award recipients… SHAME ON YOU!

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beauty In The Eye Of A Father

I shook my head when I read the statement that  Oxonian Globalist writer Alice Robb recently made in an article in which she criticized President Barack Obama's choice to describe his two daughters as beautiful during his victory speech.  "It is difficult to imagine a president congratulating his sons for being handsome. So why was it appropriate for Obama to praise 11-year-old Sasha and 14-year-old Malia for their beauty?" she posted. 

My initial reaction after reading the article was that Ms. Robb must have had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to write about on that particular day.  Then I reflected on my own children, and how often I tell them that they are beautiful, pretty, handsome, adorable, cute, and yummy.  Ummmm...the unofficial tally is roughly 25 times a day (give or take).  After all, I see absolutely nothing wrong in speaking the truth (wink wink). 

All kidding aside, I also instill in my kids that there is more to life than the superficial.  However, it is also critically important that they have a solid sense of self-esteem.  What better way to cultivate that then to show your child that you think the world of them?  

I could go on...and on, but I received an email this week from Corey Crawley who is the co-founder of an company that specializes in inspiring self-esteem and confidence in young girls.  His email took the words right out of my mouth.  Here it is:

As the Co-Founder of Pretty Brown Girl and the father of two African American daughters, I am shocked and appalled that our President would be at all questioned about giving his daughters adoration as it relates to their beauty. This is exactly why my wife and I started the Pretty Brown Girl Movement. A lack of nurturing, specifically from the father, severely affects the self esteem of any girl- but in particular, girls of color. In a world that edifies physical attributes that are opposite of our daughters as beautiful, if we don’t call our girls beautiful, who will? We should not apologize for giving our daughters the love and affection they need and deserve that encourages them to Dream Big and to remember that they are beautiful inside and out. Shall we rely on television, magazines or images of fairy tale princesses to define our daughter’s beauty?

The connection between the relationship a girl has with her father and her overall self esteem is extremely significant. As the father is the first to teach a girl how special she is, this is a bond that should be handled with care. Equally important, is for Fathers to let their daughters know that they are intelligent and capable of reaching all of their goals and dreams. I believe, however, in a world that puts so much pressure and emphasis on girls and women as it is related to unrealistic images and ideals of beauty, it is imperative that Fathers stand in the gap to let their little girls know that they are beautiful inside and out. Most women who seek attention in negative ways rarely had the proper love and nurturing from their own fathers. If a father or father-figure was not present or involved in the raising of his daughter this too has a negative impact on her relationships and her own self image and confidence. The message to Fathers is: there is no such thing as too much positive attention as it relates to giving compliments to your daughter. Give love, it makes the world a happier place. I call every brown girl I meet a "Pretty Brown Girl". You never know, it could be the first time that they will ever hear those simple yet powerful words. ~Corey Crawley, Co-Founder Pretty Brown Girl

Indeed, it could very well be the very first time they may have ever heard these loving words.  So fear not dads...and moms!  The word beautiful continues to be a term of endearment.  So feel free to use it recklessly.  Now lets focus on removing words like stupid from the parenting vernacular...ijs.                                                                              

About Pretty Brown Girl
Founded in 2010, Pretty Brown Girl, LLC, is a company whose mission is to encourage girls to celebrate the beautiful shades of brown while inspiring positive self-esteem and confidence. In addition to the Pretty Brown Girl T-Shirt line, the brand includes "Laila", the first ever Pretty Brown Girl doll, along with accessories, programs and curriculum.

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