#ThanksBaby For Saving Me

It’s said that the world is full of second chances, however; it’s also said you never get a second chance to make a first impression. These two sayings pretty much sum up how I feel I have fared over the last five years and two kids worth of parenting.

When my daughter was born last year, she was my second chance. She was a breath of fresh air. She was, and has continued to be, everything I dreamed it would be when my son was born five years ago…and then subsequently wasn’t. She is amazing. She showed me I was, in fact, capable of doing everything I felt like I failed at the first time around; that I am good parent. And yes, this may sound melodramatic, but I feel like she saved me in a way. Continue reading

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Boudreaux’s Butt Paste: #KickingRash on Your Daily Annoyances

Kids are gross. There, I said it. For every moment someone wants to share some super-cute or adorable picture of their kid on social media, I think they should be forced to share at least 10 pictures of their kids when they’re not-so-cute.

You know, like when they have snot running down their face, or they’re sneezing without covering their mouth – which all parents know, somehow the spit from said sneeze ALWAYS lands on you…mainly in the facial region. Continue reading

To Be a Dad is to Be Flawed, and Loved

I’ve talked before how I wasn’t ever sure I wanted to have kids of my own. I was content in being selfish. I enjoyed not having any major responsibilities, outside of paying my rent, and having enough money to go hang out with my friends after the bills were paid.

Even after I started dating my wife; we would go on winery tours or weekend-long trips to Vegas at a moment’s notice like we didn’t have a care in the world. Because we didn’t. Then this funny thing happens. You get married, you start taking life a little more seriously; you start settling down, and naturally the conversation of having kids comes up. Even then, I wasn’t sure I wanted kids.
Continue reading

Potty Training: The Real Game of Thrones

It must be noted that this post was written a few months ago for a anthology submission. It was not accepted (clearly) so I am sharing it with you. We were in the throws of potty training at the time, and it was not going well. Let’s just say it was crap. Luckily I can report things are better; not much, but at least a little. Enjoy.
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I sit here, staring at you, while you stare right back at me. This is a dance we’ve done many times, and that defiant look in your eyes lets me know we will do this many more times to come.

You mother and I have tried everything to convince you of the benefits of not only using the potty, but of not urinating on or soiling yourself, yet somehow our days still end with a debate of whether we can salvage your undies or we should throw them out. You continue to refuse to use the potty; instead you seem to almost enjoy the feeling of the grotesque warmth of your bowl movements against your skin.

This time spent together has really helped me come to some valuable realizations; most importantly is that you are truly your father’s son. By that I mean you are a creature of not only habit but of comfort as well; and you see no reason to change.
This would explain why you still routinely run behind the chair in the living room to handle your business. Your mother and I, hearing the tell-tale strains and grunts of someone struggling with their daily download, call out to you and ask if you are indeed pooping and would like to try the potty, only to be met with, “OH NO, poopies!” Oh no indeed my friend.

It would also explain why you seem to only feel the need to poop when either we are just about to leave the house, or your mother and I personal favorite, right as we are putting food in our mouths. Because nothing caps off a hearty breakfast like your son grunting like a frat boy recovering from a bender the night before, and the wafting smell of last night’s dinner that would make a stranger think we feed you dead rats. How does a smell like THAT come from something as small as you?

And finally, now I understand why you only want to poop at home. Hey, this one I’m not too upset about. It definitely has made life easier on me and your mother. In your short three years we have happily never experienced a blowout while in public, and rarely have we ever had to struggle to find a bathroom with a changing table. My only request here would be that maybe you work in a dump or two a week at daycare. I mean really, we pay them enough to take care of you all week, let them handle some of the literal shit-work once in a while.

On occasion you toy with us by asking to sit on the potty, giving us just enough hope so when you predictably crush it, we won’t hurtle ourselves out of a third-story window. In a weird stroke of irony your favorite book to read right now is Everyone Poops; and you love reading it ass-naked while sitting on the potty, but you know what you’re not doing; pooping, so that book is a liar!
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All your defiance and insistence on not using the potty has given me great pause how you might handle difficult situations later in life; more specifically once you have left the comfort of the only home you’ve ever known and are on your own.
You see son, there’s a saying I’m sure you will hear many times in your life which is, “Either shit, or get off the pot.” This saying is designed to help someone make difficult decisions. To give them that boost when they are stuck, sitting there, much you like you are now. It’s meant to help that person accomplish what they once set out to do, once and for all.
You have two sides to this equation. On one side you have the choice to get off the pot, but getting off the pot is tantamount to quitting, to giving up, to not accomplishing what you came to do. Where on the other side of the equation you have….well, shit. Hold on, hear me out. Shitting equals success! That’s right, shitting on the pot is a positive thing, and is probably the only time in your life when shitting on something will be literally viewed as a good thing.

