a retread for father’s day

i enjoy keeping up with current events.  it’s not something i do to appear cosmopolitan, or to equip myself for the unexpected intellectual repartee.  i just like the news.  i am a subscriber to time magazine and it arrives at my office over the weekend, so one of my initial endeavors each week is to “catch up” with what is/has been going on in the world.

imagine my astonishment when i opened this week’s issue of time and read that alec baldwin has written a book about parenting…i absolutely kid you not.

this is the same alec baldwin who called his 11-year old daughter, ireland, in april of last year and left a maniacal rant on her voicemail.  apparently he is obligated by the custodial agreement to call his daughter from the opposite coast at a pre-determined time and she is likewise obligated to answer.  when this 11 year-old child failed to be available when her important and long-suffering father called, he went off.  the recording of said voicemail was made public (ostensibly by the child’s vindictive mother) and everyone has heard it.  allow me to reiterate some of baldwin’s choicer dicta (according to the seattle times):

“you are a rude, thoughtless little pig…you don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being.” 

“i don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you’re a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do as far as i’m concerned. you have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.”

“i’m going to fly from new york to los angeles for the day just to straighten you out on this issue.”

in the interest of fairness, it is important to note that alec baldwin has apologized publicly.  and i quote:

“although i have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, i am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child. i’m sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. i have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. you have to go through this to understand (although i hope you never do). i am sorry for what happened, but i am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case.”

wow!  i haven’t seen such contrition since jimmy swaggart quoted psalm 51 on television.  does it really count as an apology if there is a “but” in it?  and did i miss the place where he apologized to his daughter?  the only thing more ridiculous than this guy writing a book about parenting (entitled “a promise to ourselves: fatherhood, divorce and family law” in case you’re interested…due in bookstores in september) is the fact that there are morons out there who will buy it.

on my more cynical days, i am certain that society is irrevocably damaged.  in spite of the best efforts of the american church to elect christian leaders and usher in the kingdom, we are doomed.  this generation is just too far gone.

but don’t forget that we (many of us, anyway) have a small slice of society living beneath our collective roofs.  maybe we can’t redeem hollywood, but we can parent purposefully.  before we address the ills of mankind, we are commanded to teach our children to fear god.

you might say, “i would never speak to my child like alec baldwin spoke to his.”   perhaps not, but i watch in horror as many christian parents neglect their children like alec baldwin did.  oh, they may speak to them and play with them, but they do virtually nothing to mold their character.  they are so intent on being “buddies” with their kids that they erode the authority god meant for them to utilize. i worked with teenagers for a long time so i’m pretty passionate about this subject. its just that we have this vast, frighteningly accessible resource (our kids) and we take it largely for granted.

want to change the world? don’t write a book–teach your kid about grace.


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