Image credit: http://www.nbcnews.com
Yolanda Veasley wasn’t playing when she took off after her son yesterday as he attempted to participate in the Baltimore riots, that began shortly after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old black man, who died from a spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody. I have been contemplating since yesterday how, or even if, I should respond to the video of the mom “beating her son” during the riots in an attempt to get him to leave the premises . Ms. Veasley has made national news in the aftermath of the riots and has even been hailed “Mom of the Year” in some instances. I wasn’t sure if I agreed with how she handled the situation or was embarrassed by what appeared to be an uncontrollable rant by a black woman.
As a mother, and specifically as a mother raising three black males, I can certainly relate to the anger and disappointment she must have felt as she witnessed her son take part in such innappropriate behavior. The way she took off after him was actually slightly amusing. Just like a mother…we find all types of energy when it comes to our children. Despite all the cameras, people and police presence, Ms. Veasley made it clear to her son and everyone who witnessed that she was NOT going to tolerate that kind of behavior from her only son.
As I listened to her comments regarding the incident I gained much respect for a mother who would take the initiative and be bold enough to discipline her son in the midst of all the confusion and commotion. Discipline is defined as “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience”. Whether we agree with her methods or not, considering her son’s age and size, her options for punishment were limited. Time out wouldn’t do it. And taking away electronics or privileges wouldn’t have addressed the urgency of the situation. She could either “beat” him or let the cops beat him (possibly to death). Which would you choose?
I am a firm believer in being careful about saying how you would handle a situation when you have not been in it. Therefore, it is not my desire to criticize her for the decision she made…as a concerned mother. I am pretty sure it was her desire as a mother to keep her son from being another statistic. I am pretty sure she was concerned about her son’s safety and wanted him out of that environment. I am pretty sure she did not agree with him throwing objects at police officers and had taught him better than that. I am pretty sure she was disappointed to see her son acting in a way inconsistent with what she has taught him about how to treat others. And, I am most certain that she loves her son. So, who am I to say otherwise?
It is our responsibility as parents to teach, discipline and protect our children. That may come in many different forms and we may use different techniques. However, I believe we can all agree on this: We want the best for our children and desire that they grow up to be law-abiding, productive citizens.
Until next time-
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV)
A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. (Proverbs 29:15 NIV)