If I could impart any wisdom to you, not only as your father, but as someone who has experienced life a little bit longer than you have, and has had my fair share of shit or get off the pot moments, it is this:

Shit on the pot, Son!

In your still infantile stage of life you have certainly mastered the art of getting off the pot. I would not encourage you to make this your modus operandi when faced with difficult decisions as an adult.

Your mother and I will not always be there to help you. Sure, for the next 18 years while you still live at home we will be your biggest cheerleaders, as well as your biggest kick in the pants to get you moving. But the reality is, we’re not always going to be around to nudge you to make the right choice, nor should we be depended upon to make decisions for you.

Life is going to present you with ample opportunities to get off the pot; to play it safe; to not take the risk. I say, shit on that pot, Son; take a chance; jump off that cliff (NOT LITERALLY, that’s dangerous!).

I tell you this because while you have spent many of your early days (and I hope many more as you get older) looking up to me, seeing me in almost super-hero-like status, I would ask that you not be like me.

I spent much of my youth scared to take risks. I frequently played it safe, and rarely put myself out there. This led to taking jobs I did not like, simply to pay the bills, and not taking the time to really foster my passions in life. Of course meeting your mother and having you has helped to change that, but I certainly regret the time missed and the risks not taken.
Of course, not every shit is going to turn into a great opportunity, and yes your time on the pot will have been nothing better than a waste, but with every time you stay on that pot instead of getting up and giving up, you will gain valuable life lessons and experiences that you can never put a price on, and you’ll avoid a lot of stomach pains from gas and back up.

I know none of this will make any sense to you right now; I just hope one day when we do have this conversation, or more likely when you read all that I have written about you over the years, you understand that as your father, I just want to see you be the best shitter you can be.

But for now, please…just shit on the pot, Son….diapers are expensive.

Dear ScaryMommy, Marginalizing Dads is a Scary Mistake

Since becoming a father, I, like many people, have spoken up about dads playing more of an involved role in the upbringing of their children — as well as how this increased involvement is still not only being downplayed, but even ridiculed by so many. And being the kind of person who loves to whip out my soapbox from time to time, I never have a problem when it comes to defending fellow dads.

This year has been unofficially deemed the year of the dad. We’ve seen some pretty big strides taken to help break down the stereotypes of the idiot dad, but it still feels like we have a long way to go. For every hip and cool commercial, like #HowtoDad from Cheerios and the call to celebrate dads with Real Dad Moments by Dove Body Care, we still encounter examples of dads being marginalized on a daily basis. Some men even face particularly harsh criticism; such was the case with baseball player Daniel Murphy, who took off the three days of paternity leave granted to each player by the MLB to attend the birth of his son. Because that paternity leave conflicted with opening day, Murphy was subjected to major criticism by many in the media. Even long-time family traditions like apple picking are not safe from those who would like to drum up a laugh at dad’s expense. Don’t believe me, just look at the picture below:
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The picture above was taken just this past September at a farm in Massachusetts where they offer apple picking, but only if children, and dads, are under strict supervision. The man who took this picture, Aaron Gouveia from the Daddy Files, wrote a stellar and pointed response detailing why stunts like this (that companies will claim were all done in the name of jokes and a good old-fashioned ribbing) are ultimately dangerous to our sons and daughters, who grow up with the idea of dad being less valuable than mom.

Look, I get that there are many out there who will say that people need to lighten up or not take things so seriously, and I’m all for a good joke. But if we continue to push these kinds of messages — specifically, the message that dad is less than mom — and just write them off as jokes, then we as a society are doing a major disservice to our young sons. Because one day those little boys will grow up to be men, even fathers, who think that it’s OK to put less time into raising their children because society said so. Thus, the cycle of diminished male involvement will continue to grow, and for what? A cheap laugh?

