Monday, November 24, 2008

What Possesses...

We've all heard this phrase in various forms in the past. "What possessed..."

What possessed him/her/them to do that? What possessed us to go there? What possesses us to feel this way?

We use it as a means to find justification, as a way of saying that there is no way that this could have been by our own hands. We mean it in the sense that something else must have made us do it.

Some of you may have heard of this story from yesterday. I first caught wind of it on the AM CNN station on my car radio last night. It is not graphic, but it is extremely sad.

What possessed this young man to take his own life prematurely? What possessed him to do it live on the internet. From all of my research, I can't find where somewhere has ever committed suicide publicly via the web.

(You can access the story at by clicking the picture)

The story sticks out to me because of the quoted words from the father of Abraham Biggs, Jr.

"We were very good friends".

My son and I call each other "best friends". We often talk about how we don't lie to each other because that's not what best friends do. We don't want to hurt each other. We don't want to make the other sad.

My son came to me Saturday night and told me the truth.

Connor had gone to the neighbor's house to watch Wall-E with Greyson. (Some of you may remember Greyson from the video below)

After watching the movie, Ray (Greyson's father) asked the boys to clean up Greyson's room before Connor left. Greyson obliged. Connor told Mr. Ray, "No."

He had his 5 year old reasons. He was afraid that if he stayed and helped, "you and mama would go to bed without me and I would have to sleep at Greyson's". This was a viable, albeit illogical, concern. It only masked the fact that he simply didn't want to have to clean. He hates to clean.

I am from the South. We do things differently. Shield your eyes or skip this paragraph if you are against corporal punishment. Connor received a spanking. He doesn't always get a spanking for disobedience but occasionally he does. This particular time, he did.

Afterwards, we discussed it. We always do. He understood the reasons behind his punishment for being disobedient. My five year old knows that he is supposed to tell the truth, no matter the consequences.

I'll put my kid up against any other his age 10 years from now that has not been raised under the same principle and I'll show you a better kid in Connor. I'll show you a kid that knows how to "own up" to his decisions, his actions. I'll show you a kid that knows the value of honesty.

I can't speak for the father in this story, I can only quote him. I would never doubt or question the integrity of his words, that he and his son were "very good friends".

But as a father, this story terrifies me and makes me want to make sure I'm involved in my son's life in every aspect that he'll allow me. It causes me to want to hold him more, tell him I love him constantly, and lose my temper less.

My heart goes out to the family of this young man. And, although I can't speak for the father's relationship with his son, I can speak for mine with Connor.

Connor is my best friend and I could never imagine losing him in such a tragic way. If you have children at home, give them an extra hug today and try to keep this families suffering in mind.

Whatever we have to do as parents to guard against the pressures they face, we must.


Anonymous said...

Good for you for instilling values in your children. While spanking does not work for all kids, I believe it should be considered as an option in punishment. I truly believe that it depends on the child. We found spanking to be very effective with our first son (now 9 years old and almost never a trouble-maker), but with our second son it didn't phase him. What got him was taking away toys/video games. He's also a good kid, still has some maturing to do at 6 (but then, so do I at 33), but he rarely gets in trouble anymore either. Discipline is very important in parenting, and I commend you for your stand.

PerfectMomentProject said...

I'm so glad Connor and you are best friends. I hope he will always feel safe enough with you to be honest no matter what the consequences.
We miss you over at Perfect Moment Project. Glad to see you're doing well. Stop by again sometime.