Minnesota Vikings’ superstar, Adrian Peterson, is in trouble. If you follow sports at all you doubtless know Peterson was arrested for what prosecutors identified as child abuse. That abuse was caused by Peterson punishing his son by whipping him with a switch. Some have reported he beat his 4-year-old child with a tree limb or a wooden stick. How it was reported probably depends on the reporter’s opinion of corporal punishment.
As an aside, when I was a youngster I was also punished by the infamous switch. I was even required by my mother to go out back and cut my own switch and it had to be from a peach tree because they had little knobs on them that were particularly painful. I remember well the marks on my legs from the whippings. I don’t, however, remember ever having open skin, just little marks that quickly went away. In school the principal had a big wooden paddle which we called the “board of education” and he used it regularly. Corporal punishment was common in all the schools back then.
I never doubted my mother loved me. I’m sure as I sit here today this is what she knew and this is probably how she was punished as a child herself. She was a young country girl who had three children by the time she was 22 years old. In other words, she didn’t know any better.
I chose, as a young father, not to use corporal punishment on my children. I felt then, as I do today, other forms of punishment were just as effective and my theory has proven correct as both of my children have become good citizens and great adults.
It’s been reported Adrian Peterson was himself punished as a child by use of the switch. I am sure he never intended to abuse his little 4-year-old, but I have seen the pictures of the legs of this child. They show clearly open wounds from an obvious beating. To me this is appalling. You make your own decision as the courts will also.
I reported earlier Peterson was in trouble; well it doesn’t end with this allegation. No, it seems he also failed a court-mandated drug test just last week. He showed up for his drug test stoned and admitted to having used a little “weed.” As of this writing, prosecutors have applied to have him re-arrested and have his bail rescinded. This is going from bad to worse.
Personally, I have long admired Peterson’s ability to run the football, but apparently running the football and making millions of dollars doing so doesn’t make you smart. And I wonder as I look at this situation, does he truly think the rules don’t apply to him? Has he, in reading his press clippings, come to believe he is somehow above the law? Well he’s about to learn that he isn’t.
Finally, I believe there is a vast difference between loving punishment of a misbehaving child and overt child abuse. Children have to learn right from wrong. The only way they are going to know is if they are shown and sometimes shown vividly. If love is a part of that experience, then the results will be positive.