I wish I could say that this stereotyping of men and fathers was isolated to ignorant companies and media looking to drum up attention (because as we all know, even bad press can be good press), but it’s not. It’s unfortunately happening in the home as well. There are still plenty of women who think taking pot-shots at their husbands’ competency, or lack thereof, is acceptable.

I recently read a post by author/blogger Toni Hammer that, in my opinion, continues to reinforce many of the ugly stereotypes dads are still facing, hiding behind the claim of it all being done in good fun or satire. To be honest, I’m uncomfortable even linking to it, but I think it’s important for people to see that much of the struggle many men/fathers are facing begins right at home, and is being perpetuated by the very people who are supposed to be their biggest supporters: their partners.

In the post, the author tries to relate a birth story from the point of view of a husband. Not her husband, I might add — just some random dude.

While still speaking as herself, Hammer equates women telling their birth stories to veterans comparing war stories and battle scars, saying, “We’ve all been in the trenches and wanna know what happened when a fellow solider was there, too.”

As an actual veteran, I was offended by that. She even went on to pretend the man in her story told his friends the birth process was “like going to war. It was awesome.” This is objectionable on so many levels. I have not given birth myself, so would never presume to know the difficulty and pain that can be involved – and I don’t think people should make assumptions the other way around, either. I would feel the same way about an announcer at a sporting event saying players are “warriors” or are “on the field of battle”; these comments are ill advised and, frankly, ignorant. There are some things in this world that you do not use as a comparison to anything else, and being a veteran with “battle scars” is right up there. You know what else is on that list? Giving birth!

The entire post was just one men-are-morons yuk yuk joke after another. Listing every single one would literally take up my entire post, but here are a few, just so you get my point:

1 – Husband says he was too busy to pay attention to his wife going through active labor at home because he was watching an abs workout infomercial.

2- Husband stubs his toe on the way out to the hospital and contemplates asking the doctor to check out his foot after caring for his wife because “all doctors are the same, right?”

3 – Husband falls back asleep after wife tells him baby is close to arriving.

4 – Husband talks about the size of his wife’s lady parts, calling them “huge,” and then refers to his wife as his “warrior princess” and his son as his “future linebacker.”

Each poorly-told joke felt like a kick to the face, pushing dads/men rung after rung back down the ladder of progress we have been working hard to climb. As a whole the article came off as closed-minded, marginalizing, and most of all overtly sexist towards men.

Of all the examples listed above, my concerns are best summed up in example 4. Because you know, all men talk about their wives’ downtown situation to their friends, call their wives by demeaning pet names, and envision their sons as a future linebackers. Hey, you’re not a real man unless you like football.

I would suggest that the next time Hammer wants to write a piece relating how the opposite sex would react or retell something as personal as a birth story, she should perhaps, I don’t know, talk to a few men to figure out how they remember their children being born. Had she done that, I’m confident she would have found more descriptive terms like “breathtaking,” “greatest moment of my life,” “pure joy,” or “no words could explain how awesome it was” — and less war, blood, vampire references, and all things Bro.
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I realize in the world of blogging and writing that being provocative, and even inflammatory at times, gets more views and clicks than actually being earnest and heartfelt. Many have even come to Hammer’s defense, saying men need to lighten up because it was simply satire. But this article was anything but satire; it was simply mean, and in my opinion, this is where Hammer and the site that hosted her article failed as a whole — because the topic of birth, and furthermore the role fathers play in the process, deserves better than to be treated as a punchline in an awful joke.

That Time My Marriage Almost Ended, And Why That’s a Good Thing

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In the fall of 2012, my 3 year marriage to the love of my life was moments away from being over. My wife and I had many heated arguments during which the dreaded word divorce was shouted with such anger that, to this day, I continue to wonder how we came out the other side.

But much like that dreaded first step into a cold swimming pool, I know it’s time I take a deep breath and step off the side of the pool if I ever want to enjoy the freedom and joy that comes from a refreshing swim. Yes, it’s going to suck at first, but in the end there is a much needed benefit. For me, right now, the benefit I’m looking for is the unblocking of my mind; a release from the baggage that continues to weigh me down and impact my well-being. Allow me to back up a bit before we move forward.

Like many first time parents, that first year of my son’s life was really hard on the Wife and me. For reasons we couldn’t pinpoint, our history of meeting in the middle and balancing out one another, was eluding us.

