1.16.2012

What the Suh


My son Aaron's tantrums are well documented on my Huang Kid Khronicles blog. He's made considerable progress in this area, though he still has his moments. It's taken all Amy and I have, but when the sirens go on, we rein in our inner boiling and do our best to starve the fire by not feeding the boy any attention in response. If we do communicate with him on this issue, it is to calmly say things like "we don't use tantrums," the thought being that it is our job to teach the boy that you don't get what you want by making a stink.

Except that in reality, being a little bit of a bad boy is often a prerequisite to greatness. I had to do a double take this morning when, while feverishly racing through yesterday's playoff football games, I thought I saw Ndamukong Suh making a guest appearance during CBS's pregame show. Suh has developed a bit of a reputation around the league, his biggest infraction being his stomping of a downed opponent during a Thanksgiving Day game. I didn't actually watch the pregame shoe but can guess that he was penitent and cooperative, while his co-hosts alternated between being gracious, tiptoeing around his past trangressions, and tactfully addressing those issues head-on.

My point is not to chastise or salute CBS for giving Suh the air time, or to explore their motives for doing so. It's just to say that, in our modern society, we may think we want good boys and girls, but we actually reward hotheadedness. And I'm not talking about how we fawn over Hollywood's bad boys, although that is an example. It seems, whether in sports, politics, or business, we want our heroes to have a little edge. As Puritanical our national upbringings, we in this country give wide berth to the fallen, the flawed, and the tempestuous.

What's a dad to do with a defiant child? Of course, I'm going to play it straight. But if we don't quite work all the tantrums out of Aaron's system, I hope that at least he can use them productively, so many successful people in this country have.

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