It would be easy to make a poster-child of Adrian Peterson.

A powerful man hitting a defenseless child?  What a lowlife, coward, and disgrace.  Let’s all throw stones at him.

But wait.

What if…

What if Adrian Peterson was simply parenting the way he’d been parented.

How can we be expected to do the right thing if we’ve never been taught what the right thing is?

I am in no way condoning or excusing this behavior, nor that of any version of domestic violence.

But I believe there’s more to the story.  Much more.

Adrian’s mother, Bonita Peterson, explained in an interview she whipped Adrian and his siblings – as if that would settle this silly domestic violence issue.

Her quote “When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, but love. You want to make them understand that they did wrong. made my blood chill.

But, it instantly became clear to me.

She has to defend him, because if he was wrong, then so was she.

She doesn’t appear willing to consider, let alone admit, her parenting style might be have been destructive, rather than loving.

What a difference it would make if she could say “I’m sorry.  I see now I was wrong.”  This would give Adrian the permission he needs to say he was wrong also.  He could hold his head up and discover new ways of parenting without having to alienate his parents.


The good news is, society is beginning to acknowledge domestic violence at a whole new level.  Publicly.

This NFL scandal with Peterson, John Elway Jr, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Jon Dwyer, is a perfect opportunity and I hope we don’t miss it.

It’s an opportunity for coaches and teachers for all ages to bring the subject to the field and classroom.

It’s an opportunity for parents to question their own parenting styles and seek professional answers.

It’s an opportunity for society to collectively say “We can do better.”

Just because “it’s always been this way” doesn’t mean it should continue this way.

Not for Adrian Peterson, and not for us.


Every single one of us has an area of our lives to evaluate and improve.

Alcohol, anger, drugs, eating disorders, emotional absence, financial woes, over-doing, parenting styles, trust issues, under-doing. The list is endless.

We can continue to throw stones at Adrian Peterson, or we can use the opportunity to look in the mirror and ask “What can I change about myself?”


How about you? What would you like to change about yourself?