We dealt with a great deal of stress during October-December of 2011. My Wife sadly lost her grandmother, we had a scare at 20 weeks where we thought our son was coming early, family drama throughout the holidays, and finally a couple we associated with gave birth to their son about 5 weeks before us, and named him the same name we were going to name our son. Yes, it’s laughable NOW to think of how worked up we got over the whole naming situation, but try explaining that to an almost 8 month pregnant woman.

Having some distance, I am able to look back and recognize these were simply excuses for our troubles. The real reason we were having issues is because we weren’t communicating. Simply put, we weren’t talking, our communication was broken. At least not about the things that didn’t involve sleep training, feeding and diaper duty. We neglected to communicate about the stuff that mattered most: Us.

So fast forward almost a year later. Our son was very difficult in his first year. No, that’s not fair to him. He was typical baby, maybe a bit more cranky than others, but normal nonetheless. It was his parents that were not well.

Unresolved stress from the prior year, was now growing with the addition of new stress. It all continued to pile up – stress of a cranky baby, a very difficult bout of postpartum depression, my own person life-long struggles with depression. And thanks to the continued presence of social media, it felt as if all we saw were other couples with children the same age as our son bragging about how awesome life was, and how kick-ass they were at being new moms and dads. I swear to everything holy, if I saw one more “#Blessed,” coupled with a pictures of an angelic baby with smiling, seemingly well-rested parents, I was going to go on a homicidal rampage.

We spent more time sitting around hating the kind of parents/people we weren’t while being angry at each other, that we failed to invest even one second in our marriage and, even more importantly, ourselves.

We tried, on occasion, to be that better person and support one another, even in our supremely broken state. Most days, unfortunately it was an exercise in futility.

But, even in all our brokenness we knew we still wanted us to work. So we took steps to fix us. We sought outside help, and dedicated ourselves to being better with each other. Was it easy? No fucking way. But nothing good, nothing that matters ever is.

I bring all this up because the Wife and I were having a discussion while out to lunch recently – a discussion that floored me.

Wife: You know, I’m kind of thankful for all the crap we went through two years ago.
Me: How in the hell can you say that?!? What good can you possibly have gained from that? We threatened each other with divorce.
Wife: Yeah, but we didn’t do it. And besides, look at all the good in our life now. None of that would be here if we didn’t go through the dark times.
Me: Oh, bullshit. I just cannot agree. You don’t think we would be happy or in a good place if we didn’t almost ruin each other.
Wife: In a way, no, I don’t. Neither one of us would be on the path we’re on now without our rough time.

I left lunch in a fog of confusion and disbelief. How could she see what we went through as a good thing? Our son was almost a statistic of a broken home before he even knew what a home was. But as I sat with it for a while, I got to thinking that maybe she had a point.

Since her bought with PPD my Wife has worked very hard at changing her career/life path. She is now tirelessly working on becoming a birth educator and eventually wants to open a center for women that will focus on every need during pregnancy and post-natal; she explained that this is a path she most definitely would not have embarked on if we hadn’t experienced the rough period, especially if our experience was similar to the #Blessed people because the motivation to help others would have not been there. She also pointed out my renewed desire for writing as an example of how things have gotten better. Yes, I was writing/blogging before my son, but I had little direction. Now I have found that direction, started my own website (PapaDoesPreach.com) and have even formed relationships with other mom/dad bloggers. Many of those relationship have helped me see that parenting, as well as cultivating a marriage, is a rough and sometimes messy process, but at the end of the day both worth the effort.

From time to time friends have remarked how they think the Wife and I are the perfect couple, and how they one day hope to have what we have. They wonder how we do it, how we manage to be so great. I just hope after reading this, they now understand when I simply answer with, “it takes hard work” that I really mean it.

My Wife made the point during our lunch conversation that we should celebrate the fact that we’re better with each other. Are we perfect? Not even close. Do we still have room to be better? Of course – there is always room for growth. But all in all we are a team again. Before the pregnancy funk we made a promise to each other to always value one another the same way we did before we found out we were going to have a baby. Just as we did the day we said our vows to each other.

Because at the end of the day, “we were” before “he was”.

Parents Rejoice: Back to School is Here!

t’s time to head back to school, and I’m teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer an awesome Back-to-School Giveaway for kids and moms!

