Most nights when I climb into bed at the end of the day, I ask God for three things:
- The addition of 4 more hours to a 24-hour day
- Forgiveness for the gleeful mental images of pure ruin and nastiness I’ve envisioned for the people who’ve crossed me throughout my day
- The strength and wisdom to raise my kids in a way that does not jack them up into adulthood.
Now while I’m not very optimistic about the first request and I struggle with the second, I am pretty sure that I have been bestowed with an almost heavenly serenity and awareness when it comes to The Pack Kids because…well, they are still with us, ladies and gentlemen.
I say all that to say that raising children is HARD. It is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for the latest melanin-enriched rosy cheeked, curly-haired accessory of the week (shots fired, I know). It requires determination, resilience, patience, discipline (on both parts) and some basic common sense. There are no “instructions or owner’s manual”, but the basic understanding that for your efforts, there will be occasions when you will be loved and adored and other times (sometimes more frequently) when you will be loathed and have mustaches and horns drawn on your Mother’s Day portraits (that’s just me? Oh…oh, okay then). Still, as a parent who only wants the best for your child, you have to take the bad with the good and be unafraid of being the proverbial bad guy every now and again because you know that your resistance to negotiate with your kids’ terroristic demands or to acquiesce to their will is for their own good.
Having now stepped down from my soap box, I cannot imagine embodying these ideals for child rearing while being a celebrity. I mean, as a public figure, people are already critiquing your every move and misstep; to couple that with a public assessment of the way that you interact with your children (God forbid if you believe in spankings and get caught not “sparing the rod” in public) and just like that, you and your family are media fodder and you have regular appointments with Child Protective Services for the next 6 months.
I can’t speak for him personally, but I imagine that is sort of what Dr. Creflo Dollar is going through right about now, especially given his religious celebrity status here in the U.S. As reported by the NY Daily News:
Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar took to the pulpit in front of a packed house on Sunday to deny punching and choking his 15-year-old daughter, calling the accusations “an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
Dollar was arrested on Friday after the teen told police that he roughed her up and beat her with a shoe during an argument over whether she was allowed to go to a party, police said.
The Atlanta-based preacher’s other daughter, Alexandria, 19, backed her sister’s story, and cops noted the teen had red marks on her neck, signs of an apparent dust-up.
Dollar was charged with battery and cruelty to children.
He struck down the charges during a sermon at his World Changers Church International, his suburban Atlanta-based church that boasts 30,000 members and a host of satellite ministries across the U.S., according to The Associated Press.
“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” he said, after receiving an exuberant welcome from the faithful at his 8,500-seat sanctuary, known as the World Dome.
“I want you all to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household.”
The 50-year-old televangelist denied choking his daughter, saying the scratches on the girl’s neck were caused by the skin condition eczema, which she’s had for 10 years.
“The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched,” he said. “Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism.”
After the incident, Dollar told police that the fight started when he told the teen she couldn’t go to a party on Saturday night because her grades were poor.
On Sunday, he told the church, “The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.”
“I would never approach one of my children to intentionally inflict bodily harm. I love her with all my heart,” he said.
The father of five has built a multimillion dollar religious empire since starting the church in an elementary school in his hometown of College Park, Ga., in 1986.
He runs a weekly radio broadcast and has published more than 30 books preaching the “prosperity theology” message, which says God rewards the faithful with vast wealth.
His ministry has drawn criticism from detractors who have raised questions about his lavish lifestyle, including multimillion dollar homes in Atlanta and Manhattan, a private jet, two Rolls Royces other deluxe creature comforts.
On Sunday, he suggested that the media attention following his arrest was part of a plan to undercut his message, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
“The devil knows that in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger,” Dollar told his congregation.
To be clear, this post is in no way a means by which to discredit or detract from Creflo Dollar. With the exception of his gangster lean in Jermaine Dupri’s Welcome to Atlanta video, I have nothing against the man. I do not know what went on in his home to lead up to these allegations, so you won’t hear me judging him or his family. Further, I find the online comments that I’ve read following the various articles about Dollar both supporting his alleged actions as well as condemning them to be irresponsible and premature, especially since it is not yet clear what actually transpired at his home last Friday.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what a person’s socioeconomic and/or celebrity status is, if punching or choking a child registers as acceptable behavior in their mind, then they deserve to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The problem however, is proving this depravity in thinking and behavior.
For me personally, My Honey and I had to deal with an incident years ago where a parent of a teammate of my son basically accused my husband of abuse because said parent saw my kid get popped in the mouth for spitting on another child (the parent told other parents that he was concerned that my son was being abused). Of course, when the rumor mill had finally made its way full-circle, it turned out that the “accuser” had not actually seen any of the exchange between My Honey and son, only my son crying inconsolably and his father threatening to give him something to cry about if he did not hush, but by then the damage was already done (and while My Honey relished the notion that these group of parents believed that he whooped his kids, I took issue with the whole Angry Black Man label that they tried to affix on him…but I digress).
If nothing else, from this story, it is apparent that wealth and status do not a stable familial relationship necessarily make. This matter should also serve as a reminder to us as parents (and those of us who one day plan to be parents) of the serious commitment and mental fortitude that needs to be exercised in not only raising children, but ensuring that their core values and expectations in life are realistic and reflective of our own.