I learned of a story near my hometown at the home of former NFL football player Brian Holloway (New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders). Growing up, we always had a good opinion of Brian because, while to me he seemed quiet, he was very well spoken and supportive of youth. We always had a positive feeling about Brian.
Holloway has a house in Stephentown, NY but was in Florida on Labor Day weekend when something incredible happened. 300 teens used his vacant house for a party. They broke in, imported huge amounts of alcohol, smashed windows, damaged the place, did drugs and even urinated on the floor. There is estimated damage in excess of $20,000 from the party.
All of this unfolded on Twitter! Pic after pic was being posted on Twitter of the party. This was seen by Holloway’s son. So, while in Florida Brian watched, he read tweets from the teen partiers and he saw pictures of the party. The details of the story and some tweets are available here in the NY Daily News. What happened next was amazing and the reason I am commenting is Holloway’s reaction.
How can I make the situation better?
He planned a constructive, thoughtful and supportive response with longer term vision and care. He planned a picnic, invited all the kids and organized a website called Help Me Save 300. On September 21st instead of seeking the arrest of the kids, he wanted to reach out to kids to show them there are better ways to spend their time than drinking, drugs and vandalism.
Only one kid showed up!
Yes, that was disappointing. But, still Holloway said of the group of kids, “They are not a bad person. They made a bad decision.” He is not going to make it easy on them when he encounters them, but he wants something they can grow from and not hide from. With a goal of helping them grow and helping them see the light, this could become a transformative experience for an adolescent. Holloway said that parents need to take a stand as children navigate through this treacherous turn called adolescence.
Well that brings up some other dynamics. If you don’t know about that story, many parents got mad and threatened to sue Brian Holloway after he began his website, Help Me Save 300. Really? I am not going to spend time on the uselessness of the parent’s energy (instead of thinking more along the lines of Holloway). Let’s see, the kids posted their own pictures on Twitter after breaking in and vandalizing a home. A clearer line of thinking is needed in this case – a less defensive line of thinking with vision.
Holloway offered to make it better and not worse. You’re a kid. You do dumb things. Admit it. Own up. Be honest. If you live without being honest the karmic accumulation is just a drag throughout life. Dishonesty is unhealthy. If any of the kids opened up and looked Brian in the eye saying, “I am sorry. I messed up,” they would become friends with Brian Holloway and make a connection. They would earn respect. That respect would feel good, instead of hiding behind their parents skirt.
Holloway said this story is not just these 300 and that we need to, “rethink how we look at their lives and their futures.” The other stuff is nonsense. What was broken, nonsense. What was stolen, nonsense. His current dealings with the bank, nonsense. He wants people take a stand for what is right. I hope that some good can come from this. I think it will.
Bad things happen in our world. Bad things have happened throughout history. The kids’ behavior and image may be reflected by role models in current society. Too long a ride down that road is dangerous. A look at the Twitter pics and the reaction from the parents indicates there are not enough role models of the Brian Holloway type.
Holloway is tough. He’s not going to let the kids off easy. But he’s not going to approach these incidents with an angry vengeful attitude. That is not as constructive as saying, “how can I help? What can I do to make lives of these kids better?” Holloway’s creative yet firm, ‘how can I help’ approach is a better role model for these kids. I hope they can visit Holloway for an upcoming picnic.
Great attitude Brian Holloway.