Back-to-School giveaway from Boogie Wipes. Three winners will win a backpack and mommy clutch - full of school supplies, gift cards and Boogie Wipes. Ends August 22. Enter now!

Three lucky winners will receive a backpack stocked with school supplies (and Boogie Wipes) and a Mommy Clutch – full of everything moms needs (including gift cards!)

How to Enter

From following Boogie Wipes on social media to instagramming a picture of your favorite Boogie Wipes products, there are dozens of ways to enter – and a few ways to enter every single day.

Back-to-School giveaway from Boogie Wipes. Three winners will win a backpack and mommy clutch - full of school supplies, gift cards and Boogie Wipes. Ends August 22. Enter now!

Complete the form below to get started.

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Looking for Great Back-to-School Ideas?

Visit the Boogie Wipes blog for six back-to-school ideas for parents, plus a coupon to save on your favorite Boogie Wipes products.

Great back to school ideas for parents. Must read!

Good luck!

Giveaway is live Tuesday, August 5, 2014 until midnight on August 22, 2014. US and Canada residents only (excluding Quebec). Three winners will be randomly chosen and notified via email. PapaDoesPreach.com received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.

Hitting Home: No One Has a Right to Be Violent

Domestic violence

As parents, we spend a great deal of time teaching our children the right ways to treat others. Much of those conversations involve statements about how we don’t push, kick, bite, or hit others because it is not nice and because it hurts people physically and emotionally. I know this because the wife and I are in the midst of full-on toddlerhood with our son right now, and these are constant conversations we are having with him.

Our son, like a lot of toddlers, doesn’t do well with having items taken away or being told “no” when he wants something, and sometimes his frustrations result in hitting one or both of us. Our response to such outbursts (currently) is to express our disappointment with his choice, then to walk away to another room. We try very hard not to scold him, but instead explain that he made a very bad choice, and that there are consequences to negative choices. Because life is all about choices.

During one of my moments of sitting in silence after an outburst this weekend, I was struck by an overwhelming thought: We spend so much time teaching our children that hitting other people is wrong, and how there is absolutely no excuse to hurt anyone. Yet, as I watched/read the news this past week, I found it dominated by a story of domestic violence and an overwhelming amount of justification for why it happened. So at what point exactly does all our teaching of nonviolence and care for others go by the wayside? When exactly is it that we, as parents, tell our kids that society has taken all that we taught about being kind to others, about there being no excuse to hurt anyone, about taking accountability for our actions, and thrown it right out the window? How do we explain that, if you have a certain status in life, society will overlook the harm you’ve caused to others?

Of course, I’m alluding to the story of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s violent assault of his then fiancée (now wife) in an Atlantic City hotel elevator back in February of this year. Rice is seen on video dragging his fiancée out of the elevator after (allegedly) striking her so hard in the face that it rendered her unconscious. While the public has not seen any video of the actual assault, Rice accepted a plea bargain in order to avoid trial of probation and anger management, yet he still entered a plea of not guilty. As egregious as his assault was, the NFL was right there to one-up Rice.

The NFL finally weighed in on the matter this past Thursday, and they handed down a suspension, as most fans expected. However, what was not expected was the length of the suspension: 2 games. That’s right, 2 whole games. Ray Rice was given a shorter suspension than linebacker Daryl Washington (Arizona Cardinals) and wide receiver Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns) who have both been suspended for the entire 2014 season for multiple marijuana violations. So let me get this straight, partaking in marijuana use is somehow (by NFL math/rational) 8-times worse than violently assaulting, not just a woman, but your fiancée? Well, that message should really give a boost to that female fan base.

It’s already been said in a ton of articles, as well as on TV, but the NFL missed a major opportunity to send a strong message when it came to a growing demographic of their fan base. Look, I’m disgusted with the NFL, and not just because of the way they handled this situation, because this is par for the course for them, because I am no longer shocked by the NFL’s inability to care about anyone or anything outside of their business. Because that is what they are — a business, and it’s all about dollars to them.

What I AM in complete shock about and, frankly, appalled over is the overwhelming amount of victim-blaming that has come out over the past 4 days. It’s literally rivaling the amount of coverage from those calling for a harsher penalty.

The consensus line that is being used is, “We don’t know what happened in that elevator, but she shouldn’t have provoked him.” What?!? Are you kidding me with that kind of comment?

