This is Tommy Jordan. He created a YouTube video last week describing a Facebook status from his daughter. I won’t link to the video because the language is harsh. It was shared quite openly on Facebook. If you haven’t seen it, search on YouTube.
Here’s the gist: Mr. Jordan’s daughter posted on Facebook a letter bathed in obscenities and disrespect. She tried to hide it from her parents by “unfriending” them, but dad found her prose. He responded by filming an 8-minute video in which he read the letter, offered feedback to his daughter, fired six bullets into the offending computer with a .45, and posted the whole thing on YouTube.
At the writing of this blog, he had over 23 million hits on the video. He’s gone viral and was, admittedly, surprised by the number of comments.
As a father of four–two of them teenagers–I have thoughts about Mr. Jordan’s parenting techniques. Since he posted those techniques in public view, I feel invited to share my thoughts.
- His daughter needs discipline. She acted out of line. She used words and attitude that can’t stand. He had to do something.
- He was hurt. If I put myself in his shoes, a letter like that doesn’t just make me angry; I become angry because of the pain. I’m sure he works hard at fatherhood; I’m also confident he’s made mistakes along the way. I know I have. Despite the mistakes, most dads like to think they’re not all that bad. When you combine the language, attitude and emotion from his daughter’s letter, the natural response from Mr. Jordan is a heavy and hurting heart.
- Fifteen-year-olds tend to overreact. The letter from his daughter is clearly an overreaction to her circumstances. She’s interpreting her life through a set of lenses that aren’t fully developed yet. She senses injustice and figures a strongly worded Facebook post is the cure. 15-year-olds, though, aren’t known for their balanced approach to life.
- Fathers shouldn’t overreact. Mr. Jordan should balance his emotions better. I thought age and experience helped parents handle stress better than their children. We’re not supposed to fire back with the same kind of emotional tantrum used by children. His emotionalism causes him to use weak arguments, hurtful words, and a shock ending that’s impossible to undo.
I think the thing that bothers me more than anything is the overwhelming support he’s received from other parents. They’re living vicariously through his actions. He’s become the poster-boy for parents with emotional students. His daughter needs discipline. I can relate with his frustration. But what lesson is taught here? More importantly what lesson is learned? It looks to me like those are two totally different lessons.
The bar for good parenting has just been lowered, and I have no doubt we’re going to see more such responses on YouTube in the future.
Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 talk about the dangers of exasperating and creating bitterness in your children. Devotion and reverence need to balance discipline and the rod. Yes, we must discipline our children when they misbehave, but this is best done in a loving and careful way. This dad neglected to protect his daughter or create a safe environment for failure and growth.
When I make mistakes, I’m really grateful my Heavenly Father doesn’t post his disappointment on a social network.
Do you agree or disagree with the way Tommy Jordan handled his crisis? Be sure to leave a comment below or you can click here.