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It’s Not Just Different, It’s Better

Last month I read an article about New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara who is apparently referred to by some as the Black Tim Tebow because of his faith and commitment not to have sex with women he isn’t married to.

The story wasn’t negative, but the fact that it existed as a story at all was an indication of how an over-sexualized culture feels about people who believe sex is for marriage.

Isn’t that cute.

Then, last week, another story surfaced about a different NFL Player. Adrian Peterson is generally regarded as the best running back in football today.  Last year he had the second most rushing yards in NFL history in a season that started nine months after surgery for a torn ACL.

He’s a very, very impressive athlete.

But in this case he made headlines because of the tragic death of his two-year-old son; a son he didn’t know he had until only a few months prior.  He never even met the boy until he was in a coma as a result of the head injuries that took his life.

The man who thought he was the boy’s father wasn’t. A third man, the mother’s recent boyfriend who had a history of domestic violence, inflicted ultimately fatal wounds to the boys head.

Reports suggest that Peterson has between 5-7 children with at least four different women, none of whom he ever married.

After reading about the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of this little boy, I was reminded about reaction to the Prince Amukamara. Fellow Giants cornerback Jayron Hosley said, “He’s doing it for a reason, for something that he believes in, that he feels is right for him.  I respect that.”

Respectful bewilderment.  It’s cool to be boring, if that’s your thing.

But here’s the problem. Amukamara’s choice isn’t simply one choice of many equally good options, it’s better.

If you’re unconvinced, ask yourself this question. Would the world be a better place if more people acted like Adrian Peterson or Prince Amukamara?

The answer to that question is so obvious it isn’t even worth asking.

If men all decided not to have sex with women they weren’t married to, suddenly fatherlessness, with its tremendously negative impact on poverty, crime, suicide, and lack of educational achievement,  is no longer an issue.  Not to mention the benefits of a world without sexually transmitted infections, abortions, and infidelity.

But they assure us it isn’t realistic.  Boys will be boys.

The truth is, we’d rather lower the standard than feel like hypocrites.

So instead of applauding the Tebow’s and Amukamara’s of the world for being the examples they are, we put a bounty on their virginity.  We hope for their failure because their success makes us feel oddly bad about ourselves.

No, not every abandoned child is going to be beaten to death.  Thankfully, many turn out well because of the heroic efforts of single mothers, grand-parents, and others who fill the void. But here’s the reality:

  • Children in a single-parent household are twice as likely to suffer physical abuse
  • 63% of youth suicides involve children from fatherless homes
  • 90% of runaway children are from fatherless home (32 times the national average)
  • 85% of all children with behavior disorders are from fatherless homes (20 times the national average)
  • 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes (9 times the national average)

Dad’s, when we abandon our children we put them in danger.

Our children’s mothers, many of whom were abandoned by their dads before they were abandoned by us, deal with the emotional pain of a life experience that tells them they aren’t worth anything to a man unless they’re pleasing him sexually.

They try their best to be good moms, but it sure would be great to give their boys an example of what a man should be and give their girls a standard for what to look for in a man.

The fatherlessness problem is assisted by our cultural unwillingness to point out the bad decisions that have helped create it.

We can’t eliminate the law of cause and effect, but we can ignore it.  In our pursuit of “tolerance”, that’s exactly what we’ve done.  We have created a group morality in which we all get to sit mutely while people do incredibly harmful things.

Prince Amukamara and Adrian Peterson are not just providing examples of two different, but perfectly acceptable options.  They’re illustrations of the difference between good decisions and bad decisions.

No need to be spiteful or angry about it, but we should stop letting obvious teaching moments pass us by.

And as fate would have it, it turns out that little episode between two consenting adults a few years ago actually did affect someone else.

Men, don’t look for people who will help you feel better about your bad decisions.  Look for people who will help you discover the satisfaction that results from not being a slave to your urges. Set the standard. Do things that will make you proud of yourself.

Be Prince, not Adrian.  It’s not just different, it’s better.

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