How did this line of thinking ever come to be, and furthermore, why are people giving it credence? News flash, people: IT’S NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT; THAT’S WHY THEY’RE THE VICTIM!

How the hell do we, as a society, switch rationales so quickly, from telling our children, “don’t hit, it’s not nice,” to “well, maybe they shouldn’t have provoked the person into hitting them”?

I grew up in a fairly abusive household. And not in the ways some might instantly assume. I wasn’t physically abused by an angry father, but instead by an angry single mother who routinely hit home (literally) that I had brought all of the abuse on myself.

Because of this, I have taught and will continue to teach my son (and any other children who may come along) that hurting others in never the right answer.

But it really saddens me, and frankly drives me a little mad, to see that there is a subset of our culture (especially in the media) who is actively working against me and other parents who are trying hard to instill non-violent values to our children.

Not even a day after the lackluster penalty for Ray Rice’s action was announced by the NFL, we already had our first case of foot-in-mouth disease by one such TV talking head.

ESPN analyst (and I use that term lightly) Stephen A. Smith, who is known for his brash and frequently over-the-top opinions, voiced his opinion on the topic and created a massive fire storm of backlash (click here to see a full transcript of his comments).

Smith literally lost any credibility he meant to gain within the first sentence of his diatribe when he said, “It’s not about him; it’s about you,” then went on to chastise victims (mainly women) by saying they need to do more to avoid provoking their attackers. WRONG!!

Smith issued an apology early Monday morning, attempting to clarify his bonehead statement by saying that in no way was he suggesting that women provoke violence. But in reality, that’s exactly what he did. ESPN even put him on camera with a female anchor who accepted his apology (as if she speaks for all women in the world) and had her deflect from Smith by aggressively shaming the NFL and calling for an apology on behalf of all women.

What’s worse, it’s not just men who are spreading these kinds of foolish and very dangerous ideas. Women are too.

Back in May of this year, the whole world was abuzz when video was leaked to the media of an altercation between Jay-Z and Solange Knowles in an elevator at the Met Gala.

Seriously, what is with people and elevators? Maybe take the stairs next time.

In the video, Solange is seen aggressively attacking Jay-Z, kicking and punching him, all while security attempts to restrain her and Beyonce stands by and watches. You know what you didn’t see — Jay-Z hitting Solange back. In fact, he defended himself by putting his hands up and attempting to deflect her attacks (take notes, Ray Rice).

As part of the media circus that followed this incident, the ladies of The View weighed in. One in particular, host Whoopi Goldberg, was adamant in her statement that Jay-Z had the right to hit Solange back, saying, “Where I’m from, if you hit anybody, they have the right to hit you back. If a woman hits a man, he has the right to hit her back. That’s why I don’t hit men.” Whether you agree or not, unlike Smith, Whoopi stood by her statement and even came out and defended it.

Allow me to counter using words similar to Whoopi’s: No one has the RIGHT to hit anyone, and if someone does hit you, you do NOT have the RIGHT to hit them back. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman.

Now, I’m no historian, and I was a pretty awful student, but the last time I checked, knocking someone out (male or female) was not in the Bill of Rights, or the Bible, or the Koran, or the Torah, or any other place outlining basic human rights.

Now I realize that this is easier said than done, and if I was in a situation where I or a loved one was being attacked, there is a very good chance I’m going to strike back. But you know what the difference is? I would never say my striking back was my RIGHT; rather, it was my CHOICE. Ray Rice made a CHOICE to physically assault his now wife, and thus cemented his status as a D-Bag. Jay-Z made a CHOICE to not to hit Solange back, thus showing a high level of decency.

Victims are victims because someone else made a choice to hurt them; it was not their right. Life, is all about CHOICES, remember?

Enough is enough. It’s is hard just to raise a child in today’s society. Raising boys and girls to be well-adjusted, stand-up men and women is even harder.

Topics like physical abuse, rape, and an overall shaming of women that seems to still be alive and well in our society, are going to be heart-wrenchingly difficult to explain to my son when the time comes someday. As a man trying to raise another man, I refuse to continue or cultivate a culture of, “Well, she was asking for it” or “Well, she shouldn’t have provoked me.”

I will instead raise my son to make the CHOICE to be a good man.